Gardel, Pierre Gabriel
- Maureen Needham Costonis
(b Nancy, Feb 4, 1758; d Paris, Oct 18, 1840). French dancer and ballet-master . He made his début as a danseur noble in 1774. He was trained by his brother, Maximilien Léopold Philippe Joseph Gardel (b Mannheim, 18 Dec 1741; d Paris, 11 March 1787), a dancer at the Opéra since 1755 and assistant ballet-master from 1773. The elder Gardel had made a sensation there in 1772 when, asked to replace Gaetano Vestris in Rameau’s Castor et Pollux, he had removed the traditional mask. In 1783 Maximilien became principal ballet-master and Pierre was appointed his assistant. He became principal ballet-master in 1787 and held the post for more than 40 years. Grimm described him as a worthy successor to Noverre, and Bournonville claimed that ‘no one was able to rival’ his opera dances, citing the ‘wealth of invention’ in such works as Le Sueur and Persuis’ ...