Svenskt kvinnobiografiskt lexikon

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Augusta Georgina Cecilia Olsson


Dancer, choreographer, dance teacher

Cecilia ‘Cissi’ Olsson was one of the most prominent dancers at Kungliga Teatern (the royal theatre) ballet during the 1930s and 1940s. She danced many of the major roles within a series of newly-created works during these two decades.

Kungliga Teatern was no alien place to Cecilia Olsson as the family she had grown up within had been associated with that theatre for several generations. Her maternal grandmother had been a figurante whilst her mother, Cecilia Anna Lovisa, had also been a dancer there. Cecilia Olsson’s first instructor at the theatre school, which she began to attend at the tender age of six, was Gunhild Rosén, who had been both the head of the school and ballet master there for many years. She then studied with Valborg Franchi, who was Gunhild Rosén’s successor. At this time interest was limited at Kungliga Teatern with regard to dance. After an initial position as top student and figurante, Cecilia Olsson was directly appointed lead dancer in 1928, without having had to take the usual path of being appointed second dancer first. Her breakthrough came in the role of Svanhilda in Coppelia. She danced his part for the first time in 1928 and continued to do so for several years. That same year she also danced in Michel Fokin’s Sylfiderna.

Towards the end of the 1930s Cecilia Olsson danced leading parts in a series of works created by Kungliga Teatern’s ballet masters, including Julian Algos’ Orfeus i sta’n in 1938. She was considered to be possessed of strong dramatic charisma and a lot of mettle, making her suitable for a variety of character roles. George Gé, master of ballet at Kungliga Teatern from 1939–1948, gave her the role of Bruden in Sån’t händer in 1940, the part of Bagala in Lualaba in 1944, and the role of Krögerskan in Johannesnatten in 1948.

In the early 1950s Cecilia Olsson gained the opportunity to take her interest in choreography, particularly in the styled dances of the 1700s, as well as the older ballets danced at Drottningholms slottsteater (castle theatre), further. Cecilia Olsson staged the second act of Giselle according to Alexandre Volinines’ reworking of the original choreography. The ballet had not been danced in Sweden since 1845. In 1952 she choreographed Paganini, a dramatic ballet fantasy in three tableaux by Rachmaninov and Fokin, and in 1954 she choreographed and staged Pantalones misslyckade kärleksäfventyr.

Cecilia Olsson, in collaboration with Gösta Knutsson, wrote the libretto for Pelle Svanslös. Äventyr för stora och små, a performance with both music and dance. Erland von Koch was responsible for the music whilst Cecilia Olsson took charge of the choreography and directing. The performance was premiered during the festive period of 1949 and it was performed 38 times over a three-year period.

When Cecilia Olsson retired from the stage she opened a dance school, first in Helsingborg and subsequently in Täby.

Cecilia Olsson died in 1989.

Cecilia Malmström Olsson
(Translated by Alexia Grosjean)

Published 2018-03-08

You are welcome to cite this article but always provide the author’s name as follows:

Augusta Georgina Cecilia Olsson,, Svenskt kvinnobiografiskt lexikon (article by Cecilia Malmström Olsson), retrieved 2024-06-19.

Other Names

    Nickname: Cissi

Family Relationships

Civil Status: Divorced
  • Mother: Anna Cecilia Lovisa Olsson-Telander, född Hjorth
  • Father: Peter Adolf Olsson
  • Brother: Karl Gustaf Georg Thelander
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  • Yrkesutbildning, Paris, Frankrike: Dansstudier för Mathilde Kschessinska


  • Profession: Premiärdansös, fr o m 1940-talet även koreograf, Kungliga Teatern, Drottningholmsteatern m fl
  • Profession: Grundare, ledare och lärare, egen dansskola


  • Mentor: Gunhild Rosén
  • Mentor: Valborg Franchi
  • Mentor: Mathilde Kschessinska
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  • Birthplace: Stockholm
  • Stockholm
  • Helsingborg
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