Russian ballerina, Anna Pavlova was in her time—and is perhaps even now—the most famous dancer in the world. Pavlova carried on long, globe-covering tours, creating new ballet audiences everywhere.
Born Jan 31. 1881, St. Petersburg, Russia - died Jan 23. 1931, The Hague, Netherlands.
For some time she kept secret her marriage to her manager, Victor Dandré, and there were no children;
her maternal instincts spent themselves on her company and on a home for Russian refugee orphans, which she founded in Paris in 1920.
She loved birds and animals, and her home in London, Ivy House, Hampstead, became famous for the ornamental lake with swans, beside which she was photographed and filmed.
With her swans at Ivy House - video :
(Anna Pavlova directs her young pupils during a ballet lesson at her home, Ivy House, in Hampstead, London, UK, in 1912.)
The home and studio of Anna Pavlova, the legendary ballerina of the 20th Century
It was in this room that she did class, rehearsed and taught with many of the stars of the day.
On a cold December night in 1930, while en route to the Netherlands, the train on which Anna Pavlova was travelling broke down, standing her in the cold for hours. She caught a chill, which developed into pneumonia and then pleurisy.
For the first time in her career, Anna Pavlova cancelled a show.
Her condition deteriorated rapidly.
She needed an operation. She was also told that she would never be able to dance again if she had this operation. She refused to have the operation saying "If I can't dance then I'd rather be dead." Three weeks later she died of pleurisy, three weeks short of her 50th birthday.
On her death bed made the request: "Prepare my swan costume."
She was holding her costume from "The Dying Swan" when she spoke her last words, "Play the last measure very softly." Her death came in the "Hotel Des Indes" in The Hague, which shows a plaque on the wall and a Cigar Lounge named the Anna Pavlova Library in her memory.
In accordance with old ballet tradition, on the next night , the company performed as usual. When it came time for "The Dying Swan", the curtain opened on an empty stage with a single spotlight circling where she would have been.
During her lifetime Pavlova inspired thousands of young dancers and had probably done more to bring ballet to the world than any other single dancer before or since.
Memorial services were held in the Russian Orthodox Church in London.
Anna Pavlova was cremated, and her ashes placed in a columbarium at Golders Green Crematorium, where her urn was subsequently adorned with her ballet shoes (which since then have been stolen).
Urn of Anna Pavlova
Interesting and beautiful video : Natalia Makarova and Sir Frederick Ashton discuss Anna Pavlova : photos and clips of dancing Anna Pavlova here :