Romantic Ballet

“The Romantic Era was a time of fantasy, etherealism, supernaturalism and
exoticism. The stories of the time dealt with issues of good vs. evil,
man vs. nature and society vs. the supernatural.” (ugadancehistory)

1823. La Sylphide. The Paris Opera in Paris, France. Performed by Marie Taglioni and choreographed by Marie’s father, Filippo. La Sylphide emphasized the supernatural female character played by Marie in which her other half was the bird who was destined to a never-ending life of dance. Marie’s excellent pointework flaunted by the new tutu of the Romantic Ballet Era that she herself shortened just to show off her long legs, and perfect pointwork and wonderful form.

(The Influence of the Romantic Ballet in La Sylphide and Marie Taglioni now carries onto the Guangzhou Ballet Troupe in Beijing, China at the Huanghuagang Theatre.)

Filippo trained Marie, and La Sylphide made her. In training Marie, Filippo cleared the road for female’s to gain control of Ballet and become the center of attention. Women gained social and economic equivalency with men through Ballet; they were at the top of the social structure, everyone wanted to be around them, and they could make their own wages and choose to be independent if they like, not having to depend upon the man in 19th century France. Marie mastered the pointework  technique, giving the illusion of the female ballerina floating. Marie changed the length of the tutu to specifically flaunt her excellent pointework and because of the appearance of Marie’s shortened tutu in La Sylphide, it changed the standard of all tutu’s during this, the Romantic Ballet period and later gained the connotation of the Romantic Tutu.

The Romantic Era of Ballet characterized the Supernatural theme in dance, specifically the female supernatural creatures and was obviously prevalent in La Sylphide, Marie’s character was that of the woman split in two, (not literally) with her other half being a bird, destined to a never-ending life of dance.

1836. Le Diable boiteux. Premiered June 1, 1836 at Opera de Paris in Paris, France. Choreographed by Jean Coralli, accompanied by the music of Casimir Gide. It has a libretto by Gurguy and Nourrit. Fanny Elssler was the rival of Marie Taglioni during this time of the Romantic Ballet Era and Fanny danced the cachucha of Florinda in 3/4 time, in Le Diable boiteux. The ballet is a loose translation of Lesage, a novel, and was considered Corelli’s first successful ballet. Le Diable boiteux was had a rebirth in 1843 at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, Russia.

Le diable boiteux

(The original novel that the ballet was based upon, 1747, currently owned by Roberto Martinez del Rio)

Fanny ELSSLER (1810-1884) in Le Diable boiteux

(Fanny Elssler dancing the cachucha as Florinda in Le Diable boiteux)

1841. Giselle. Performed in Paris, France by Ballet du Théâtre de l’Académie Royale de Musique at the Salle Le Peletier theatre. Giselle was originally choreographed by Jules Perrot and Jean Coralli. The role of Giselle was first danced by Carlotta Grisi alongside her counterpart in the story, Lucien Petipa. “Giselle revolves around the themes of forest spirits, forces of nature, and death.” Giselle is the story of a peasant girl who is betrayed by her own heart, and cannot have the man whom she loves because he is engaged to another, and impassioned by dance and her weak heart, eventually dies of her own broken heart (literally).

My best friend Ryan T. Nye, whom i grew up with, has danced in Giselle many times and met his fiance and wife to be, Racheal, while dancing. Racheal has played the character of Giselle many times and is indeed the Ballerina in the showing of Giselle, with Ryan, in the first hit on Google when i searched for Giselle and the full length video Daryll showed in class of Giselle with the Kansas City Ballet, most likely dancing Giselle in the choreography of Marius Petipa for the Imperial Ballet. (Why mess with the work of a genius!)—> (


“The role of Giselle is one of the most sought-after in ballet. To win the role, a ballerina must have near perfect technique, outstanding grace, and great drama skills. Giselle revolves around the themes of forest spirits, forces of nature, and death. The second act of the ballet, in which everyone is wearing white, is known as the ‘white act.’ “ (

1845. Pas de Quatre. Premiered July 1845 at Her Majesty’s Theatre in London, England. It was choreographed by Jules Perrot as a ballet divertissement (a musical number for a small number of dancers), and accompanied by the music of composer Cesare Pugni. Benjamin Lumley was the Director of Her Majesty’s Theatre in London at this time and hinted to Perrot that he should do ‘Pas de Quatre.’ Pas De Quatre brought together the four best ballerina’s of the Romantic Era at that time. Marie Taglioni, Fanny Cerrito, Carlotta Grisi and Lucile Grahn all on one stage, separately of course, except for the Finale in which they danced together. The ballet was meant to show off the intricate technique of the Romantic Ballet Era and had no definite story; it showed off the best of what each ballerina brought to the table, so to speak.

Fine Art Print of New Pas de Quatre, by Mdlles. Taglioni, C. Grisi, L. Grahn, and Cerito, at her Majesty's Theatre, from The Illustrated London News, 19th July 1845 by English School

(“New Pas de Quatre, by M. Taglioni, C. Grisi, L. Grahn, and F. Cerrito, at her Majesty’s Theatre, from The Illustrated London News, 19th July 1845.”

(“Music sheet cover of the piano music to the Pas de Quatre dance in the burlesque Faust Up to Date, composed by Meyer Lutz, Gaiety Theatre, London, around 1888.”

1870. Coppelia. First performed May 25, 1870 Théâtre Impérial l’Opéra in Paris, France. It was choreographed by Arthur Saint-Leon with accompanying music of Leo Delibes. Giuseppina Bozzacchi first played the role of Swanhilde, Franz’s sweatheart who dressed like a lifelike doll whom Dr. Coppelius invented and with whom Franz is obsessed. Swanhilde eventually saved Franz from himself and the hands of the invention in Dr. Coppelius. Giuseppina was sixteen years old at the premiere of Coppelia; and unfortunately due to her untimely demise at the hands of the Franco-Prussian War (a relatively un-wellknown war) on her seventeenth birthday during the surrounding of Paris. Coppelia was crafted upon the work of Der Sandmann by E.T.A. Hoffman.
(—> and Here we see Coppelia performed by the Royal Ballet in 2000, Act 2; —> ).


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s