Hedvig Christina (Hedda) Hjortsberg was a ballet dancer, active during the decades around the turn of the nineteenth century.
Hedda Hjortsberg was born in Stockholm on 15 June 1777. She was the daughter of Laurentius (Lars) Hjortsberg, a stonemason, and the opera singer Maria Lovisa Hjortsberg née Schützer. Hedda Hjortberg had five siblings, among them an older brother named Lars Hjortsberg who was a well-known actor.
Hedda Hjortsberg was nine years old when, in 1786, she was accepted as a student at the school of the ballet master Louis Gallodier, where her instructor was Giovanna Bassi. She became the lead dancer at the school of the Royal Ballet Scool of the Swedish Royal Opera in 1791. Hedda Hjortsberg’s talents gained a lot of acclaim and she was considered to be one of the best dancers at the Royal Ballet, “the best of the Swedish school”. Contemporary accounts referred to her as “the most excellent dancer on the Swedish stage”. In the memoires written by Marianne Ehrenström, a lady-in-waiting and a musician, Hedda Hjortsberg was described as “the darling of the public” and “as gracious as a nymph”. King Gustav III was highly delighted by her character interpretations.
Hedda Hjortsberg’s many roles included that of Lucile in Jean-Rémy Marcadet’s 1791 ballet Det dubbla giftermålet, as Leonore in Louis Deland’s ballet Enleveringen or Rövarebandet and as Diana in Deland’s Diana och kärleken, both performed during the 1800—1801 season. The following season, 1801—1802, Hedda Hjortsberg performed the lead role of Venus in Venus och Adonis or Mars hämnd, again by Deland, and in 1804 she danced the role of Frosine in Dansvurmen by Gardel.
It was the norm for dancers at the Royal Opera to teach dancing in their own homes, and Hedda Hjortsberg was no exception. One of her students was the future author Sophie von Knorring. She taught social dances such as waltzes, anglaise, and quadrilles that were important to master in order to socialise properly.
In 1804 Hedda Hjortsberg married Erik Samuel Koersner, a merchant. That same year she had a daughter named Hedvig. Her husband died shortly after the wedding. Hedda Hjortsberg remained lead dancer until 1806, after which she still reprised the role of Frosine in Dansvurmen when it was produced in 1809. Her then five-year old daughter also performed in one of the roles. In 1810 Hedda Hjortsberg also danced the part of Äran in Gustavs dröm, performed on the occasion of the inauguration of the newly-opened Royal Opera. Hedda Hjortsberg remarried in 1811. Her second husband was Abraham Abrahamsson Hülphers, a mining inspector. They moved to Västerås, where they raised five children. After her second wedding she only performed infrequently as a guest dancer.
Hedda Hjortsberg died in Västerås on 3 October 1867 as a result of a case of appendicitis. She was then 90 years old.