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Camargo, Marie Anne De Cupis De

CAMARGO, MARIE ANNE DE CUPIS DE (1710-1770), French dancer, of Spanish descent, was born in Brussels on the 15th of April 1710. Her father, Ferdinand Joseph de Cupis, earned a scanty living as violinist and dancing-master, and from childhood she was trained for the stage. At ten years of age she was given lessons by Mlle Françoise Prévost (1680-1741), then the first dancer at the Paris Opéra, and at once obtained an engagement as première danseuse, first at Brussels and then at Rouen. Under her grandmother's family name of Camargo she made her Paris début in 1726, and at once became the rage. Every new fashion bore her name; her manner of doing her hair was copied by all at court; her shoemaker - she had a tiny foot - made his fortune. She had many titled adorers whom she nearly ruined by her extravagances, among others Louis de Bourbon, comte de Clermont. At his wish she retired from the stage from 1736 to 1741. In her time she appeared in seventy-eight ballets or operas, always to the delight of the public. She was the first ballet-dancer to shorten the skirt to what afterwards became the regulation length. There is a charming portrait of her by Nicolas Lancret in the Wallace collection, London.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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