Ivan Cavallari was born in Bolzano, Italy. He received his initial training at the Teatro alla Scala ballet school in Milan where his teachers noticed his talent and awarded him a scholarship to the Bolshoi ballet school in Moscow in 1981, where he finished his training in 1983. From 1984 to 1985 he danced with the Teatro alla Scala Ballet. In 1986 he joined the Stuttgart Ballet and became a soloist in 1991, advancing to a principal dancer in 1994.
He has danced Prince Siegfried in Swan Lake, Onegin, Lenski and Count Gremin in Onegin, Romeo and Paris in Romeo and Juliet, Petrucchio and Lucentio in The Taming of the Shrew (all ballets by John Cranko) and the leading role in Edward II (David Bintley), Prince Desirée and Carabosse in Marcia Haydée´s production of Sleeping Beauty, Albrecht and Hilarion in Giselle, and the man and the “Ewige” in Song of the Earth and the brother in My brother, my sister (both ballets by Kenneth MacMillan).
His repertoire also includes leading roles in choreographies by Balanchine, Ashton, Fokine, Béjart, Tetley, Kylián, Forsythe, van Manen, Scholz and Neumeier. For the Stuttgart Ballet Ivan Cavallari choreographed the Pas de deux Fishy, and the State Opera Ballet Hannover commissioned from him a piece set to the music of John Adams and entitled Harmonielehre. In July 1999 he choreographed the Pas de deux Per Sonia for his long-time dancing partner Sonia Santiago, principal dancer with the Stuttgart Ballet. In May 2000 the State Gallery of Stuttgart asked him to create a piece for the opening of an exhibition of paintings by Franz Marc. In May 2001 he created Giuseppe, a ballet set to Verdi´s music for the Łodz State Opera Ballet in Poland, followed by another piece called Schiffbrüchige (Shipwrecked) for the Mannheim Ballet which premiered in November 2001. The same year he was asked by Reid Anderson to collaborate in staging Cranko´s Onegin at the Royal Ballet Covent Garden in London.
In April 2002 Ivan Cavallari staged, together with the choreologist Birgit Deharde, Cranko’s Onegin for the Hungarian National Ballet in Budapest. In the same year he created The Last Emperor and I, a full-length ballet based on the life of the last emperor of China, with the Liaoning Ballet in Schenyang, China. The world premiere took place on 30 August 2002. In the meantime, he has staged Jean-Christophe Blavier´s A Midsummer Night´s Dream with the Ballet du Capitole, Toulouse, Cranko´s The Taming of the Shrew with the Czech National Ballet, Prague, and with the Teatro alla Scala Ballet. In 2003 he collaborate in staging Cranko’s Romeo and Julia at the Opera di Roma and Cranko’s Onegin with the Swedish Royal Ballet. In the same year he created three smaller choreographies: 1 Pas de email@example.com, La dolce vita and Ich habe Migräne.