Lev Ivanov

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Lev Ivanov
Лев Ива́нович Ива́нов
Lev Ivanov 1885
Lev Ivanovich Ivanov

(1834-03-02)2 March 1834
Died24 December 1901(1901-12-24) (aged 67)
Occupation(s)Ballet dancer, choreographer, and ballet master
Years active1866 until 1901
Known forBallet master of the Imperial Ballet
Dance of the little swans from Swan Lake
The Nutcracker
RelativesTio Adamova

Lev Ivanovich Ivanov (Russian: Лев Ива́нович Ива́нов; 2 March 1834, Moscow – 24 December 1901, Saint Petersburg) was a Russian ballet dancer and choreographer and later, Second Balletmaster of the Imperial Ballet. As a performer with the Imperial Ballet, he achieved prominence after performing as an understudy in a benefit performance of La Fille Mal Gardée. He is most famous as the choreographer of Acts II and IV of Swan Lake, which include the Dance of the Little Swans, Act II of Cinderella, and The Nutcracker, which he choreographed alongside Marius Petipa.


Ivanov entered the Moscow School of Dance, but in 1844 moved to Saint Petersburg where he studied at the Imperial Ballet, becoming an official member of the Corps de ballet in 1852. Among his teachers during this time were Jean-Antoine Petipa, Alexandr Pimenov, Pierre Frédéric Malavergne and Emile Gredlu (Эмиль Гредлю).

Historically, Ivanov is credited with choreographing the entirety of premiere of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's ballet The Nutcracker in 1892 due to the ill health of the ballet master, Marius Petipa. While some contemporary and modern accounts dispute this, Ivanov is still mentioned in The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, Second Edition with choreographing at least the majority of the ballet as Petipa had reportedly not progressed very far in his work.[1] Regardless of the amount of work he actually did, Petipa's was the only name listed for choreography on posters for the first production in St. Petersburg.[1]

Ivanov worked with Petipa on a new restaging of Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake ballet in 1895. Ivanov choreographed the entirety of the lakeside acts or "white acts", Act II and Act IV. This includes the Dance of the Little Swans, an iconic pas de quatre where the four cygnets huddle together and dance in unison, before breaking the chain and falling to the floor whilst attempting to fly. Ivanov also choreographed the Danse Vénitienne (Neapolitan/Venetian Dance) and the Pas Hongrois (Hungarian Dance) of the third bier scene.[2]

In his last years Ivanov was in financial straits. On the strength of his 50 years' service he petitioned the Imperial Theatres for financial assistance.[2]


Original works[edit]


  • Goodwin, Noël, ed. Stanley Sadie, "Ballet (2. 19th Century)," The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, Second Edition. (London: MacMilian, 2001), 29 vols. ISBN 0-333-60800-3.


  1. ^ a b Goodwin, New Grove (2001), 2:853.
  2. ^ a b Goodwin, New Grove (2001), 2:584.

External links[edit]