Antonia Franceschi

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Antonia Franceschi
Born (1960-03-30) March 30, 1960 (age 59)
Occupationdancer, choreographer
Known forFame

Antonia Franceschi is an American actor and choreographer known for her performances in the film musicals Fame and Grease.

Early life[edit]

Franceschi grew up in the American Midwest. Her parents divorced when she was eight years old, and she moved with her mother to Manhattan. She joined a gang for protection; she also studied ballet and began working in the theatre by the age of eleven. She studied under Margaret Craske and attended the High School of Performing Arts in Manhattan.[1]


Franceschi was cast as a dancer in the 1978 film Grease. She was too young to work legally, but the film producers arranged for a falsified birth certificate. She was expelled from the High School of Performing Arts for her role in Grease, and she enrolled in the American Ballet Theatre School, funded by her earnings from the film.[2]

She went on to play Hilary van Doren, a ballet student from a wealthy background, in the 1980 film Fame, set at the same High School of Performing Arts that Franceschi had attended in real life.[1][2] Following this brief film career, she focused on more traditional ballet performance, working under George Balanchine at the New York City Ballet for eleven years, performing works created for her by Jerome Robbins and Lar Lubovitch.[1] She has performed in about fifty of Balanchine's works.[3]

She moved to London in 1995, where she has continued to work as a dancer and choreographer with Ballet Black and the Scottish Ballet, among other organizations.[1][2]

In 2002, Franceschi developed Up From the Waste, a semi-autobiographical account of her difficult childhood, addressing gangs, drugs, harassment, rape, and murder. It shows her eventual escape through dance, but reflects earlier trauma's in the dance world's demanding environment, including disordered eating, emotional abuse and sexual predation.[4] In 2005, Ballet Black premiered Franceschi's piece Shift, Trip, Catch.[5] She has described the theme of the work as "You can shift if you’re in a relationship, and hopefully they’ll catch you."[3] Reviewers noted the work for "[flexing] its emotional muscle, with a crackle of combative dance"[6] and its "bold all-American punch."[7] Her 2009 piece Kinderszenen is set to the musical work “Childhood Scenes” by composer Allen Shawn; reviewers noted its "lively moments"[8] and "clever transitions, the fluid relationship between classical steps and the score."[9] Also in 2009 was the launch of her multimedia work Pop8, which encompassed music, film, and dance to portray the rhythms of urban life on a small stage.[10][11]

Franceschi became the director of a small dance company, Just Dance, and directed its premiere performance in July 2015.[3]

Personal life[edit]

Franceschi has a son.[1]


As choreographer[edit]

  • Up from the Waste, 2002[12]
  • Shift, Trip, Catch, 2005[13]
  • Kinderszenen, 2009[8][9]
  • Pop8, 2009 [multimedia][10][1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Winship, Lyndsey (2009-07-02). "The kid from 'Fame'; Antonia Franceschi might never have learned how to fly, but after her early days in 'Fame' she's found contentment in Camden". TimeOut. Retrieved 2019-04-01.
  2. ^ a b c Apter, Kelly (2004-11-21). "A real taste of Fame for classical ballet". Sunday Times. Retrieved 2019-04-01.
  3. ^ a b c Hutera, Donald (2015-07-12). "Just Dance - Hitting the Moment". The Winchester Guide. Retrieved 2019-04-02.
  4. ^ Roy, Sanjay (Spring 2003). "Up from the Waste". Dance Now. 12 (1): 80–82 – via International Bibliography of Theatre & Dance with Full Text.
  5. ^ Newman, Barbara (2005-10-11). "Daft energy that makes our heads spin". The Daily Telegraph.
  6. ^ Mackrell, Judith (2007-02-07). "Ballet Black Linbury, London 3/5". Guardian. p. 42 [Review Pages].
  7. ^ Robertson, Allen (2007-02-07). "Ballet Black". The Times. p. 22.
  8. ^ a b Anderson, Zoe (2009-02-26). "First Night: Ballet Black, Linbury Studio Theatre, London". The Independent. Retrieved 2019-04-01.
  9. ^ a b Seibert, Brian (2014-04-16). "Ballet NY at Ailey Citigroup Theater". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-04-01.
  10. ^ a b Mackrell, Judith (2009-07-24). "Dance preview: Pop8, London". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2019-04-01.
  11. ^ "Antonia Franceschi Q&A". LondonDance. 2009-12-08. Retrieved 2019-04-02.
  12. ^ Craine, Debra (2002-11-30). "Up From The Waste". The Times. p. 23.
  13. ^ Roebuck, Gavin. "Ballet Black review at Linbury Studio Royal Opera House London | Review | Dance". The Stage. Retrieved 2019-04-01.