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Carla Fracci still dancing as 80th birthday nears

Carla Fracci still dancing as 80th birthday nears

Icon of Italian ballet performed at Versiliana Festival

19 Agosto 2016

Rome, August 19 - Italian ballerina Carla Fracci turns 80 years old on August 20, but she hasn't hung up her pointe shoes yet. She performed in late July at the Versiliana Festival with the Balletto del Sud in Fredy Franzutti's staging of "Scheherazade and the Thousand and One Nights" as Queen Thalassa, the queen of the sea. "I've never loved celebrating my birthdays, and this year it will be the same: I'll be with my family, with my grandchildren," she said, acknowledging however that reaching age 80 is a "significant milestone". She's never been one to slow down her career for life's demands - when she was pregnant with her son Francesco she danced up until her fourth month of pregnancy. Although she admits to having some regrets, among which figure never having been a director of the La Scala ballet company, they're overshadowed by innumerable successes on the world's most prestigious stages. Born the daughter of a tram driver in Milan in 1936, Fracci began dancing at age 10 at the La Scala ballet school and graduated in 1954, having had among her teachers the influential Russian dancer Vera Volkova. Fracci became a prima ballerina at La Scala just three years after her graduation, after having completed some international apprenticeships, and yet she says that she began dancing "by chance". "It was suggested by a couple of my parents' friends, who had a relative that played in the La Scala orchestra," Fracci said. Until the 1970s she danced with various foreign companies, including the London Festival Ballet, the Royal Ballet, the Stuttgart Ballet and the Royal Swedish Ballet, as well as being a principal guest artist beginning in 1967 with the American Ballet Theatre. Starting in the 1980s she directed the ballet company of the Teatro San Carlo in Naples, followed by the Arena in Verona and the Rome Opera Ballet, where she remained until 2010 where she was a beloved teacher. Renowned dance partners have accompanied her throughout the years, including Rudolf Nureyev, Vladimir Vasiliev, Henning Kronstam, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Amedeo Amodio and Paolo Bortoluzzi. And after all these years, Fracci continues to draw fans on the street, although nowadays they no longer ask for an autograph but rather a selfie, a request she happily obliges.


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