Nov 3, 2009
His mentors and teachers that helped him start his amazing career of a dancer were also the best that Russian ballet could offer. Gerdt’s first teacher was Alexander Pimenov who himself was a student of the Father of Russian ballet - Charles Didelot. His next teacher was Jean Petipa, famous ballet dancer, father of probably the second person of importance after Didelot for Russian ballet - Marius Petipa. Old Jean in his youth underwent extensive training by the giant of the French ballet Auguste Vestris.
Paul Gerdt was quite an eccentric, nobody at the theater knew how old he was. When asked, he would give one and the same response, claiming that he was 23 years old. He excelled not only in dancing but in teaching as well. He left after himself the whole brilliant team of students among which there were Anna Pavlova, George Balanchine, Michel Fokin, Tamara Karsavina and Vaslav Nijinsky. It is interesting to note that Michel Fokin trained Gerdt’s daughter - great ballerina Elizaveta Gerdt. And Vaslav Nijinsky was Elizaveta’s partner in ballet dancing.
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