Thursday, 13 March 2014

Anine Frølich: The Death of a Dancer

Anine Marie Magdalene Frølich, (Copenhagen, Denmark, 13th March 1762 – Copenhagen, Denmark, 6th November 1784)


Anine Frølich and Pierre Laurent
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.


Vincenzo Galeotti
Vincenzo Galeotti

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.

8 comments:

Julian Rixon said...

What a tragic tale! I wonder if she would have gone on to even greater international fame and fortune. It's one of those James Dean type scenarios where you just never know what may have happened...

Madame Gilflurt said...

There is such an undercurrent of sadness to the story!

Paddy Eger said...

Such a sad tale,Just imagine how she could have impacted ballet had she lived to dance and then carry on her technique by teaching. Made my heart break knowing how hard dancers work to make their moves appear effortless!

Madame Gilflurt said...

I am not an expert in ballet but I am always shocked to learn of some of the things dancers endure in the name of their art.

Susan Nicola Sheehan said...

So young!

Madame Gilflurt said...

A very sad tale.

Leonard Angus smith said...

Worked herself to death , with the help of others. Tragic.

Catherine Curzon said...

Tragic indeed!