Fanny Elssler – theatrical ballerina
Fanny Elssler was a famous Austrian dancer who brought energy and drama to her performances. Along with Maria Taglioni, she was famous ballerina of the XIX century.
Fanny (her real name was Francis Elssler) was born on June 23, 1810 in Vienna, Austria. Her grandfather and father served as secretary of composer Haydn.
The girl studied ballet from a young age. Fanny studied ballet together with her older sister Theresa at the ballet school of the Vienna Burgtheater.
In 1824 she first appeared on the scene in Teatro di San Carlo in Naples. There the dancer met Prince Leopold of Salerno, son of Ferdinand IV, the King of Naples. Fanny gave birth to their son Franz. In 1829, she became acquainted with Friedrich von Gentz, who was 46 years older than her. They lived together until his death in 1832.
Thanks to her energetic spirit Elssler became famous worldwide.
In 1834 she made her Paris Opera debut.
She performed a Polish folk dance called the “cracovienne” in the ballet La Gypsy. Fanny was named “the Spaniard from the north.”
Elssler toured the United States, England, Germany, Italy, and Russia.
Fanny often performed with her sister until 1850, when Teresa married Prince Adalbert of Prussia.
In 1851 she retired from the ballet. Her last performance took place in her native Vienna. Until 1854 she lived in Hamburg. In 1854, the dancer finally returned to Vienna.
Fanny Elssler died on November 27, 1884 in Vienna.
Choreographer August Bournonville, who had seen the famous Maria Taglioni and Elssler on the London stage in the same time, said: “Fanny Elssler was an exceptional talent. Taglioni hovered over the scene slowly and smoothly. Elssler was joy and excitement…”