The Romantic Ballet – Sylphs, Wilis and other Spirits

Marie Taglioni and her brother Paul Taglioni in the ballet “La Sylphide”
François Gabriel Guillaume Lépaulle (France, 1804-1886)
Painting, c1830, Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris

The Romantic Ballet officially started with the Paris production of La Sylphide in 1832.  Filippo Taglioni choreographed this ballet as a vehicle for his star pupil, Marie Taglioni – his daughter.  It marked a major turning point in the history of ballet.  Ballerinas became stars, soon eclipsing their male counterparts. 

The Romantic era lasted but a short time, yet it is a fascinating story of passions and intrigues across the whole of Europe, spreading even as far as America and Cuba.  And all this at a time when trains and aeroplanes were yet to be invented.  This era is brought to life with the stories behind many famous ballets such as La Sylphide, Giselle, Ondine, Le Papillon and more.  Plus: we’ll hear the stories of the famous ballerinas whose rivalries and jealousies caused many a man to lose his senses – Fanny Elssler, Carlotta Grisi, Lucile Grahn, and Fanny Cerrito, to name but a few.

Presentation: this presentation is illustrated by PowerPoint slides, along with archive film clips and DVDs shown to illustrate the topic.

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