Marius Petipa was born in Marseilles, France on March 11, 1818, but grew up in Brussels. He was heavily influenced by his parents, his mother being a drama teacher/actress and his father being a ballet dancer. He began taking ballet at age seven, and was in his first performance,La Dansomani,at age nine. The Belgian Revolution caused the theatre his father worked at to be shut down, leaving him without a job.
In 1834 the Petipa family relocated to Bordeaux, France where Marius’ father had gained the position of Maître de Ballet at the Grand Théâtre de Bordeaux. While in Bordeaux Marius completed his ballet training,and by 1838 he was appointed Premier danseur to the Ballet de Nantes in Nantes, France. He began to create his own choreography while he lived in this city.
Six years later, Petipa had made his debut as a dancer, and by 1847 he accepted the position of Premier danseur to the Imperial Theatres of St. Petersburg. He continued to choreograph in Russia until the 1880’s. He died July 14, 1910.