2 3 Throwback Thursday and “The Flying Goddess” | Ballet Webb

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Throwback Thursday and “The Flying Goddess”

Throwback Thursday and “The Flying Goddess”
One of the most important and least known ballerinas of the 1700s was Barbara Campanini, also called “La Barberina”, or “The Flying Goddess”.  She was that rare combination of actress and technician and was particularly known for her petit allegro – hence the name “Flying Goddess”.
It is rumored that she was mistress to Frederick the Great, but this may have been simply because he required her to stay unmarried in order to keep her unusually high salary and five vacation months per year contract intact.  Despite this agreement with the King, she reputedly had many love affairs.  In 1749, she accepted a marriage proposal from Charles-Louis  Cocceji  onstage, thus causing quite a scandal.
Although von Cocceji was jailed by King Frederick, he secretly wed his Flying Goddess.  Later von Cocceji was pardoned and the two lived together until they separated in 1759 and divorced in 1788.
Her colorful life was made into a ballet in 1935 by Maudrik.  It was called “Die Barberina”.

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets:

Dance History Factoid #20 
“One of the most important ballerinas of the 1700s was Barbara Campanini.”

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-          George Addair


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