Dancer, choreographer and teacher, considered the 'father of classical ballet'.
“Born into a family dedicated to theater and dance, he began ballet studies with his father in Brussels and made his first appearance on stage in 1823, although he himself admitted that he was more attracted to music than ballet, for which combined the studies of violin in the Conservatory with the appearance in the ballets mounted by his father.
In October 1839, he toured North America but returned without completing it. On his return to France he worked as the first dancer of the Nantes Opera (1839-1842), where he created his first choreographies. In 1843 he moved to the Grand Theater de Bordeaux, where he remained until the bankruptcy of the theater, in June 1844, when he traveled to Spain.
Marius Petipa was the first dancer of the Madrid Circus Theater until January 1847 and participated in the Giselle, The Devil in Love, Ondina, Esmeralda, The Beautiful Beatriz, Farfarella, etc. ballets. On the other hand, between April and August 1846, he toured seven Andalusian cities. The repercussion that his time in Spain had for Petipa was later evident from the choreographic point of view since, once in Russia, he not only included Spanish dances within his classic ballets –Pharaoh's daughter, Swan Lake, Raymonda , etc.–, but there were several complete ballets that he created with Spanish themes and dances. Among them Paquita, The Star of Granada or his famous Don Quixote.
Although numerous choreographer biographies point out that in Spain he created several choreographies on a Spanish theme, there is no documentary record that would rigorously prove the existence of any of these works.
In January 1847, after a romantic and prolonged flight with a Spanish aristocrat, he left Spain, and in May he arrived in Russia, where he formed an extensive family and worked as a dancer and choreographer for the Imperial Ballet, serving as director between 1869 and 1903.
Marius Petipa is a key figure who connects and links romantic ballet with classical ballet, created by him. The value of his legacy for the history of dance is invaluable and he was rated by Balanchine as "the greatest of all masters". He choreographed more than fifty complete ballets - Sleeping Beauty, La bayadera, Nutcracker (together with Ivanov), etc. - and numerous short works, in addition to being the creator of the structure of the passage to two as we know it today (entrée, adage, variations and coda). ”