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Sunday, 5 February 2012

Ballet Dancer

Italian dancer and choreographer Carlo Blasis (1797 – 1878) is regarded as the founder of classical ballet, since he defined the standard conventional steps and accompanying gestures. He is well known for his very rigorous dance classes, sometimes lasting four hours long.

Austrian dancer Fanny Elssler (1810-1884) was the first ballet celebrity to be embraced by American audiences. With a glorious European career behind her,  Elssler made her New York City debut in 1840 and for the next two years toured the United States. So popular was she that when she visited Washington, D.C., she was feted by the entire United States Congress. Elssler's visit stimulated a keen interest in classical dance.

After gas lighting became popular in 19th-century theaters, scores of ballet dancers died after their tutus caught on fire.

Vaslav Nijinsky (March 12, 1889 – April 8, 1950). was a Russian ballet dancer and choreographer of Polish descent who was regarded as the greatest male dancer of the 20th century.  He could dance en pointe, a rare skill among male dancers at the time and was admired for his seemingly gravity-defying leaps. Nijinsky's last public performance was in 1917 and he spent the final three decades of his life in and out of psychiatric hospitals before dying in London. 

 Vaslav Nijinsky costumed as the God Vayou in the ballet Le Talisman.

Legendary Russian ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev (March 17, 1938 – January 6, 1993) was a star of the Kirov Ballet in the Soviet Union before defecting to the West while on tour in Paris in 1961. He then became the most prominent ballet dancer in the world before dying of Aids, aged 54.

Nureyev in his dressing room c. 1974, By Allan Aarren - Wikipedia Commons

The late rapper Tupac Shakur was a ballet dancer in high school and ended up portraying the Mouse King in a production of The Nutcracker. Later, he was a member of the 127th street ensemble, which is a Harlem based theater company.

Mick Jagger is a skilled ballet dancer, and he has been taking lessons for years.

Professional ballerinas use about twelve pairs of toe shoes per week.

Source Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia © 1998 The Learning Company, Inc

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