2 3 Throwback Thursday and Lucile Grahn | Ballet Webb

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Throwback Thursday and Lucile Grahn

Throwback Thursday and Lucile Grahn

Lucile Grahn was born in 1819 in Denmark. She caught the eye of August Bournonville at the Royal Danish Ballet school, and he began to personally oversee her training. When she was fifteen, he took her to Paris and there she decided she wanted to dance at the Paris Opera. She was, according to an article from Andros on Ballet, “stubborn as a mule” http://michaelminn.net/andros/biographies/grahn_lucile/, and this caused tension between them. When he refused to give his permission for her to go to Paris, she begged Denmark’s Princess Wilhelmina, and she granted her permission. Grahn left Denmark forever in 1839.

During her tenure at the Paris Opera, Grahn got her first big break. She replaced Fanny Elssler in “La Sylphide”. In 1844, she went to Milan, and then to London. But in 1845 she got an even bigger break: she was invited by Jules Perrot to perform in the ballet that most people remember her for today: Pas de Quatre.

By 1848 her career had peaked, and she moved to Germany. In 1856, she married tenor Fredrick Young. Sadly, a few years later, an accident on stage left him in a wheelchair and she became the sole support of the family. She taught dance and choreographed for the Munich Hoftheatre.

Lucile Grahn outlived her husband by more than twenty years, and she became a well-known sight walking on the streets of Munich, dressed in all black. She died in 1907 and left her worldly possessions to the city of Munich, who named a street in her honor.

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets:
Ballet Secret #102:  
Lucile Grahn was a famous Danish ballerina best known for her role in Pas de Quatre.

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"Never throughout history has a man who lived a life of ease left a name worth remembering.”
Theodore Roosevelt

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