Anna Pavlova (1881-1931) was the first great ballerina of the Russian school of classical ballet and its first global star. Pavlova made her debut in 1899, while studying at the Imperial Ballet School. Just seven years later she became Mariinsky Theater’s prima ballerina (1906) and embarked on her first tour abroad a year later, in 1907.
1911 marked Pavlova’s move to London where should spend the rest of her life. Here’s something to think about when putting on your Capezio tights and lacing up your Bloch dance shoes: Pavlova was seen by audiences in Brazil, Australia, China, Japan, India, South Africa, Egypt and the United States–all before the advent of air travel!
Some attribute the change in a ballerina’s physical ideal to Pavlova, whose markedly delicate and frail look contrasted starkly with the muscular and compact form which had previously been dominant.
Pavlova died of pleurisy three weeks before her 50th birthday while on tour in The Hague, Netherlands.
As many of us will recall, Pavlova is not only famous for her role in the groundbreaking The Dying Swan, but also for her inspiring the creation of a particular dessert. The dessert pavlova is said to have been invented to honor the ballerina after one of her tours in Australia and New Zealand in the 1920s.