Fanny Elßler

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Fanny Elßler, lithograph by Joseph Kriehuber (1830)
Fanny Elßler dances the Cachucha (1842)

Fanny Elßler , actually Franziska Elßler (born June 23, 1810 in Gumpendorf (now a district of Vienna ), † November 27, 1884 in Vienna), was an Austrian dancer. Alongside Maria Taglioni the Elder , Fanny Elßler was one of the most famous dancers of the 19th century.


Fanny Elßler was born in Vienna as the daughter of Johann (Florian) Elßler (1769–1843), from 1787 personal copyist and valet to Joseph Haydn until his death, and studied at the ballet school of the Vienna Court Theater . She received her first engagement in 1824 at the Teatro San Carlo in Naples. There she met Leopold of Naples-Sicily , Prince of Salerno and son of King Ferdinand IV of Naples , in 1827 . Her son Franz, who grew up in Eisenstadt and died of suicide in 1873, comes from this connection .

In 1829 she met Friedrich von Gentz , who was 46 years older than Metternich , with whom she maintained a close relationship from 1830 until Gentz's death in 1832. Gentz ​​developed all of his art all over again for Fanny in order to make money. He encouraged them wherever he could and showered them with gifts. He also took on the role of mentor and made efforts to educate her, teach French and correct German, get her to read books, and introduce her to influential people. Fanny thanked him with an honest and deep affection, which is clear from the letters received.

Fanny Elßler, lithograph from the Royal Lithographic Institute

Gentz's political career ended abruptly when he criticized Metternich's course in the early 1830s and this then withdrew his favor. Gentz ​​retired with Elßler to his little castle in Weinhaus . She lived there with him until his death on June 9, 1832.

Elßler's unparalleled successes began in Berlin in 1830 and continued in Paris and on tours of Europe, Russia, Cuba and North America. With national dances such as Polka , Krakowiak and her famous Cachucha , she conquered the stages of the world. In Berlin she met her childhood friend Anton Stuhlmüller again, the father of her daughter Therese (1833–1870; married von Webenau ).

From 1841–1842 she worked in Havana / Cuba. A marble plaque donated by the Cuba National Ballet is placed on a house facade in her memory near the cathedral in Old Havana (donated in 1980). While still at the full height of her ability, she withdrew into private life in 1851. Her honorary grave is in the Hietzinger Friedhof (group 6, number 12 A).

For a long time she shared her stage successes with her sister Therese (1808–1878), who was also a great dancer, until she married Prince Adalbert of Prussia in 1850 in a morganatic marriage .


Honorary grave at Hietzingen cemetery


The Elßlergasse in Vienna- Hietzing (13th district) was in 1894 named in her honor. The Fanny-Elßler-Bogen is a street in the Hamburg district of Allermöhe . In Eisenstadt , Burgenland , Austria, and in Klagenfurt there is a Fanny-Elßler-Gasse .

In 1960 Riki Raab donated the Fanny-Elßler-Ring as an equivalent to the Iffland-Ring , an award given to outstanding Austrian dance artists. Previous winners were Edeltraud Brexner , Jolantha Seyfried , Dagmar Kronberger and Rebecca Horner .

The Fanny Elßler Cup is the prize of a figure skating competition in Eisenstadt.

In 1984 Austrian Post issued a special postage stamp on the 100th anniversary of her death.

When in 1988 a 7 cm tall, more than 30,000 year old stone female figure was discovered on the Galgenberg von Stratzing near Krems in Lower Austria, with her raised left arm, the right arm braced to the side, the twisted body and the separated legs graceful and dancing works, the oldest work of art in Austria and "the oldest stone sculpture in the world" was described by the excavator Christine Neugebauer-Maresch in memory of Fanny Elßler as "Fanny - the dancing Venus from Galgenberg "





  • Irma von Höfer : Fanny Elßler: Friedrich von Gentzens last love dream. Literary Institute, Vienna 1921




  • Anton Berlakovich: Fanny Elßler in Amerika , Vienna 2013
  • Andrea Amort : The Elßler's red satin boot. To the dance costumes of the Austrian Theater Museum . In: Ulrike Dembski (Ed.): Disguise - Transform - Seduce. Stage costumes from the collection of the Austrian Theater Museum . Brandstätter Verlag, Vienna 2010, pp. 45–59
  • Maureen Needham Costonis: The Personification of Desire: Fanny Elssler and American Audiences . In: Dance Chronicle , Volume 13, No. 1 (1990) pp. 47-67 (English)
  • Lieselotte Denk: Fanny Elßler. Dancer of a century . Amalthea-Verlag, Vienna 1984, ISBN 3-85002-196-3
  • Jarmila Weißenböck: Fanny Elßler. Materials . Böhlau, Vienna 1984, ISBN 3-205-06301-5
  • Allison Delarue (Ed.): Fanny Elssler in America: Seven facsimiles of rare Americana depicting her astounding conquest of America in 1840-42: a memoir, a libretto, two verses, a penny-terrible blast, letters and journal, and an early comic strip - the sad tale of her impresario's courtship. Dance Horizons, Brooklyn 1976, ISBN 0-87127-084-6 (English)
  • Ivor Guest: Fanny Elßler . Black Books, London 1970 (English)
  • Riki Raab: Fanny Elßler. A world fascination . Bergland-Verlag, Vienna 1962
  • Auguste Ehrhard: Fanny Elßler: the life of a dancer. German by Moritz Necker, Beck, Munich 1910
  • Auguste Ehrhard: Une vie de danseuse: Fanny Elssler. Plon-Nourrit, Paris 1909


Web links

Commons : Fanny Elssler  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Dagmar Kronberger receives the Fanny-Elßler-Ring Tanznetz, April 21, 2008
  2. On the high birthday of Edeltraud Brexner - The last prima ballerina . (PDF) accessed on February 18, 2016.
  3. Passing on the Fanny Elßler Ring to Rebecca Horner . OTS notification dated May 13, 2019, accessed May 17, 2019.
  4. Entry on the 100th anniversary of Fanny Elßler's death in the Austria Forum  (as a stamp illustration)
  5. a b World of the Stone Age
  6. ^ Art in the Paleolithic . University of Fine Arts Hamburg; Retrieved December 1, 2010
  7. ^ Austria Forum: Fanny von Stratzing