Friday, November 7, 2008

Friday Mieography

I know a few little ballerina's, and the season for the Nutcracker will be soon among us, so I chose a dancer this week.
Meet Anna Pavlova. She was born in St. Petersburg, Russia, the daughter of a washerwoman, and questionable paternal parentage. Her mother did remarry, and she was adopted by her step father. Her mother ook her at a young age, to the Maryinsky Theater to see Sleeping Beauty danced, and after that she would have no other profession. Her mother asked her if she wanted to dance on the stage with them, and she answered "No I would rather be dancing there alone, like the sweet Princess". (Meaning, she wanted the lead role.)
Her mother took her at age eight to audition to be trained, and she was rejected because of her "sickly" appearance. She was a tall, leggy, girl, and ballerina's at that time were smaller, and more compact. She kept trying though, and at age 10 she was admitted to the ballet academy in St. Petersburg. At that time, entering an academy meant that you lived there, and they took on all the financial responsibilities for the child's upbringing.
It was difficult at first, she went through many painful, daily lessons, and pushed herself hard to learn everything in the academy. As her talent increased, her teachers noticed her more. Some took her under their wing, some did not like her, because her physique was so different from what was the norm of that ballet era. None the less, when she graduated, she was selected to join the Imperial Ballet at the Maryinsky Theater, and, she did not have to be in the 'corps de ballet' where everyone started, she was immediately given the title coryphee.In 1899 she made her debut, and by the season of 1905, she was a prima ballerina. She began. She began touring, at first in just Russia, then, eventually the rest of Europe, and Scandinavia. It was during this time that a famous solo was choreographed for her, "The Swan". It went on to become her signature dance. THe picture above is from that dance, the "dying swan" part... She eventually went on to dance in the United States as well.
She had a lover, by this time as well, and he was accused of embezzlement of government money. He escaped Russia to England and they settled permanently in London. She rented a house, and it was the base for her world tours. She made her own company, and traveled, doing almost 2 decades of uninterrupted touring. In 1931, near 50 years old, she was involved in a minor railway accident during her travels. She got out to inspect what was going on, in cold weather, and a few weeks later developed pneumonia, and died. As she died, she held her swan costume, and it is said her last words were "play the last measure softly". She was touring Holland at the time. As is tradition, when a ballerina dies, at her scheduled performance that night, everyone danced, and a single spotlight moved around the stage, where she would have been. She was cremated, and her urn is adorned with ballet slippers, and in London, at a cemetary near the home she'd owned since leaving Russia.


sybil law said...

I love the spotlight.
(I know I use that word all the time but it's fairly self explanatory and succinct! :)

Eaton Bennett aka Berenice Albrecht said...

I didn't know how she died, sad end for such a talented woman. Glad I read this. Also, I've come visiting to tag you. Seven Bookish Things About Me. If you feel like playing, come by my blog and pick up the details...just watch out for the Koalas, they've been eating vegemite sandwiches again and forgot where they left the Ute. :)

Jo Beaufoix said...

Beautiful Mie. I've never seen a live ballet but hope to take Miss E soon. I think she'd love it.

Daryl said...

Lovely .. another wonderful woman I thought I 'knew' til I read your mieography