2 3 Throwback Thursday and Theresa Elssler | Ballet Webb

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Throwback Thursday and Theresa Elssler

Throwback Thursday and Theresa Elssler

Fanny Elssler is a famous name in dance history. Her sister, Theresa Elssler, never achieved the same level of fame. She was born in 1808, two years before Fanny, and was an excellent dancer, very tall, and strong. Both girls received their training from Jean-Pierre Aumer and Freiedrich Horschelt and performed in the corps de ballet of Kaernterthor Theatre in Vienna.

She and Fanny often performed together, with Theresa sometimes performing  male roles, partnering and supporting Fanny. Theresa also choreographed ballets for her sister. Both dancers were famous for performing the cachucha, a Spanish style ballet using castanets (see today’s video).

On April 20, 1850, Theresa married Prince Adalbert of Prussia. This was a morganatic marriage – one of two people of unequal social status, one of high birth and one of lesser status. This meant that Theresa and any children born of this marriage could not inherit the husband’s title or privileges. King Frederick William IV of Prussia gave her the title of Baroness of Barnim.

Theresa died on November 19, 1878, and she is buried under the name Therese von Barnim in a cemetery in Berlin.

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets:

Dance History Factoid #126:  
Dancer Theresa Elssler was the sister of the famous Fanny Elssler.

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