Ballet has been one of the most popular genres of art for a great number of people since distant past. Famous ballerinas with their professional performances influenced not only the development of ballet but also improvements in ballet apparel. Nowadays there is nothing surprising in seeing a ballerina wearing a gorgeous tutu or comfortable pointe shoes. However, ballet fashion developed due to the examples of outstanding ballerinas like Marie Taglioni.
Marie Taglioni was a remarkable Italian ballerina of the 19th century who was famous not only for her magnificent performances but also for the fact that she contributed into a revolution in the sphere of ballet dancers’ apparel. It is due to her that we may enjoy the appearance of ballerinas in a romantic tutu dress. At the beginning of the 19th century when Marie Taglioni started her multiple trainings and hard work on ballet techniques it was common for ballerinas to wear long dresses which made their movements difficult to perform. Nobody could imagine that a ballerina who was at first rejected by a French ballet teacher was destined to become one of the most prominent figures in ballet history.
Marie was born in a family of dancers and started to learn to dance from early childhood. Her father Filippo made a decision to train his daughter himself after her rejection at the ballet school. Marie trained a lot and usually was totally exhausted in the evenings. Sometimes she wasn’t even able to take off her tutu and fell asleep in full gear.
Marie Taglioni’s debut was made in 1822 in Vienna. ‘La Sylphide’ in which Marie played one of the main characters was a great success and brought fame to the ballerina. She was becoming more and more popular in Europe. Audiences adored her and she soon became a symbol of the romantic ballerina in her famous tutu, so airy and romantic. The ballerina replaced the classical style in ballet by creating a new image of lightness and romance.
The ballerina’s popularity was growing and by the middle of the 19th century Marie Taglioni had already performed in many countries including England, France and Russia. There were even legends about Marie Taglioni’s popularity. One of them told a story about her fans’ eating her pointe shoes, another boasted about her dancing on the snow in her tutu for a Russian highwayman who ordered her to do it.
In contrast, the ballerina was not very happy in her personal life. May be that is why she liked to put on her tutu and forget about everything. She divorced after three years of marriage with Could Gilbert de Viosins and was left with two little children. After this sad occasion she had to work a lot. After retiring in 1848 she continued to teach pupils first in Paris, later in London. She wasn’t rich and that is why she had to work as a choreographer until she died in 1884 at the age of 80.
Marie Taglioni was one of those outstanding ballerinas who was greatly loved by the public. She was not only a professional dancer but also a person who gave her whole self to ballet. It is important to realise her great contribution to the development of ballet and fashion. Her name is still remembered by many ballet admirers.