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Jean-Georges Noverre

(April 29, 1727 - October 19, 1810)

French dancer and ballet teacher, he is considered the creator of modern ballet.

The day of his birth (April 29), since 1982,  was named as  International Dance Day.

He began his dance studies under the tutelage of the outstanding ballet dancer Louis Dupré (1690-1774).

In 1742 he made his first debut as a dancer at Fontainebleu in front of the court of Louis XV (1710-1774) and later, Prince Herni of Prussia invited him to dance in Berlin, Germany.

At the age of 16, he performed for the first time at the Opera de l'Opera Comique in Paris, a venue where years later, in 1754, he premiered his famous works "The Chinese Festivals" and "The Fountain of Youth".

In this period the young dancer joined the Comic Opera Ballet company, which closed in 1749, which is why he traveled to the French cities of Strasbourg and Lyon, where he danced until 1754. A year later, in 1755, Jean-Georges traveled to London, at the invitation of the famous actor David Garrick (1717-1779), a master of the art of pantomime, who invited him to reprise "The Chinese Holidays" at the Drury Laine Theater.

Upon his return to France, Noverre wrote his famous treatise "Letters on Dance and Ballets", a text published in Stuttgart, Germany, in 1760, which he dedicated to Duke Charles Eugène of Wurtemberg and which has been considered one of the theses about most influential dance. With the protection of his patron Mr. Duque, the outstanding dancer put into practice his own theories on the action ballet that resulted in some of his most important works, such as "The God of Dance", with which he raised to genius level.

Subsequently, Noverre moved to Vienna, Austria, where he premiered another 50 ballets at the Burg and Karntntor theaters, and later arrived in Milan, Italy, where he was greeted with fierce attacks by Italian ballet master and composer Gaspero Angiolini (1731-1803). ), who accused him, in public debate, of plagiarizing his ideas about action ballet.

According to the same source, in 1776, Marie Antoinette (1770-1774), queen of France, called him as Ballet teacher of the Paris Opera Theater, where intrigues, resignations, strikes and scandals predominated, however the French choreographer continued with his work for a long period that was concluded when personal revenges earned him his dismissal. After this unpleasant experience, Noverre settled in London, where surrounded by the admiration that his genius deserved, he premiered "Renaud and Armide", a work that was seen by the Prince of Wales, who, like the rest of the public, acclaimed the outstanding creator .

Under his theory, in which he stated that dance is an art of expression, with the essential mission of translating human ideas and emotions by itself; Noverre released "La Sylphide" and "Giselle", masterpieces assembled under his action ballet proposal that were accepted by the choreographers Mikhail Fokine (1880-1942), pioneer of modern ballet in the 20th century, and Kurt Jooss (1901- 1979), one of the champions of today's contemporary dance.

The last ballet that Jean Georges Noverre composed was "The Marriage of Pelas and Thetis", created especially for the weddings of the Princes of Wales, and some time later the prestigious dancer and choreographer went on to an honorable retirement at Saint Germain in Laye, where he died on October 19, 1810, at 83 years of age.


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