THE STARS OF THE BALLET.
THE glory of Opera has faded. Apollo has sunk towards the horizon, and his rays are refracted with dim luminousness through the mist of recollection. Though, now and then, one of his golden arrows of light may glance upward, illumining the hemisphere for a brief space, a cloud veils the refulgence of the God of Song, and the dulcet strains of his lyre fall on the ear with a broken and me- lancholy sound. The spangled splendours of the Ballet derive all the more brilliancy from the retirement of the deity. The star of TAGLIONI, though not visible at this exact/point of time, is in the ascendant. She shines, encircled by her glittering train like the Pleiades. We sit in one of the snug observatories at the Opera, watching through a Dollond telescope the motions of these lumi- naries of the night ; observing their parallaxes, and noting their risings and settings.
" Then feel we like some watcher of the skies, When a new planet swims into his ken,"
as some bright creature of the element glides across the field of the glass, to the music of the spheres. HEBERLE, alas ! is now " the lost Pleiad." She has been drawn out of our sphere by the force of connubial attraction, and revolves in another orbit. But two new twin stars, of the first magnitude and of rare brilliancy, have appeared, whose movements will for some time to come at- tract the attention of the astronomers of the King's Theatre. Lest, however, we should confound our readers by associating in their fancy the sidereal divinities of the Ballet with the pinhole luminaries of Mr. ADAMS'S Eidouranion, we will descend from our observatory, and, leaving all optical allusions to Mr. CHILDE of the Adelphi Theatre, proceed upon more solid ground to glance at the divinities as they appear in their mortal form.
The two new dancers, TERESA and FANNY ELSLER, are young, graceful, and tall; TERESA, the elder, surpasses the stature of women. She has the greater power of limb : FANNY more light- ness and flexibility. TERESA might assume the attitude of the flying• Mercury of John of Bologna ; she stands on one leg as a statue on its pedestal. Her movements are free, elegant, and without effort. She is a dauntless dancer, and vanquishes difficul- ties with triumphant skill and with the intrepidity of a heroine. She never fails in what she attempts, and appears as if she could do more if she chose. She compels admiration and applause ; her sweet sister FANNY elicits the tribute of approbation and delight. FANNY fascinates by the insinuating grace of her movements, and the delicacy and finish of her execution. Her pirouette upon one toe, while the other leg is waved gracefully in the air, is the perfection of skill, and almost reconciles us to this least agreeable movement of the ballet. Her sister stands upon one toe, and with the other foot executes battemens—the "shake" of the dance. But it would be idle to enumerate the various feats of foot they perform. Indeed, we Klink too much stress is laid upon the value of these tours de force, and too much use made of them. They are often more extraordinary than pleasing. They should be introduced, like trills and roulades in music, sparingly, and in order to give point and brilliancy to a continuous melody ; and should blend harmoniously with the more simple and flowing movements of the dance,—as though the impulse from which pros ceeded the graceful bounding to music, sought to escape in some dazzling freak of fancy. They should be like an outbreak of the animal spirits of the dancer, which would not allow her to refrain from indulging in some wanton waywardness, startling the sight as the fitful gushes of melody from the throat of the nightingale do the ear. BRUGNOLI would have delighted us more had she astonished less frequently. She surfeited with wonders. It was like sitting down to a feast of conserves and essences. TAGLIONI'S judgment and discre- tion evince the correctness of her taste. She is not too profuse in the distribution of the rarities of her execution. The gems of art which she displays are set in chaste silver. Her manner is artifi- cially graceful. She is an educated, well-bred, lady-like dancer. Her's is the drawing-room style. She never loses her self-posses- sion, but a restraint of conscious decorum pervades every move- ment, without in the slightest degree fettering or embarrassing the freedom of her action. s HEBERLE was the sylph of the Ballet. To the modest grace, the ease, the refinement of TAGLIONI, she added surpassing skill, a bewitching wildness, an aerial lightness of movement, and a deli- cate gusto, as though her jouissance was self-restrained by her own innate sense of the beautiful. We looked upon her as a sylphid being, who took a freak to dazzle "the upturnd eyes of wondering mortals" by condescending to imprison her unsubstan- tial essence in the human form, and imitating the artificial move- ments of the ballet. She made us lose sight of the trammels of art—and now we have lost sight of herself. She is metamor- phosed. The sylph has left her mortal tenement in the arms of a Neapolitan banker, and is for ever flown. Never more shall the scintillations of her transcendant toe flash upon our enraptured eyes like the sparkles of the sunbeams on the restless tide.
TAGLIONI now reigns supreme, the Queen of the Ballet. She fills the throne with modest yet courtly dignity ; the sun-flower her golden footstool, the lily her sceptre.
BRUGNOLI was one of the saltatory Athletm—the Amazon of the Dance. She bounded on the stage as if she were leaping upon the back of a Centaur. Her step was wild and fiery like that of Bellona. She should have worn a helmet and wielded a battle-axe. MONTESSU winds about like the subtle gliding involutions of a serpent. DUVERNA.Y is the waiting-maid of her mistress TAGLIONI, in whose steps she staidly treads, following at humble distance. PAULINE LEROUX is the village heroine.
TERESA and FANNY ELSLER, the two court beauties from Vienna, may take their station on the right and left of the queenly TAGLIONI. They may rival, nay surpass her in some particulars; but the rare combination of manner and style with consummate skill will maintain her supremacy. HEBERLE—the Mary Stuart of the realm of the Ballet—was her only rival.
But we must not pass by unregarded the princely ALBERT— the Leicester to our fair Elizabeth. Nor DESHAYES, the Bur- leigh of the court, who is now content to shake his head instead of his toe. Nor PERROT, that wonderful gymnast, to whom the ground seems a mere fulcrum for the lever of his muscular power. The wonder is to see him stand still. He is like a balloon strain- ing the cords that bind it to the earth; were they cut, he would shoot upwards into the clouds. Could we for a moment contem- plate his exemption from the law of gravitation, we should be alarmed lest, getting beyond the atmosphere of this earth, he should be lost in infinite space, and, being " imprisoned in the viewless winds," be blown like a leaf upon the platform of Saturn's ring, there to astonish the gigantic progeny of that planet as they take their evening walk on his celestial boulevard.
But these "wild and whirling words" denote that this pirouet- ting upon paper makes our brain dizzy. We stop in an instant, like GILBERT, after a rapid gyration, and, making our bow, disap- pear among the flies.