Anna Pavlova and the Dying Swan Drama

Topics: Ballet, Anna Pavlova, Michel Fokine Pages: 5 (1798 words) Published: March 10, 2013
Anna Pavlova And The Dying Swan Drama Essay
A couple years ago I used to think that ballet was boring. I did not understand ballet as an art and did not recognize its classical and modern types. Dances like hip-hop, samba, rumba, cha-cha, tango, and disco appealed to me more. Once I tried ballet myself in the U.S., I realized that most of the great dancers learned ballet for a lengthy amount of time. I decided to take ballet classes and after a year I realized that ballet brings me indescribable joy and appeasement. I became interested in learning more about ballet itself and its famous dancers. One of such a dancer was Anna Pavlova, whose life story I am determined to tell. It is important to note Anna Pavlova’s childhood and early ballet career in Russia, her debut in The Dying Swan, emigration to Europe, performances around the world, marriage, and death. Childhood and early career:

Anna Pavlova was born in St. Petersburg, Russia on a cold winter day of February 12, 1881. According to a New York Times article, when Anna was eight years old, her mother took her to a performance of “The Sleeping Beauty”. There, Anna experienced an epiphany, a baptism by ballet. From that day she knew, ballet was her future. At the age of ten, Anna Pavlova was admitted to the Imperial School of Ballet. Shortly after her acceptance to the Imperial School of Ballet, the exceptional gift of dancing was noticed in Anna Pavlova (Kent, 1996). At that time ballet was considered a court luxury and was one of the favorite entertainments of the late Czar. He would often visit the school to admire the little dancers, talking to them and sometimes telling jokes (Anna Pavlova Dies…,1996). In 1902 after her graduation from the Imperial School of Ballet, Anna Pavlova joined the Maryinsky Theater as a second soloist, and in the following year was promoted to a first soloist (“The Legendary”, n.d.). Alexander Pleshcheyev, an author of the book “Our Ballet” where he studied Petersburg Imperial Ballet Company, wrote about Anna Pavlova: “I recall the frail, slender, tall and lithe figure of a young, shy girl, with confused, deep eyes, in a dress of cornflower blue with a white pelerine and black pinafore -on holidays a white pinafore - but always with a quite starched skirt for magnificence . .. This was the student of the Imperial Theater School in Petersburg Anya . . . Annushka ... (as her friends called her) Pavlova, whose appearance was awaited on the stage of the Maryinsky Theater, where she was known on affiches as Pavlova II ... Timid, trembling, lovely, like a wildflower, Pavlova II as a dancer just beginning subdued the public with her grace and tenderness. One sensed no physical exertion in her, and in those days, after the triumph on the Russian stage of Italian technical subtleties, every artist who appeared on stage was evaluated above all on technical abilities.” Anna Pavlova had a favorite teacher and a mentor that was Enrico Cecchetti, an Italian dancer and a teacher who immigrated to St. Petersburg in his early age. Cecchetti taught at the Imperial School of Ballet from 1887 to 1902. In 1905 he established a school in St. Petersburg where he coached Anna Pavlova exclusively from 1907 to 1909 (“Cecchetti, the teacher”, n.d.). With Cecchetti’s help, Anna Pavlova was promoted to ballerina in 1905, and prima ballerina in 1906 (“The Legendary”, n.d.). The Dying Swan:

In 1905 Anna Pavlova, already a prominent ballerina, received an offer from a choreographer Michael Fokine to take the leading part in the ballet The Dying Swan to music by Saint-Saens. Later The Dying Swan became her signature solo performance and a swan symbolized with her as a personal emblem (Kent, 1996). The author, Allegra Kent, in her article argued that a woman imitating a swan is an absurd idea since the body parts do not match and the bird can be graceful only when it swims. The black and webbed swan’s feet, with its shaky movements do not resemble the graceful and...
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