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Jean Dauberval

The French dancer and choreographer Jean Dauberval was born in Montpellier in August 1742. He studied dance from a young age, and danced for Navarre in Lyon from 1757. Two years later, he was appointed ballet master of the Turin Opera House, making his debut at the Paris Opéra in 1761. He danced with them for ten years, being promoted to premier danseur demi-caractère in 1763, premier danseur noble in 1770 and finally to maître de ballet in 1771.

Between the years of 1785 and 1791 he worked in Bordeaux and from 1796 in London, choreographing new works for the Panteon and Haymarket theatres. His most celebrated ballet, La Fille mal gardée, was premiered there in 1789. It was this ballet that Ashton took the scenario from to create his famous 1960 version. Dauberval's wife, Mlle Théodore, danced the role of Lise. Strongly influenced by Noverre's theories about the ballet d'action, he was one of the first choreographers to create ballets about the lives of ordinary people. He died in Tours in 1806.

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