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Le Corsaire

Repertory Archive

Le Corsaire

pas de deux

Choreography by Rudolf Nureyev
From the Original by Joseph Mazilier
Revised by Marius Petipa
Music by Césare Pugni and Riccardo Drigo and others
Orchestrated by John Lanchbery

World Premiere

The Royal Ballet
November 3, 1962
Royal Opera House, Covent Garden
London, England

Margot Fonteyn
Rudolf Nureyev

ABT Premiere

December 25, 1962
Civic Opera House
Chicago, Illinois

Lupe Serrano
Rudolf Nureyev


At this point in the story, Conrad the pirate has rescued Medora, a Greek slave girl from sale to a Pasha’s harem and taken her to his underground grotto where, having fallen in love with her, they dance this pas de deux in celebration of her rescue.


The pas de deux from Le Corsaire is one of the most famous in all of the classical ballet repertoire. In the repertory of almost all ballet companies, large and small, and performed by nearly every classically-trained dancer from advanced student to prima ballerina and premier danseur, this show-stopping duet is an audience favorite whenever and wherever it is danced.

Le Corsaire, with choreography by Joseph Mazilier, received its world premiere at the Theatre Imperial de l’Opera, Paris on January 23, 1856 danced in the presence of the Emperor Napoleon III, by Carolina Rosati (Medora), and M. Segarelli (Conrad).