Anna Pavlova

Facts about Anna Pavlova

We found 26 facts about Anna Pavlova

An international prima ballerina

Anna Pavlova is one of the most renowned prima ballerinas. Her persistence and hard work left a mark on the ballet community around the world. To this day, she is considered one of the most famous dancers of all time.
Anna Pavlova
Anna was born on February 12th, 1881 in Sankt Petersburg, Russia.
Her mother, Lyubov Feodorovna, was a laundress. There is a mystery surrounding her fatherhood, however. Since Lyubov was unwed on the day of Anna’s birth, there is no direct confirmation of who her father was. It is rumored that Lyubov had an affair with Lazar Polyakov, a Russian-Jewish banker and entrepreneur, for whom she worked for some time. However, when her mother married her second husband, Matvej Pavlov, he adopted Anna as his own at the age of three.
There is a debate about when Anna started using Pavlova as her last name.
Some sources claim she took it when adopted by her stepfather, and some that she started using it once she joined the Imperial Russian Ballet.
Some sources claim Anna wished to be considered a product of her mother’s early marriage, so she claimed her father was a man named Pavel, who died when she was a toddler.
She claimed he was married to her mother before she married Matvej Pavlov.
She was the first Russian prima ballerina, who gained international fame.
Anna was the first ballerina that performed in Australia, India, and South America.
Anna was fascinated with ballet and dedicated her youth to becoming a ballet dancer.
When she was eight years old, her mother took her to the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg to see The Sleeping Beauty. Little Anna was in awe of the performing ballerinas and decided to dedicate her life to becoming one. With support from her mother, only two years later, Anna was accepted at the Imperial Ballet School in St. Petersburg, and so her road to international fame and career had begun.
She was not only exceptionally talented but ambitious, dedicated, and hardworking.
She claimed that although talent is given by God, hard work transforms it into genius. Anna had to overcome many difficulties, such as exceptionally curved feet, thin ankles, and long limbs, which stood in contrast to the typical body composition of ballerinas.

Because of the shape of her feet, Anna had to add a piece of hard leather on the soles of her pointe shoes to allow her to balance her weight on her toes.
Anna graduated from the St. Petersburg Imperial Ballet School at the age of 18.
The same year, she joined the Imperial Russian Ballet.
Anna was the principal ballerina of the Imperial Russian Ballet.
The Imperial Russian Ballet, currently known as the Kirov Ballet, was founded in the 18th century and is one of the leading ballet companies in the world. She was accepted in 1899, right after graduation from the St. Petersburg Imperial Ballet School. She danced to choreographies created by one of the most influential ballet masters in history—Marius Ivanovich Petipa.
Her debut took place on September 19th, 1899, in La Fille Mal Gardée.
She performed in a group of three at the Mariinsky Theatre, the same place where she fell in love with ballet.
Her breakthrough was a lead solo performance in Michael Fokine’s “The Dying Swan” in 1905.
She danced to the music by Camille Saint-Saëns, a French renowned composer, and a musical prodigy. Anna’s delicate movements and extraordinary facial expression enchanted the audience. Through her performance, Anna gracefully explained the complexity of life.
After her performance in Giselle, she became a prima ballerina in 1906.
It was an extremely difficult performance, especially demanding for a dancer with only seven years of experience.
In 1909, she traveled to Paris and toured with the Ballets Russes.
The Ballets Russes was founded by Sergei Pavlovich Diaghilev in Paris in 1909. For the next 20 years, it performed throughout Europe, and North and South America.

Diaghilev invited Anna after she completed two international tours, during which she performed in European capitals, receiving critical acclaim. With the Ballets Russes, Anna toured Australia, Europe, and North America.
In 1911, Pavlova formed her own ballet company.
Her choreographies were shaped by Marius Petipa’s style, but she also choreographed her own pieces. She toured Europe, South America, North America, Asia, Australia, and New Zealand.
Anna settled at the Ivy House in Golders Green, London, in 1912.
She never returned to Russia, instead lived in England for the rest of her life.
In 1914, she married Victor Dandré, a Duma official, who she met in Paris between 1900 and 1904.
Very soon after they met, Dandré became Anna’s manager. Dandré was responsible for organizing her tours and expanding Pavlova’s troupe from six to sixty dancers.

