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Vestris, Gaetano Appolino Baldassare

VESTRIS, GAETANO APPOLINO BALDASSARE (1729- 1808), French ballet dancer, was born in Florence and made his debut at the Opera in 1748. By 1751 his success and his vanity had grown to such a point that he is reported to have said, " There are but three great men in Europe - the king of Prussia, Voltaire and I." He was an excellent mimic as well as dancer. From 1770 to 1776 he was master and composer of ballets, retiring, in favour of Noverre, with a pension. Two other pensions fell to him, when he gave up his positions of first dancer and of first dancer of court ballets, amounting in all to 9200 livres. Vestris married a dancer, Anna Heinel (1752-1808), of German origin, who had a wonderful success at the Opera. He reappeared at the age of sixty-one on the occasion of his grandson's debut. By the dancer Mile. Allard, Vestris had a son, Marie Auguste Vestris Allard (1760-1842), also a ballet dancer, who surpassed his father, if possible, in both talent and vanity. His son, Auguste Armand Vestris (b. 1825), who took to the same profession, made his debut at the Opera in 1800, but left Paris for Italy and never reappeared in France. Gaetano's brother, Angelo Vestris (1730-1809), married Marie Rose Gourgaud, the sister of the actor Dugazon (q.v.).

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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