Fanny Elssler (fä´nē ĕl´slər), 1810–84, Austrian dancer. The youngest daughter of Johann Elssler, copyist and valet of Haydn, she made her debut (1833) in London. She danced at the Paris Opéra (1834–39) and in London (1838–40). Her forte was folk dancing, especially of the cachucha, the cracovienne, and the tarantella. She toured (1840–42) the United States and after appearances throughout Europe retired in 1851. She was one of the most important ballerinas of the Romantic era; her dancing was sensuous, earthy, and fired by great energy. Her sister, Thérèse, often supported her as partner.