19th Century Ballet
Giselle was choreographed by Jean Coralli, but Jules Perrot was responsible for the choreography of the role Giselle, danced by Carlotta Grisi. Although the original choreography has been lost, the version most often seen today is based on the one produced in 1860 by Marius Petipa.
Arthur Saint-Léon was only 49 years old when he choreographed his greatest ballet, Coppélia, dying only three months after its premiere. This comic ballet tells the story of a love triangle between Swanilda, Franz, and a life-size dancing doll.
La Sylphide is considered one of the first "White Ballets, or Ballet Blanc," in that, it influenced the fashion style of ballet. Because of the romantic subject matter of ballets, this long white costume became the traditional style for dancers of this period. This ballet was choreographed by Phillipe Taglioni and performed by his daughter Marie Taglioni.
THE FAMOUS FOUR
Meet the Cast of "Pas de Quatre"
Marie Taglioni (1804-1884)
Another production that Taglioni is known for is "Pas de Quatre," a ballet created to showcase four of the foremost ballerina of the era.
Marie Taglioni retired in 1847 but continued to teach dance, and later opened her own school. Taglioni is still considered to be possible the greatest ballerina of the romantic era. Her technique and elevation contributed to her renowned airy grace.
Carlotta Grisi (1819-1899)
Grisi was considered a technically strong dancer. In her career she danced many other leading roles in the romantic ballets and was one of the four stars in "Pas de Quatre."
Grisi and Perrot traveled all through Europe together creating new works. She retired in 1854 at the height of her career and settled in Paris.
Lucille Grahn (1819-1907)
In 1845 Grahn moved to England and performed as the youngest of one of the famous four in "Pas de Quatre."
Grahn retired in Germany and married. She continued to teach dance and choreography while taking care of her husband.
Fanny Cerito (1817-1909)
Cerito and Saint-Léon made their last appearance together on tour in 1851. After that, Cerito moved to Russian while Saint-Leon continued his career in Paris.
Past her prime, Cerito made an appearance in Russia and was upstaged by a young Russian ballerina who had been Saint-Léon's pupil in Paris. Disillusioned by that and by the Russians' nationalistic non-acceptance of things foreign, Cerito left for England in 1857 to retire.
Pas de Quatre
Their costumes were of the Romantic style made famous in " La Sylphide." They wore long billowy muslin dresses with circlets of flowers on their heads. However, Cerito wore her flowers beside the low bun at the back of her head and Tagliono wore her pearl jewelry around her neck.