Their marriage ceremony was kept secret. Pavlova was a very private person, and thus she never confirmed her marriage.
Anna died on January 23rd, 1931 in Hague, Netherlands, at the age of 49.
She died of pleurisy, which was a result of a 12-hour train delay she was forced to wait out in the snow, wearing a set of silk pajamas and a thin jacket. Her original train to Hague had an accident, and passengers were asked to wait on the platform for the next one to arrive.

Anna’s husband wrote that right before her death, she asked to look at her swan costume one last time.
Anna was advised to undergo surgery due to her illness but refused since it would have meant she would not be able to perform any longer.
She decided she would rather die than end her career in such a manner.
Anna’s ashes are stored in a columbarium at Golders Green Crematorium.
Her urn was decorated with a ballet shoe, which was stolen. Currently, the decoration involves a dancing ballerina and a swan.

Dandré’s urn is placed below his wife’s.
During her career, Anna performed over four thousand times.
While on a tour in China, she performed 37 turns atop a moving elephant.
Anna popularized various ethnic dances.
The “Mexican hat dance”, known in Mexico as Jarabe Tapatio, was popularized outside Mexico when Pavlova created a stage version of the dance. It was later proclaimed a national dance of Mexico in 1924.

She also learned and performed Polish, Russian, Indian, and Japanese dances.
She loved animals.
She possessed several cats, including a Siamese can, dogs, birds, and swans.
Anna was known for her charity.
She supported Russian orphans in Paris after World War I. She also bought a house in Paris for 15 girls she supported with her earnings.
Pavlova is considered the inventor of modern pointe shoes.
Although it was considered cheating during her times, her design was incorporated into the production of pointe shoes, allowing dancers with curved feet to perform with ease and less pain.
A meringue-based dessert, pavlova, was named after Anna.
During her tours to Australia and New Zealand in 1920, she asked for a light dessert, and she was served a meringue cake with light cream and fruits. Although there is a dispute about whether pavlova was invented in Australia or New Zealand, New Zealanders claim it their invention with no doubt.
In 1980, Igor Carl Fabergé, a member of the family whose company launched the Fabergé Eggs, licensed a collection of crystal wine glasses in commemoration of the centenary of Pavlova’s birth.
Hungry for more facts?

Latest topics

42 facts about Kyshtym disaster
42 facts about Kyshtym disaster
The first nuclear accident in Earth's history
Before information about it saw the light of day, the Soviets hid it for over 30 years. The explosion at the Mayak combine was the first nuclear accid ...
37 facts about Saint Petersburg
37 facts about Saint Petersburg
A city of many names
It was a dream and a matter of prestige for the Romanov dynasty to gain access to the Baltic Sea and build a metropolis to testify to Russia's emergin ...
32 facts about Peter the Great
32 facts about Peter the Great
The first Emperor of all Russia
Peter the Great is considered one of Russia's greatest rulers. He was a great reformer, strategist, and builder who was the first of the tsars to trav ...
39 facts about Dyatlov Pass incident
39 facts about Dyatlov Pass incident
Mysterious tragedy in the Ural mountains
The case of a group of students at the Ural Polytechnical Institute in Sverdlovsk continues to arouse great interest and raise many questions. A group ...
11 facts about Brooklyn Bridge
11 facts about Brooklyn Bridge
The first steel suspension bridge in the world
It is one of the oldest suspension bridges in the world. It connects Brooklyn with Manhattan, runs over the East River, and was completed in 1883. ...
31 facts about Brazil
31 facts about Brazil
South America's largest country
Brazil is the largest and most populous country in South America and one of the largest and most populous countries in the world. A former Portuguese ...
44 facts about Ghent
44 facts about Ghent
City of three towers
Ghent is one of Belgium's most visited cities by tourists. This beautiful old Flanders city combines dignity, beauty, culture, and creativity. It is a ...
31 facts about Thailand
31 facts about Thailand
A country on the Indochinese Peninsula
Thailand is an Asian country located in its south-eastern part, famous for its interesting culture and religious architecture. This exotic country, wh ...

Similar topics