2 3 Throwback Thursday and Amalia Brugnoli | Ballet Webb

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Throwback Thursday and Amalia Brugnoli

Throwback Thursday and Amalia Brugnoli

Amalia Brugnoli. Have you heard of her? Probably not. But she was one of the first dancers to perform on pointe – before Marie Taglioni. In fact, Taglioni, in her memoirs, wrote about Amalia in less than glowing terms:

 ''Mlle. Brugnoli was a dancer who presented a new kind of dancing; she did very extraordinary things on the point of her foot, which was long and narrow, very advantageous for this sort of dancing. I did not find her graceful because, in order to rise on point, she had to make great efforts with her arms.'' 

Did Amalia invent pointe technique? Probably not. The inventor (or inventors) has been lost to history unless someone uncovers a document in an attic that would prove otherwise.

Born about 1802 in Milan, Italy, Amalia trained at the Academy of Ballet at La Scala. In the ballet La Fee et le Chevalier (The Fairy and the Knight) in 1822, she gave her first performance on pointe. Taglioni was in the audience. Here Taglioni first observed this new skill, and it probably provided the impetus for her to perfect it for herself.

Amalia had several famous dance partners, including Armand Vestris and Carlo Blasis. In 1828, Amalia met her future husband, dancer and choreographer Paolo Samengo. They went on to become a popular husband-and-wife team who toured throughout Europe. In 1832, she appeared in London at the King’s Theatre – again, dancing on the tips of her toes.

Amalia Brugnoli lived a long life and died in 1892.

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets:

Dance History Factoid #128:  
Amalia Brugnoli was one of the first dancers to perform on pointe.

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Quote of the Day:
“Invention, using the term most broadly, and imitation, are the two legs, so to call them, on which the human race historically has walked.”
William James, Talks to Teachers on Psychology and to Students on Some of Life's Ideals
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