Ballet was intruduced to Russia by Tsar Alexis Mikhailovich, the second Romanov ruler, to be part of the festivities at his wedding. Peter the Great took a personal interest in dancing ballet at his court. He had his prisoners from the Swedish wars help teach ballet to his courtiers.
A request for six females and six males was made by the teacher of gymnastics at the Imperial Cadet School to be molded into the best foreign dancers. On May 15, 1738 the request was granted and the first Russian school of dancing was opened. It started off as a two room school in the old winter palace which later became the St. Petersburg Imperial Ballet School. It was very important that ballet in Russia remained a vigorous art form. To keep Russian ballet a vigorous art form Tsars would invite foriegn ballet masters to Russia to develop the art of ballet. Catherine the Great established the Directorate of the Imperial theaters, which took control over the ballet. Catherine the Great also started a ballet school at a Moscow orphanage in 1774 under the direction of Filippo Beccari. In 1765 Catherine the Great brought Domenico Angiolini to St. Petersburg where in 1772, he composed the first heroic Russian Ballet Semira.
Charles-Louis Didelot was responsible for the first great period of ballet in 1801. In 1828 Charles-Louis Didelot developed the Prisoner of the Caucasus from Alexander Pushkin's poem. This ballet was one of the first foundations of Russian ballet.