2 3 Throwback Thursday and Pierina Legnani | Ballet Webb

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Throwback Thursday and Pierina Legnani

Throwback Thursday and Pierina Legnani

Pierina Legnani was born in Italy in 1863. She was known for her technical brilliance and more than one account says she is responsible for inspiring Russian dancers to develop the bravura technique they are known for today.

But her fame is forever tied to fouettés. It was in 1893 in the Maryinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg that Pierina Legnani wowed audiences with thirty-two of them. She originated this now famous series of whipped turns, and first performed the feat in London. In 1895 Legnani created the double role of Odette-Odile in the Petipa  and Ivanov version of Swan Lake.

She stayed in Russia until 1901, and was given the title of Prima Ballerina Assoluta, an honor that had been bestowed only once before, to ballerina Mathilde Kschessinska. After leaving the country, Legnani continued to perform in France, London and Italy until 1910.

Pierina Legnani died in Italy in 1923. She was 60 years old.

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets:
Secret #15p:  
Pierina Legnani was the first to perform thirty-two fouettés.

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