Anna Pavlova - Two Biographies

Anna Pavlova was born on January 31, 1881, in St. Petersburg, Russia, the daughter of Lyubov Feodorovna, a washerwoman. Her father's identity is not known. When Anna was very small, her mother married reserve soldier Matvey Pavlov, who died when Anna was two years old. She and her mother were very poor, and they spent the summers with Anna's grandmother. According to Pavlova, she wanted to be a dancer from the age of eight, when she attended a performance of The Sleeping Beauty at the Maryinsky Theatre. Two years later she was accepted as a student at St. Petersburg's Imperial Ballet School. This school for classical dancers offered its students lifelong material protection; the czar (the ruler of Russia) Alexander III (1845–1894) was its main supporter. In return, the school demanded complete physical dedication.

Although the young Pavlova was considered frail and not exactly beautiful, she was nevertheless very supple (able to bend and twist with ease and grace). Her talents impressed ballet master Marius Petipa, who was to become her favorite teacher. Pavlova also learned from other famous Maryinsky teachers and choreographers (those who create and arrange dance performances) such as Christian Johanssen, Pavel Gerdt, and Enrico Cecchetti, who provided her with a classical foundation based on ballet tradition. Pavlova made her company debut at the Maryinsky in September 1899. Competition among dancers was intense, but Anna Pavlova soon attracted attention with the poetic and expressive quality of her performances.

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Anna Pavlova was in her time and even today, the most famous ballet dancer in the world. Pavlova was also the first person to make ballet popular in the United States and her influence is felt to this day.

Pavlova was born on January 31, 1882, in St. Petersburg. She was an illegitimate daughter of a laundry-woman and her father was a Jewish reserve soldier and a businessman, whom Pavlova never knew.

According to Pavlova, she cared to be nothing else but a dancer from the age of eight, when she attended a performance of The Sleeping Beauty at the Maryinsky Theater. Two years later, Anna entered the Imperial Ballet School at ten. Pavlova worked very hard there and upon her graduation began to perform at the Maryinsky Theatre in 1899.

Mikhail Fokine choreographed the "Dying Swan" for her with music from Saint-Saen's "Carnival of the Animals." It became her trademark. In 1907, she began her first tour, to Moscow, and by 1910 was appearing at the Metropolitan Opera House in America.

Anna Pavlova created her own company with eight dancers from St. Petersburg in 1910. Touring around the world, Pavlova extended her dance company with English dancers and in 1913 she toured in the United States. In 1914, she was traveling through Germany on her way to England when Germany declared war on Russia, her connection to Russia was for all intents broken. For the rest of her life, she toured the world with her own company-a total of 4000 performances and 300,000 miles.

Pavlova kept a home in London, where her exotic pets were constant company when she was there. Victor Dandré, her manager, was also her companion, and may have been her husband (she kept this a mystery). ...


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