Virginia Zucchi (1847-1930)
Virginia Zucchi studied with Carlo Blasis and Lepri in Milan, and in 1866 started dancing in Italy and other European countries. Almost 20 years passed before she came to St. Petersburg in Russia. Her dazzling virtuosity attracted the attention of the Tzar and he commanded her to dance for him - insisting that she dance at the Maryinsky Theatre. While dancing at the Maryinsky Theatre, she became very influential, perfecting the technique of the St. Petersburg School. Her brilliant dancing plus her acting ability had the audience sobbing during her performance of Esmeralda.
Following her stay in Russia she returned to Western Europe and performed in all the famous capitals during her final tour. She retired circa 1900 and opened a school in Monte Carlo, where she taught until her death.
(First published April 1994, updated 4/23/06)