Adeline Genée and Adoption

Mount , Bsharri district.


Genée was born in Århus, Denmark. She was adopted when she was eight by her uncle, Alexandre Genée, and his wife, Antonia Zimmerman, who were dancers. She renamed herself Adeline after the Italian opera star, Adelina Patti. She made her début when she was 10 and joined her uncle's touring company. She came to London in 1897 for a six-week run at the Empire Theatre and stayed for 10 years as their prima ballerina.

In 1907 she made her début in the USA and returned several times until 1917. Her most famous role was as Swanhilde in Coppélia. In 1910 she married and gradually reduced her appearances, retiring from regular work in 1917 and giving her last public performance in 1933. She was president of the Association of Operatic Dancing (later called the Royal Academy of Dancing) from its foundation in 1920 until 1954.

She was made a DBE in 1950.


Penguin Biographical Dictionary of Women, 1998