Saint-Léon, Arthur (1821-1870)

Dancer, choreographer, musician and French ballet teacher, born in Paris on September 17, 1821 and died in the same city on September 2, 1870.

After completing his dance studies under the direction of his father, the ballet master Léon Michel, he debuted in Munich in 1835. Two years later he settled in Paris to expand his training with François Decombe and in 1838 he was appointed premier danseur de demi -character in Brussels. It was first performed at Her Majesty's Theater in London for the premiere of Jules Perrot's ballet Les Houris (1843), followed by: Ondine, ou La Naïade (1843), Zélia, ou Les Nymphes de Diane (1844), Lalla Rookh (1846) and Le Jugement de Pâris (1846), also from Perrot, all of them danced with Fanny Cerrito, with whom he was married between 1845 and 1851. Together they toured throughout Europe, in which they presented ballets created by both , among which include La Vivandiera ed il Postiglione (1843), La Manola (1844) and Der Maskenball (1846).

They performed for the first time in Madrid in 1846, and another in 1851. In 1847, Saint-Léon was appointed choreographer of l'Opéra de Paris, where he staged new ballets for Cerrito: La Fille de Marbre (Pugni, 1847), Le Violon du Diable (Pugni, 1849), Stella, ou Les Contrebandiers (Pugni, 1850) and Pâquerette (Benoist, 1851). From 1851 he was professor of the perfection class at l'Opéra, and in 1859 he succeeded Perrot as ballet teacher at the Imperial Theaters of Saint Petersburg, where he choreographed: Jovita, ou Les Boucaniers Mexicains (Labarre, 1859), Graziella , ou Les Dépits Amoureux (Pugni, 1860), La Perle de Séville (Pugni, 1861), Fiammetta, ou L'Amour du Diable (Minkus, 1864), Konek Gorbunok, ou La Tsar Dievitza (Pugni, 1864) and Liliya ( Minkus, 1869). That last year he left Russia and settled again in Paris, where the following year he choreographed his last and most successful ballet: Coppélia, ou La Fille aux Yeux d'Émail, with music by Delibes and libretto by Nuitter and Saint-Léon himself . The premiere took place on May 25, 1870 in l'Opéra, with Giuseppina Bozzacchi in the role of Swanilda and Eugénie Fiocre in that of Franz. He is the author of treatises: La Sténochorégraphie, ou Art d'Écrire Promptement la Danse (Paris, 1852) and De l'État Actuel de la Danse (Lisbon, 1856).

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