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Jean Coralli

Choreographer

Biography

French dancer and choreographer (1779–1854) is best known today for his collaboration with Jules Perrot on Giselle.

Coralli was born in Paris and studied at the Paris Opera Ballet School. After dancing in Vienna, Paris and London he was appointed ballet master at the Vienna Hoftheater in 1805, where his works included Helena und Paris and Die Inkas. He and his wife Teresa were an acclaimed dance couple and often took the leading roles; from 1809 they began to dance in La Scala, Milan, and later La Fenice, Venice and Teatro São Carlos, Lisbon. In 1815 Coralli began to choreograph for La Scala, works including Belisa and La statua di Venere. He was ballet master of the Théâtre de la Porte-Saint-Martin in Paris 1825–9, where he choreographed largely comedic works, such as Gulliver and La Neige. In 1831 he was appointed premiere maître de ballet at the Paris Opéra, and went on to choreograph numerous works for Fanny Elssler, including La Tempête, Le Diable Boiteux and La Tarentule. In 1841 he collaborated with Perrot on Giselle: Perrot choreographed the dances for Carlotta Grisi in the title role, while Coralli created the rest of the ballet. Coralli’s subsequent works included La Péri, Eucharis and Ozaï.

Giselle found immediate success on its premiere, and was soon performed around the world. It is the only Paris Opéra ballet from the period still performed today, with many modern productions influenced by Coralli and Perrot’s choreography.

Videos

News and features

Stories without words: Narrative ballets and their many inspirations

Stories without words: Narrative ballets and their many inspirations

20 November 2014

How and where choreographers find stories has changed throughout the art form's history.

Dance Highlight: Giselle's Mad Scene

Dance Highlight: Giselle's Mad Scene

27 January 2014

Captivating choreography and gripping storytelling come together in a pivotal moment in ballet history.