Anna Pavlova – great ballet dancer
Anna Pavlova was a Russian ballet dancer. She is one of the greatest dancers of the XX century. After the First World War, she settled in the UK and toured around the world. In many countries Anna presented the art of ballet for the first time.
Anna Matveyevna Pavlova was born on January 31, 1881 in St. Petersburg, Russian Empire. She was born in a holiday village Ligovo near St. Petersburg. Her mother, Lyubov Fedorovna Pavlova, married Matvey Pavlov, retired soldier of the Preobrazhensky regiment, shortly before the birth of her daughter. Who was the real father of a ballerina is unknown. According to the number of her contemporaries, including her two half-brothers, landowner Lazar Polyakov, one of Moscow’s largest bankers, was the father of Anna Pavlova.
At the age of eight Pavlova attended a performance of The Sleeping Beauty at the Maryinsky Theatre and decided to become a ballerina.
In 1899, after graduating from the Imperial Theatre School, she was accepted into Mariinsky Theatre troupe.
Anna danced roles in classical ballets, including The Nutcracker, Raymonda, La Bayadere, and Giselle. In 1906 she became the leading dancer of the troupe.
In 1907 at a charity evening at the Mariinsky Theatre Pavlova performed choreographic miniature The Swan (later The Dying Swan) for the first time. Later it became one of the symbols of Russian ballet of the XX century.
In 1909 she participated in the Russian Seasons by Sergei Diaghilev in Paris, marked the beginning of her international fame.
Since 1910, Pavlova and her own troupe toured in many countries around the world.
Last ballerina’s performance at the Mariinsky Theatre was in 1913 and in 1914 in Russia. Then she settled in England and didn’t return home.
In 1921-1925 Pavlova toured the United States. American impresario of Russian origin Solomon Yurok was an organizer of the tours.
In 1921 Anna performed in India and won the attention of the Indian public in Delhi, Bombay and Calcutta.
Anna Pavlova died of pneumonia on January 23, 1931 in the Hague, the Netherlands. According to legend, her last words were: “Prepare my swan costume!”
Anna Pavlova and Victor Dandre
The most famous ballerina of the last century, Anna Pavlova, whose life was entirely devoted to the ballet, kept her personal life a secret. Only after her death the world learned about the beautiful and tragic love story, which was being kept in the heart of the legendary ballerina for thirty years.
Newspapers wrote about aspiring ballerina with delight: “Flexible, musical, full of life and fire, amazingly light”.
She had many fans. Men gave her gifts, invited for dinner, but Anna said no and sent back their gifts. She was proud, sensual and unpredictable.
However, she spent her free time with rich handsome Victor Dandre. He came from an aristocratic family, which belonged to an ancient noble family. He was an adviser in the Senate, well educated, spoke several foreign languages and was seriously fond of art.
Young businessman became the patron of the young actress. However, Victor didn’t want to marry her. He rented an apartment for her, met her after performances, and gave luxury gifts.
Pavlova understood that unequal marriage with a modest woman was impossible for him. So, she left him.
She toured with the troupe and danced eight or ten times a week. At that time, there was a meeting that changed life of the famous dancer. The great choreographer Fokine used music by Camille Saint-Saens and choreographed The Dying Swan. Much later, when the composer met Pavlova, he said, “Madame, thanks to you I realized that I wrote a delightful music!”
In 1907, the Mariinsky Theatre went on tour in Stockholm. Anna’s performances had such rapid success that the Emperor Oscar II handed her Order For Services to the art. It was a real triumph. Anna became known and had money.
Meanwhile, Dandre had debts and went to prison, unable to find a large sum of money. The relatives could not collect money, and wealthy friends turned their backs on the unfortunate partner. It was a difficult period of painful waiting behind bars.
Anna was a star in Paris. Sergei Diaghilev invited Pavlova and Vaslav Nijinsky to perform in his Russian Seasons. However, Pavlov suddenly left Paris and moved to London. A few months later, Diaghilev learned that his favorite signed a contract with the famous theatrical agency Braff. According to it she had to dance twice a day, in three countries – England, Scotland, and Ireland. The dancer received a prepayment – an impressive sum.
She immediately sent money to Russia to release Victor from prison. A few days later, in 1911, he left St. Petersburg and went abroad.
“In Paris, I decided that I could not live without Dandre – recalls Pavlova. – We got married in the church in secret. He’s mine, only mine, and I love him. ”
Their marriage remained secret for many years. Victor kept his promise given to Anna on their wedding day. He vowed to keep silent about their union.
When the contract came to an end, Anna decided to organize her own theater. In the same year she bought a luxurious mansion near London. Victor became her accountant and manager. He was responsible for correspondence, organized tours, and watched the costumes and scenery. However, Pavlov expressed dissatisfaction.
He adored her, thanked for the generosity and magnanimity. She could not forget old grievances.