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For what the ballerina Pavlova paid the Mariinsky Theater and other little-known facts about the great dancer
For what the ballerina Pavlova paid the Mariinsky Theater and other little-known facts about the great dancer

The true biography of the great Russian ballerina is known only to herself. In her memoirs, Anna Pavlova mainly talks about her greatest inspiration - about ballet, keeping silent about many details of her personal life. So, in her autobiography, there are practically no memories of childhood, parents or frequent visits to the Mariinsky Theater, which instilled in little Anna a love of the stage.

Anna Pavlova - a mixture of talent, perseverance and work

Anna Pavlova as a child

Anya's firm intention to devote her life to ballet arose after watching the premiere of Petipa's The Sleeping Beauty at the age of nine.

From too painful and inconspicuous Pavlova, they did not expect big overthrows. And the fact that this "fragile vessel" will withstand the harsh school of dance at the Imperial Ballet School, many could not imagine.

After the girl was enrolled, she came under the creative tutelage of Ekaterina Vazem and Alexander Oblakov. Later, Alexander Oblakov said:

“No teacher can work a miracle, no years of study will make a good dancer out of a mediocre student. Certain technical skills can be acquired, but no one can ever "acquire exceptional talent."

The eminent teacher did not call Pavlova his student, noting that God was her only teacher.

Difficulties on the way to a dream

Anna Pavlova as "The Dying Swan"

At the beginning of the 20th century, the Italian Pierina Legnani, who was distinguished by a strong physique and well-developed muscles, was considered the standard of ideal ballet forms. Young Anna was so skinny that her classmates at school called her nothing else but a "mop".

Pavlova followed a strict protein diet, drank fish oil and tried to build muscle mass. Pavel Gert, the teacher and choreographer of the Imperial Ballet School, convinced the future prima not to ruin her gentle feminine figure. He was able to discern the true nature of her talent, which was not in the strength of the legs, but in the tenderness of the soul.

The ballerina had to pay a fabulous penalty for breaking the contract with the Mariinsky Theater

Anna Pavlova devoted her whole life to ballet

Biographers of Anna Matveevna call the sum of unstable 21,000 rubles. By the way, the monthly salary, for example, of a high school teacher in those days was 85 rubles.

Many believe that the dancer left her native stage at the Mariinsky Theater for a tour in the United States. If this was the main reason, then it can be called extremely reasonable, because overseas Pavlova was waiting for real success.

Legendary American producer Sol Hurok called Anna Pavlova's New York debut the day of the birth of American ballet.

Love carried through the years

Despite her brilliant success on the stages of the world's most prestigious theaters, Anna Pavlova was deeply unhappy in matters of the heart. At the dawn of her career, the ballerina refused to persistent fans, but behind the scenes there was gossip about her close relationship with Victor Dandre.

Anna Pavlova and Victor Dandre

The aristocrat was so fascinated by the girl's inaccessible beauty that he earned the right to call himself Pavlova's patron. Dandre's high position did not allow them to take their relationship to a serious level. Their sympathy was obvious, but Pavlova understood that she could not and did not want to become the wife of a representative of the highest. Between the golden cage and freedom, the ballerina chose the latter.

Anna Pavlova and Mikhail Fokin in the production of "Harlequinade"

But Anna did not have to live long without support: the director of her main dance, Mikhail Fokin, appeared in her life. It was he who directed "The Dying Swan" for Pavlova. The choreographer breathed new life into the dancer and became one of the few confidants of the woman.

Anna Pavlova and Charlie Chaplin had a close friendship

The restoration of the prima at the Mariinsky Theater happened after she met the French composer Camille Saint-Saens and the actor Chaplin during a foreign tour. Pavlova began a platonic romance with both men, which soon grew into a strong friendship.

International fame brought Anna Matveevna a lot, but she still dreamed of simple female happiness. Her feelings inevitably returned to her homeland, or rather, to Victor Dandra.

When the aristocrat was imprisoned for non-payment of debts, Pavlova signed a lucrative contract with the foreign agency Braff. The ballerina paid off the debts of her former lover and transported him to Paris. Some sources claim that the couple secretly got married in 1911.

Anna and Victor lived together until the very death of the ballerina

Later, Pavlova settled in a luxurious mansion in England, where she founded her own troupe and became the owner of a chamber theater in London. Since her husband was engaged in all household chores, Anna could devote herself to creativity.

Over time, the ballerina's feelings for Dandra faded away. Almost every day of their life together was overshadowed by scandals with breaking dishes and tears of a woman. Victor remained calm during the dancer's tantrums, as he was sincerely grateful and in love with Anna. He carried his feelings until the sudden death of Pavlova in 1931, and then poured it into the text, writing several books about his life with the great Russian ballerina.

Anna Pavlova and her exotic pets

Setting up in cold London, Pavlova tried to establish real comfort there, so she set up a real menagerie. In addition to her favorite cats and dogs, the mansion was inhabited by tame pigeons, flamingos, peacocks, swans and other exotic birds.

Great ballerina with her beloved pet

One of Pavlova's favorites was a snow-white mute swan named Jack. Only the mistress of the bird allowed herself to be taken in her arms, fed with bread from her hands and happily posed with Pavlova in the lens of photographers.

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