Marie Taglioni: The First Female Superstar of Ballet

Marie Taglioni’s overwhelming success in ballets such as La Sylphide triggered a cult of the ballerina which was to last for many decades, and which swept away the image of the acclaimed male dancers of the past. This paper for Dancing Lives accompanies Marie Taglioni on her way to celebrity from Stockholm over Vienna and Stuttgart to the Paris Opera, where she created some of her most memorable roles, and from there to other major ballet cities.

It explores questions such as: which changes in the world of ballet paved the way for Marie Taglioni’s triumph, and how did she acquire her reputation? How did Taglioni describe her own life in her memoirs, and what did others write about her? Furthermore, it reveals how Taglioni’s glory was documented and diffused through artistic representations of her.

Iris Julia Bührle is a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow (English) and a Junior Research Fellow at New College,Oxford. She studied comparative literature, history of art and international relations in Stuttgart, Paris (Sorbonne-Nouvelle/ Sciences Po) and Oxford, and she has worked for UNESCO, the Bavarian State Ballet and the Paris Opera. Her doctoral thesis (Paris/ Stuttgart) entitled Dance and Literature: the choreographic adaptation of works of literature in Germany and France from the 18thcentury to the present day was published in German in 2014. She also authored a bilingual (English/ German) biography of the British dancer Robert Tewsley. Her current project is on Shakespeare and dance.
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