|Anine Frølich and Pierre Laurent|
A good friend of mine is currently holidaying in Scandinavia and it is no secret to those who know me that I am a great fan of the wonderful country of Denmark. It is in honour of Scandinavia-trotting chum and that lovely country that today I tell the tale of Anine Frølich, a star of Danish dance who lived a tragically short life.
Dance in Denmark was not overwhelmed by native performers and Frølich was to become the first true Danish star of the ballet, after beginning her training at the age of nine in the ballet school of the Court-Theater. Under the tutelage of Pierre Laurent she flourished, outshining her contemporaries as she hurtled towards stardom.
Frølich was possessed of an astonishing natural talent and imbued her performances with a sense of drama, truly inhabiting and acting the roles she played. When she made her debut in 1773 she became an overnight sensation with her naturalistic style and air of grace and beauty. Audiences flocked to her performances and as she entered her teens Frølich caught the eye of the Court Theater's Italian ballet master, Vincenzo Galeotti, who made her his leading lady.
Galeotti was embarked on a dramatic restructure of the face of Danish ballet, which he saw as overly formal and stylised. With Frølich as his star he changed the face of ballet in Denmark and the pair enjoyed enormous popular and critical success. Despite an age difference of three decades, the couple became lovers but their passion ended in animosity and Frølich's emotional wellbeing deteriorated as she grew more exhausted by her professional engagements.
Aged just 22 the young dancer collapsed during rehearsal and was carried to her home in Copenhagen. Sadly she was never to recover and died within days, plunging her fans and colleagues into mourning.