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The Buzz 7-7: Birthday Party
Italian Cultural Institute to Give Soiree for Taglioni

By Paul Ben-Itzak
Copyright 2004 The Dance Insider

PARIS -- In honor of the bicentennial of her birth, the Italian Cultural Institute will host an evening dedicated to the legacy of Marie Taglioni, the first to use pointe artistically, the institute's cultural attache Paolo Grossi announced today. The evening, The First: Homage to Marie Taglioni and a Debate on the State of her Legacy, will take place September 30 as part of a week-long festival given by the cultural institutes of 35 countries on the theme The Stranger in the City. Taglioni, the daughter of the Italian-born choreographer and dance master Filippo Taglioni, became the most celebrated member of the Paris Opera Ballet and indeed the most celebrated dancer of all time.

Considering the current invisibility of Marie Taglioni in the house which owes much of its modern foundation to her, the Paris Opera Ballet, the investment of the Italian Cultural Institute in her legacy is essential. The April 23 bicentennial of its most illustrious star went unremarked upon at the Paris Opera House, and the Paris Opera Ballet has also neglected to care for her deteriorating grave at the Montmartre cemetery. Save for the current run of Pierre Lacotte's reconstruction of Filippo Taglioni's 1832 "La Sylphide," in which Marie Taglioni first demonstrated the romantic power of pointe, the Paris Opera Ballet has done nothing to celebrate Taglioni's legacy. Other than a general reference to the Taglioni family, Marie Taglioni is not mentioned in the Paris Opera Ballet program book. And with just three classical and no Romantic-era ballets on tap for next year's contemporary-driven season at the POB, Taglioni's legacy at the company with which she was most-associated stands in danger of being eviscerated.

The Dance Insider has been charged with programming the September 30 tribute and debate. We are currently seeking a sponsor for the participation of Sophia Parcen, a dancer with the Paris Opera Ballet who will give a demonstration as part of the event. Sponsorship includes a complimentary advertising banner on the Dance Insider for the sponsor. We're also seeking participants for the debate/discussion -- historians, critics, and most of all dancers who can talk about what Taglioni means to them today, addressing questions like the following, suggested by my DI colleague Robin Hoffman:

-- Taglioni redefined what a ballerina was in her time. What does it mean to be a woman in ballet today?

-- Dancing on pointe as exemplified by Taglioni implied an exquisite fragility. Does it have more to do with exquisite strength now? Does any of the illusion of fragility remain in contemporary ballet? Is it more complicated now?

-- What are your feelings about your pointe shoes?

If you're interested in sponsoring Sophia Parcen's participation in the Italian Cultural Institute's Taglioni soiree or in otherwise participating in the evening, please e-mail paul@danceinsider.com. To read Italian Cultural Institute cultural attache Paolo Grossi's bicentennial proclamation for Marie Taglioni, please click here.

 

 

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