Charles Didelot

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Charles-Louis Didelot, portrait by Baranov (c. 1810).

Charles-Louis Didelot (28 March 1767, Stockholm - 7 November 1837, Kiev) was a French dancer, the creator of the ballet shoes and choreographer. The son of Charles Didelot, the dance master of the King of Sweden, he studied dance with his father, who was an instructor in dance at the Swedish Opera, and debuted as dancer in the theatre of Bollhuset in Stockholm 1786.

He then studied in Paris with Jean Dauberval. He followed his study with Jean-Georges Noverre, under whose lead he debuted in London in 1788.[1]

When the Russian Imperial ballet demanded a new chief choreographer, the former Imperial choreographer Charles Le Picq proposed to invite Charles Didelot.

He arrived in Saint Petersburg in 1801 at the invitation of the director of the Imperial Theatres and he made his debut as the first dancer. His career ended in 1806, following an accident to his leg and the death of his wife, Rose, a brilliant ballerina. From then on, Didelot taught dance, having an important influence over the development of ballet.

He received great acclaim for his choreography in "Flore and Zephyre" in 1796. This production featured dancers on wires (flying machines) in order to create the illusion of weightlessness.[2]

He became the first choreographer who brought a ballerina posing on the pointe (via his "flying machine") - in 1815 in the ballet Flora and Zephyr (1815, Paris), the main parts: Geneviève Gosselin - Flora, Albert (dancer) - Zephyr, it was not dancing on the pointe, but it was the first release on the pointe (Geneviève Gosselin).

Didelot raised the Russian ballet to unprecedented height, and it is from Didelot that the Russian ballet became to progress and has achieved global importance. He delivered more than 40 full ballets, not counting dances and fragments in other representations.

He was dismissed from the Imperial troupe after a foolish quarrel with the Director of the Imperial troupe (prince Sergei Gagarin). His place of chief choreographer was taken by the Frenchman Alexis-Scipion Blache.


Bolshoi Theatre, Saint Petersburg


  1. ^ Charles Didelot's Work in Russia. History of Russian Ballet. Accessed September 23, 2012.
  2. ^ Charles Didelot - Adults in Ballet. Accessed September 23, 2012.