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Antoinetta Bella



One of the more refined classical dancers that American audiences witness during the 1880s, Antoinetta Bella first came to America in 1884 playing "Zanita," a ballet to the music of Napier Lothian, in Boston and New York. Critics opined that she was a "most exquisite dancer, probably the most expressive and piquant since Fanny Ellsler." A native of Turin and trained in the Italian style from girlhood, she debuted in Milan dancing to works choreographed by Manzotti.

Her second tour of America, under the auspices of Kiralfy's ballet group, in the 1887-1888 season, featured her performing two dances in Sardou's "Dolores." Act IV of the "Dresdina Ballet" presented Bella and several subsidiary dancers imitating Dresden porcelain figurines. After the wildly successful tour, she returned to La Scala. David S. Shields/ALS