Marie Bonfanti


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(b Milan, 16 Feb. 1845; d New York, 25 Jan. 1921)

Italian-US dancer and teacher. She studied with Blasis, both privately and at the La Scala school, and danced in Italy and London in the early 1860s. In 1866 she went to America as the prima ballerina assoluta (a billing she insisted upon in her contracts) starring in The Black Crook in New York. She toured the US and appeared in several musical revues, including The White Fawn, the follow-up to The Black Crook. She was prima ballerina of the Milan Italian Grand Opera Company, which toured the US, and also of the New York Metropolitan Opera House (1885–6). Following her retirement from the stage in 1892, she opened a school in New York, where she taught until 1916. One of her students was Ruth St Denis.

Subjects: Dance.

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