the Ballet
the History

Pre-Romantic Era

As ballet entered the nineteenth century it entered a transitional phase, the pre-romantic phase. During the pre-romantic era male dancers reached their peak. One of Viganò's students, Carlo Blasis, (1797-1878), taught the next generation of dancers to advance well beyond the previous generation, and he published his work in manuals in Italy, then in England describing the finer points of ballet. For example, he named the attitude.

It was during the pre-romantic era that ballerinas first started dancing on the very tips of their toes, or en pointe. The earliest record of ladies dancing en pointe is a lithograph of Fanny Bias en pointe in 1821, and it is possible that Geneviève Gosselin was en pointe in 1815. However, the lady who is traditionally credited with being the first dancer to dance en pointe is the Italian Marie Taglioni, (1804-1884), and we know that she was en pointe when she was eighteen years old.

In 1832 Marie Taglioni's father choreographed a ballet for her to perform. This was La Sylphide, one of the first major ballets that is still performed today. In La Sylphide Taglioni wore a bell shaped dress with a fitted and boned bodice. This became the platform on which the Romantic tutu was built fifty years later.

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