Picture preview: Anna Pavlova Twentieth Century Ballerina
One of the first dancers from the Imperial Russian Ballet to dance in Western Europe, Anna Pavlova has been awarded near-mythical status as the Prima Ballerina who brought ballet into the 21 Century.
Cut off from her native Russia by the First World War, Pavlova made London her permanent home until her death in 1931. This year marks the centenary of her ownership of Ivy House, the grand Hampstead residence which has since become the London Jewish Cultural Centre.
In celebration of Pavlova’s contribution to ballet, a book of sumptuous images of the dancer has been published with accompanying editorial about her life, Anna Pavlova: Twentieth Century Ballerina by Jane Pritchard with Caroline Hamilton.
Her progression from young ingénue in Giselle to her signature solo, The Dying Swan, is charted in beautiful images which are taken from publicity material as well as stills from early cinematic recordings of the dancer.
In 1916 the Manchester Guardian wrote: "Next to seeing Pavlova in person, there is no better substitute than seeing her through the mechanism of the kinema". She was a beguiling beauty, as a famous in her day as a modern pop star, and absolutely committed to ballet.
The book includes several portraits of Pavlova wearing her swan costume which, according to her costume-maker Madame Manya "she never wore more than twice without the skirts of the tutu being renewed".
The story goes that on her death bed from pneumonia, Pavlova was told that she required an operation that would save her life but leave her unable to dance.
She refused the surgery, saying: "If I can’t dance then I’d rather be dead", passing away three weeks short of her 50 birthday, clutching her costume from The Dying Swan.
Pavlova was an ardent fundraiser in her lifetime. She organised charity performances to aid victims of Russian famine and opened an orphanage for Russian children at St Cloud, Paris in 1920.
Proceeds from the sale of the book will be donated to the student scholarship and bursary programme at The Royal Ballet School, London.
GlastonburyWI to make debut appearance at Somerset festival
TV reviewIt has taken seven episodes for Game of Thrones season five to hit its stride
FilmPalme d'Or goes to radical and astonishing film that turns conventional thinking about immigrants on its head
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Caitlyn Jenner's mother Ester thought her daughter, formerly known as Bruce Jenner, had transitioned for money
- 2 Charles Kennedy 1959-2015: A gifted, compassionate politician whose career was cut short by the 'demon drink' - latest news
- 3 Alton Towers crash: Four seriously injured and 16 guests trapped as Smiler ride carriages collide
- 4 Ann Summers survey reveals the UK's favourite sex position
- 5 Gay teenager 'forced to have sex with his own mother' to 'cure' his homosexuality, campaigners in India say
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination
Migrants in Kos: Photos show real tragedy after Brits abroad complain of 'awkward' holidays
British tourists complain that impoverished boat migrants are making holidays 'awkward' in Kos
Michael Gove determined to scrap the Human Rights Act – even if Scotland retains it
Threat to scrap Human Rights Act could see UK follow Nazi example, warns UN official
Church of England 'one generation away from extinction' after dramatic loss of followers