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Dance Appreciation: Paquita

In this Dance Appreciation series blog, we will be introducing you to Paquita!

Paquita is a romantic ballet which consists of 2 acts and 3 scenes. It was originally choreographed in 1846 by Joseph Mazilier for the Paris Opera Ballet.


Marius Petipa first staged it for the Imperial Ballet in St. Petersburg in 1847. Later, in 1881, Marius Petipa created a revival of this ballet, adding new pieces composed by Ludwig Minkus. This included the Paquita pas de trois, the Paquita grand pas classique and the Mazurka des enfants.

Original Choreography by Joseph Mazilier

Musical Score by Édouard Deldevez

Based on: Charles Perrault's "Cendrillon ou la petite pantoufle de verre"


Main Characters (from left) :

Paquita – Young Spanish gypsy girl

Lucien d'Hervilly – A young French officer who is in love with Paquita

Iñigo – Gypsy village chief, who is in love with Paquita

Don Lopez de Mendoza – Spanish Governor


This blog post will cover only one of the many variations of this ballet.



Act I:

Paquita’s story takes place in Spain during the occupation by Napoleon’s army. In the gypsy camp in the Valley of the Bulls, French General Graf d’Hervilly, with his wife and son, Lucien, are unveiling a memorial for the General’s brother Conte d’Hervilly, who was assassinated years before.


General d’Hervilly proposes a marriage between Lucien and Serafina, Don Lopez’s daughter. Don Lopez agrees to the marriage but secretly wants Lucien dead. Meanwhile, Iñigo, the village chief, also seeks Paquita’s affection.


Paquita is at home, dreaming about the officer she may never meet again, when her thoughts were interrupted by the arrival of Iñigo and a cloaked man, who is revealed to be the governor. Both Lopez and Iñigo conspire to murder Lucien, and Paquita finds out of their evil plan. Paquita warns Lucien of the imminent danger and manages to save his life.


Act II:

There’s a French ball at the General’s palace in honour of the late Conte d’Hervilly, whose portrait is on display. Suddenly, Lucien appears with Paquita, and shares of the danger he had escaped and how she saved him. Upon seeing the governor, Paquita reveals that he orchestrated the murder, causing him to be arrested. Before leaving, she catches a glimpse of the portrait of Conte d’Hervilly, and realises that the man her father’s miniature portrait is indeed him.

The truth is then revealed – Paquita is the long-lost daughter of Lucien’s uncle, who was murdered by the gypsies along with his wife. She was then taken in by the gypsies and raised as one of their own. Now aware that they are of the same social standing, Paquita and Lucien’s marriage is blessed by the General.


View some scenes from Paquita here

Watch the Grand Pas performed by Maria Khoreva here




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