Svenskt kvinnobiografiskt lexikon

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Leonne Julie Alix de la Faye


Dancer, dancing teacher

Julie Alix de la Faye was a dancer, for instance with the Royal Swedish Opera in Stockholm.

Julie Alix de la Faye was a member of the Bournonville family, which has become one of the most well-known families of the ballet world. She was the eldest of five siblings, although some sources note there were only four. Julie Alix de la Faye was born in Brussels, Belgium, where her father François Amable Louis Bournonville and her mother Jeanne were temporarily living. Her parents were French and members of a renowned theatre troupe, which was led by Charles Favart, at the time a famous author of comedies. As was the norm, the children followed in their parents’ footsteps and continued in the same trade. Favart apparently went bankrupt. When the “Meeus ladies”, who owned the theatre where the company performed, sought the payment of his debts, Moritz von Sachsen delivered an arrest warrant for Favart, leading to Favart’s disappearance. In all likelihood none of the company members’ salaries had been paid. It remains a mystery as to where the Bournonville family went at that point.

Being a member of a theatrical family entailed a lot of travelling and working in different places at various royal courts across Europe. The Bournonville family came to Lyon and in May 1760 Julie Alix de la Faye’s brother Antoine was born there. At that point their father had disappeared. Whether he ever returned to Lyon or whether the family only reunited later in Vienna remains unclear. Nevertheless, the family arrived in Vienna in the mid-1760s and that was where Julie Alix de la Faye’s career began. The family expanded once again to include her brother Wilhelm, who later sadly died of pulmonary tuberculosis just aged 10, and her sister Ursula. Jean Georges Noverre also arrived in Vienna in 1767. It is not known whether Julie Alix de la Faye worked in his theatre troupe, but her brother Antoine was a student of Noverre’s and danced in many of the children’s ballets which Noverre staged.

Julie Alix de la Faye made her debut in the ballet La Ciaconne, which was choreographed by Jean Dupré in Vienna in 1765. Three years later she appeared as Mother Russia in a ballet performed in honour of Katarina II in St Petersburg in November 1768. This ballet had been created by Angiolini who disagreed with Noverre about how to present a ballet that told a story.

From 1772 to 1781 Julie Alix de la Faye lived and worked with her family in Cassel. She often danced lead roles. Her brother Antoine travelled first to Paris, and then on to London, where their sister Ursula also followed. The following year the siblings came together in Stockholm and signed up as part of King Gustav III’s ensemble. A new theatre was to be opened on 30 September 1782 at which the first performance was to be Naumann’s opera Cora och Alonzo. Julie Alix de la Faye would eventually dance in that opera for her final performance on 12 February 1798. Her mother, meanwhile, remained in Cassel but visited Stockholm on several occasions.

On 28 December 1782 Julie Alix de la Faye became engaged to the French dentist Claude Alix de la Faye who was also employed at the Swedish court. They married the following year at Chapelle de France, which was the Catholic congregation in Stockholm. That same year her sister Ursula married Joseph Avon dit Raymond, who was the second dancer at the Royal Opera and dance master at Karlberg Krigsakademi (military academy). He too was of French origins.

Three years before Julie Alix de la Faye ceased being the lead dancer she received a guarantee that she would be awarded a lifelong pension if she remained with the theatre as a teacher at their school.

Julie Alix de la Faye had one son, Charles Felicien Pascal, who was born in 1783. He later left Sweden.

Julie Alix de la Faye died in Stockholm in 1826.

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:

Leonne Julie Alix de la Faye,, Svenskt kvinnobiografiskt lexikon (article by Cecilia Malmström Olsson), retrieved 2024-06-24.

Other Names

    Maiden name: Bournonville

Family Relationships

Civil Status: Widow
  • Mother: Jeanne Evrard
  • Father: François Amable Louis Bournonville
  • Brother: Antoine Bournonville
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  • Yrkesutbildning, : Dansundervisning, troligtvis av föräldrarna


  • Profession: Dansare, Wien, Österrike, 1772–1781 Kassel, Tyskland, 1782–1798 premiärdansös, Kongl. Operan, Stockholm
  • Profession: Danslärare, Kongl. Operans elevskola


  • Colleague: Jean Dupré


  • Birthplace: Bryssel, Belgien
  • Bryssel, Belgien
  • Lyon, Frankrike
more ...