Anna Pavlova

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Anna Pavlovna (Matveïevna) Pavlova (Russian: А́нна Па́вловна (Матве́евна) Па́влова) (16 February 1882 [O.S. 31 January]–23 January 1931) was a Russian ballerina of the late 19th and the early 20th century.

She is widely regarded as one of the finest classical ballet dancers in history and was most noted as a principal artist of the Imperial Russian Ballet and the Ballets Russes of Serge Diaghilev. Pavlova is most recognised for the creation of the rôle The Dying Swan and, with her own company, would become the first ballerina to tour ballet around the world.


Personal life and career

Pavlova was born prematurely on [O.S. 16 February] 1882, in Ligovo, a suburb (now neighborhood) of Saint Petersburg, then the capital of the Russian Empire. Her mother was a laundress named Lyubov Feodorvna . The identity of her father has been open to debate. She later claimed her father (who was of possible Jewish origin)[1][2] had died when she was two years old. Some sources, including The Saint Petersburg Gazette, have claimed that her illegitimate father was the banker Lazarus Solomonovich Polyakov.[3] Her mother's second husband, Matvey Pavlov, is believed to have adopted her at the age of three, by which she acquired her last name.

Pavlovas passion for the art of ballet was realized when her mother took her to a performance of Marius Petipa's original production of The Sleeping Beauty at the Imperial Maryinsky Theater. The lavish spectacle made an impression on the young Pavlova, and at the age of eight her mother took her to audition for the renowned Imperial Ballet School. She was not chosen due to her age and for what was considered to be a "sickly" appearance, but she was finally accepted at the age of ten in 1891. She appeared for the first time on stage in Marius Petipa's Un conte de fées (A Fairy Tale), which the ballet master staged for the students of the school.

The young Pavlova's years of training were difficult, as classical ballet did not come easily to her. Her severely arched feet, thin ankles, and long limbs clashed with the small and compact body in favor for the ballerina at the time. Her fellow students taunted her with such nicknames The Broom and La petite sauvage. Undeterred, Pavlova trained to improve her technique. She took extra lessons from the noted teachers of the day — Christian Johansson, Pavel Gerdt and Nikolai Legat. In 1898 she entered the classe de perfection of Ekaterina Vazem, former Prima ballerina of the Saint Petersburg Imperial Theatres.

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