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Anna Pavlova


Anna Pavlova

Anna Pavlova

Photo © Flickr user Alexeitje


The world will forever remember the Russian ballerina, Anna Pavlova, who brought a more traditional feel to classical ballet. Anna was born in St. Petersburg in 1881. She was a tiny baby, born two months premature. Her mother was a laundress; her father died at a very young age, when Anna was only two years old.

Inspiration to dance:

On her ninth birthday, Anna's mother treated her to a performance of The Sleeping Beauty, a ballet that forever changed Anna's life. She decided then that she would one day dance on stage. She began taking ballet lessons and was quickly accepted into the Imperial Ballet School.

Ballet style:

Anna was not a typical ballerina of her day. At only five-feet-tall, she was delicate and slender, unlike most of the students in her classes. She was exceptionally strong and had perfect balance. Anna possessed many unique talents. She soon became a prima ballerina.

Dancing around the globe:

Anna formed her own ballet company and went on tour, introducing her classical style of ballet to the world. She visited several countries, traveling over 500,000 miles by boat and train. She gave over 4,000 performances.

Dancing in America:

America loved Anna and ballet lessons soon became popular for little girls across the country. She soon became known as the "Sublime Pavlova." She toured for the rest of her life, keeping a home in London. She had a love for exotic pets, several of which kept her company when she was at home.

The pointe shoe:

Anna was known to have had very arched feet, which made it hard to dance on the tips of her toes. She discovered that by adding a piece of hard leather to the soles, the shoes provided better support. Many people thought of this as cheating, as a ballerina should be able to hold her own weight on her toes. However, her idea was the precursor to the modern pointe shoe.


Anna never retired from dancing. In 1931, she became ill while rehearsing for a performance in Europe, but refused to rest. A few days later, she collapsed with pneumonia. She died within a week of her 50th birthday.

Inspiration to others:

Anna Pavlova believed that dancing was her gift to the world. She felt that God had given her the gift of dance to delight others. She often said that she was "haunted by the need to dance." She became an inspiration to young boys and girls to learn how to dance and experience the joys of ballet.

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