The magnificent Italian ballerina Elisabetta Terabust died in Rome this morning, 5 February, at her home near the Campo de’ Fiori, after a long illness. She was just 71.
She became a Principal Dancer at the Rome Opera ballet in 1966 and an Etoile in 1972. She worked extensively with the Royal Festival Ballet (now English National Ballet) and with Roland Petit at the Ballet de Marseille.
After her dancing career ended she worked as the director of the main Italian companies: Rome Opera Ballet (1990-1992); La Scala Ballet (1993-1997 during which she brought to the fore the talents of the young dancers Roberto Bolle and Massimo Murru); MaggioDanza (2000-2002) and the ballet company at San Carlo in Naples (2002-2006).
Thank you Elisabetta for all you gave and taught me. Thank you for your passion and dedication. Thank you for having believed in me right from the start and having pushed me to go beyond my limits. You’ll always be in my heart.
Elisabetta Terabust attended Rome Opera’s Ballet School which at the time was directed by the important Italian ballerina, Attilia Radice. During the period with the company in Rome she worked with Erik Bruhn when they danced the Don Quixote pas de deux as well as that from the Flower Festival in Genzano.
She also worked alongside Peter Schaufuss many times and became one of the most convincing Italian dancers in the Bournonville style, and the National Ballet of Canada mounted his ballet Napoli for her, again with Schaufuss. She was a frequent guest internationally, dancing Giselle at La Scala, Juliet in Nureyev’s choreography in New York, and Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, Nutcracker and other for the London Festival Ballet.
Aside from Petit, she danced works by many contemporary choreographers — Tetley, Moreland, MacMillan — but Balanchine was a favourite: Agon, Apollon Musagète, Allegro Brillante, Tchaikovsky pas de deux, La sonnambula.
Terabust was a frequent collaborator with the company Aterballetto and Amedeo Amodio’s Psiche a Manhattan was created for her.
One of her last roles as ballerina was in Roland Petit’s ballet about Charlie Chaplin, Charlot danse avec nous (1991) with the Ballet National de Marseille. It was yet another triumph for this most communicative of dancers: sensitive, ironic, witty, and heartbreakingly moving.
La Scala will observe a minute’s silence before tomorrow’s ballet performance, and the new triple bill which opens on 10 March will be dedicated to her memory.
A chapel of rest will be open on 7 February from 9.30am until 1pm at the Dancing School of the Rome Opera (Via Ozieri 8, near Piazza Lodi) and the funeral will be held at 2.30pm the same day at the Artists’ Church, (Basilica di Santa Maria in Montesanto), Piazza del Popolo 18 in Rome.
Elisabetta Terabust: Varese, 4 August 1946 – Rome, 5 February 2018
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano’) about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman’s Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia’ column for Dancing Times magazine.