Pas de Quatre – Pugni – Variation 2 (Carlotta Grisi)


Variation 2 (Carlotta Grisi) from Pas de Quatre

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Grand Pas de Quatre is a ballet divertissement set to music by Cesare Pugni that was choreographed by Jules Perrot in 1845.

It made a big impression on both the public and reviewers on the evening of its London debut (12 July 1845). This was due to the fact that it included the four greatest ballerinas of all time—Lucile Grahn, Carlotta Grisi, Fanny Cerrito, and Marie Taglioni. 

Choreographer Anton Dolin presented a new version of Pas de quatre in 1941. The dancers he engaged were Alicia Markova as Marie Taglioni, Alexandra Danilova as Fanny Cerrito, Mia Slavenska as Carlotta Grisi, and Nathalie Krassovska as Lucile Grahn.


Carlotta Grisi, a 19th-century Italian ballerina, stands as one of the most celebrated and influential figures in the history of classical ballet. Born on June 28, 1819, in Visinada, Italy, she exhibited prodigious talent from an early age and began her ballet training in Milan. Grisi’s remarkable combination of exceptional technique and dramatic artistry quickly propelled her to stardom.

She made her debut at the La Scala Opera House in Milan in 1836, and her performances were met with resounding acclaim. However, it was her move to the Paris Opera in 1836 that truly solidified her reputation as a leading ballerina. In the French capital, she danced in numerous ballets, but it was her portrayal of the titular role in “Giselle” in 1841 that marked her as a true icon of the art form. Her ethereal, emotionally charged performance in “Giselle” captivated audiences and set a standard for the role that endures to this day.

Grisi’s partnership with renowned choreographer Jules Perrot further cemented her status as a ballet legend. Together, they created ballets such as “La Esmeralda” and “Le Corsaire,” in which Grisi’s exceptional technical abilities and captivating stage presence dazzled audiences worldwide. She toured extensively, captivating audiences across Europe, and her influence extended well beyond her time on the stage.

Carlotta Grisi’s contributions to ballet, both as a performer and a muse for choreographers, continue to inspire dancers and choreographers to this day. She retired from the stage in 1856 but remained a prominent figure in the world of dance. Her lasting impact on the art of ballet makes her an enduring and cherished figure in its history. Carlotta Grisi passed away on May 20, 1899.


A well-known figure in the realm of 19th-century ballet music was Cesare Pugni (1802–1870). Pugni, who was born in Genoa, Italy, showed promise as a musician at a young age and underwent professional piano and composition instruction. His work was mostly connected to Russia, where he was the chief composer for the St. Petersburg-based Imperial Ballet. Pugni’s extensive work, which included writing music for several well-known choreographers including Marius Petipa and Jules Perrot, made a significant contribution to the art of ballet.

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