Celli, Vincenzo

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Vincenzo Celli was born Vincenzo Yacullo on May 4, 1900 in Salerno, Italy, immigrating soon thereafter with his parents to Chicago, Illinois. Celli was first exposed to ballet as a teenager and was awed by the movements of dancer Vaslaw Nijinsky, whom he saw perform during the only American tour of the Ballets Russes, under the direction of Serge Diaghilev. Several years later Celli moved to New York City, where he performed as an actor both on and off-Broadway with the Washington Square Players. Impressed by Celli's range and ease of movement, choreographer Adolph Bohm approached him to appear in a minor role in his ballet production of Le Coq d'Or. A few years later, Celli moved back to Italy, where he studied dance privately for several years under the famed choreographer and dancer Enrico Cecchetti, maestro to dozens of star pupils including Anna Pavlova and, not coincidentally, Nijinsky. Celli would later be referred to as "the son of Cecchetti," as he was the last of his favored private pupils. Celli married opera singer Marion Ivell in 1925. In 1926, he made his debut at the La Scala Opera House, which earned him the prestigious title of danseur/primo ballerino. Celli returned to the United States after performing abroad to begin teaching ballet and continuing the legacy of the Cecchetti style of grace and movement. During his successful private teaching career, Celli served as the ballet master of the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo from 1938 to 1940. Among his pupils were Agnes de Mille, Alicia Markova, Anton Dolin, Katherine Rutgers, and contemporary New York City maestro Jerome Robbins. Celli died of a heart attack in Greenwich, Connecticut in 1988.

From the guide to the Vincenzo Celli papers, 1936-1982, (The New York Public Library. Jerome Robbins Dance Division.)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Vincenzo Celli collection, [ca. 1941-ongoing]. Museum of Performance & Design
referencedIn George Balanchine archive, 1924-1989 (inclusive), 1961-1983 (bulk). Harvard Theatre Collection, Houghton Library, Harvard College Library, Harvard University.
creatorOf Celli, Vincenzo, 1900-1988. Correspondence and contracts, 1939-1941. New York Public Libraries for the Performing Arts, Dance Collection
referencedIn Angna Enters correspondence, 1921-1973 The New York Public Library. Jerome Robbins Dance Division.
creatorOf Vincenzo Celli papers, 1936-1982 The New York Public Library. Jerome Robbins Dance Division.
referencedIn Toscanini, Walter, 1898-1971,. The Walter Toscanini Collection of research materials in dance: C. New York Public Library System, NYPL
creatorOf Celli, Vincenzo. Vincenzo Celli papers, 1936-1982. New York Public Library System, NYPL
creatorOf Toscanini, Walter, 1898-1971,. The Walter Toscanini Collection of research materials in dance: C1, CE, CE1. New York Public Library System, NYPL
creatorOf Enters, Angna, 1897-1989. Correspondence, 1921-1973. New York Public Library System, NYPL
creatorOf Celli, Vincenzo, 1900-1988,. Interview with Vincenzo Celli. New York Public Libraries for the Performing Arts, Dance Collection
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Balanchine, George. person
associatedWith Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo corporateBody
associatedWith Cecchetti, Enrico, 1850-1928. person
associatedWith Enters, Angna, 1897-1989. person
associatedWith Fornaroli, Cia, 1888-1954. person
associatedWith Guerra, Nicola, 1865-1942. person
associatedWith Harris, Dale, person
associatedWith Ivell, Marion, 1880 or 81-1969. person
associatedWith Markova, Alicia, Dame, 1910-2004. person
associatedWith Milan. La Scala. corporateBody
associatedWith Milan. La Scala. Ballet. corporateBody
associatedWith Rutgers, Katharine person
associatedWith Rutgers, Katharine. person
associatedWith Shaw, Bernard, 1856-1950 person
associatedWith Slavenska, Mia. person
associatedWith Spessivtzeva, Olga, 1895-1991. person
associatedWith Toscanini, Arturo, 1867-1957. person
associatedWith Toscanini, Walter, 1898-1971, person
associatedWith Van Vechten, Carl, 1880-1964. person
associatedWith Wickham, Florence, 1882-1962. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
United States
Italy
Subject
Choreographers
Choreographers--Portraits
Choreographers--United States--Portraits
Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo
Choreographers--Italy
Occupation
Function

Person

Birth 1900-05-10

Death 1988-02-28

Italians

Information

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