Marie Taglioni (1804 – 1884) was an Italian/Swedish ballet dancer of the Romantic ballet era, a central figure in the history of European dance. Her fragile, delicate dancing typified the early 19th-century Romantic style. She became one of the first women toon the extreme tips, or points, of the toes; she created a new style marked by floating leaps, such balanced poses as the arabesque, and a delicate, restrained use of the points.
In the performance of La Sylphide Taglioni was also known for shortening her skirt, which was considered highly scandalous at the time. The diaphanous dress she wore, with its fitted bodice and airy, bell-like skirt, was the prototype of the . She shortened all of her skirts to show off her excellent pointe work, which the long skirts hid. Her father was approving of the shortening of the skirt because he also wanted everyone to see how good his daughter was en pointe.
Not only did she have Paris at her feet but audiences in London, Milan, Vienna, Berlin, and St. Petersburg hailed her as one of the greatest dancers ballet had ever produced.
In London Taglioni commanded £100 a performance and she filled the St. Petersburg Bolshoi Theatre to capacity when she played in La Sylphide. The Russians loved her so much that they named cakes and caramels after her. A group of her fans even ate a pair of her ballet shoes after her last performance in 1842. These were cooked, garnished, and served with a special sauce (Source).
Portrait of ballerina Marie Taglioni
(probably between 1827 and 1837)
Maria Taglioni in “La Sylphide”
Maria Taglioni by Richard James Lane, circa 1825-1850