Pas de Quatre – Pugni – Variation 4 (Marie Taglioni)


Variation 4 (Marie Taglioni) from Pas de Quatre

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Grand Pas de Quatre is a ballet divertissement set to music by Cesare Pugni that was choreographed by Jules Perrot in 1845.

It made a big impression on both the public and reviewers on the evening of its London debut (12 July 1845). This was due to the fact that it included the four greatest ballerinas of all time—Lucile Grahn, Carlotta Grisi, Fanny Cerrito, and Marie Taglioni.

Choreographer Anton Dolin presented a new version of Pas de quatre in 1941. The dancers he engaged were Alicia Markova as Marie Taglioni, Alexandra Danilova as Fanny Cerrito, Mia Slavenska as Carlotta Grisi, and Nathalie Krassovska as Lucile Grahn.


Marie Taglioni, an iconic 19th-century Italian-Swedish ballerina, forever altered the landscape of classical ballet with her ethereal grace and technical innovation. Born on April 23, 1804, in Stockholm, Sweden, to a family of professional dancers, she was destined for a life in the world of dance. Marie Taglioni’s illustrious career commenced at an early age, and she received training in both dance and pantomime.

Her transformative impact on the ballet world came to prominence with her debut at the Paris Opera in 1827, where she introduced the world to an entirely new style of ballet that emphasized the ethereal and delicate, characterized by her en pointe work. Her legendary portrayal of the sylph in “La Sylphide” (1832), choreographed by her father Filippo Taglioni, brought her international acclaim and made her a symbol of the romantic ballet era.

Marie Taglioni’s innovation extended to her costumes and her choice to wear a white, bell-shaped tutu, which further emphasized her otherworldly presence on stage. Her ability to convey emotion through her movements and her astonishing technical prowess, particularly her groundbreaking use of the en pointe technique, established her as a pioneer in the art form. Her influence rippled through generations of ballet dancers and choreographers, shaping the way we perceive classical ballet.

Marie Taglioni retired from the stage in 1847, but her legacy remains intact, as she is celebrated as one of the most significant and enduring figures in the history of ballet, with her contributions continuing to inspire and influence the art to this day. She passed away on April 22, 1884,


A well-known figure in the realm of 19th-century ballet music was Cesare Pugni (1802–1870). Pugni, who was born in Genoa, Italy, showed promise as a musician at a young age and underwent professional piano and composition instruction. His work was mostly connected to Russia, where he was the chief composer for the St. Petersburg-based Imperial Ballet. Pugni’s extensive work, which included writing music for several well-known choreographers including Marius Petipa and Jules Perrot, made a significant contribution to the art of ballet.

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