Marie Taglioni

By Andre Levinson

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Andre Levinson’s biography of the world’s greatest Romantic ballerina is available once more!

She was a legend in her own time and her name is synonymous with the glories of the Romantic ballet. Marie Taglioni, beloved by audiences from London to St Petersburg, was the woman who fixed the image of the ethereal ballerina for all time. Through her performances inĀ La Sylphide, she popularised the illusion of effortless grace and buoyancy, establishing a new style of ballet that dancers continue to emulate to this day.

While the world awaits a definitive, contemporary biography of Taglioni, this account by Andre Levinson offers a useful survey of the ballerina’s career, including her triumphs in Russia and her final years, when Taglioni resided in London and earned her living teaching deportment to children of the aristocracy.

Originally translated into English by Cyril Beaumont in 1930, this biography of Taglioni joins contemporary accounts of the dancer to a commentary that perpetuates her mystique. Readers discovering Taglioni’s world for the first time may find Levinson’s roller-coasting references to other well-known figures of the period a trifle overwhelming at times, and the book’s insights into the ballerina’s private life are few.

Nevertheless, the reissue of Levinson’s text offers a new generation of dance lovers a starting point from which to develop their appreciation of one of ballet’s most remarkable woman. Perhaps it might even inspire someone to write that definitive, new biography we so desperately need!

Noverre Press (Dance Books). First published in 1930, reissued 2014. Paperback, 110 pages.