Anna Pavlova

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Anna Matveyevna Pavlova
Анна Павловна (Матвеевна) Павлова
BirthplaceLigovo, Saint Petersburg, Russian Empire

Pavlova, Anna Pavlovna


(also Anna Matveevna Pavlova). Born Jan. 31 (Feb. 12), 1881, in St. Petersburg; died Jan. 23, 1931, in The Hague. Russian ballerina. Daughter of a soldier and a laundress.

In 1899, Pavlova graduated from the St. Petersburg Theatrical School, where she had studied in the class of P. A. Gerdt. That same year she was accepted by the Mariinskii Theater, and in 1906 she was given the title of prima ballerina. In 1910, Pavlova left the company and went on tour. Her last performance at the Mariinskii Theater was in 1913 in the role of Nikia in Minkus’ ballet La Bayadère. Her last appearance on tour in Russia was in 1914 at a concert in the Theater of Mirrors in the Hermitage Park in Moscow.

Pavlova was an outstanding classical dancer. Her artistry formed amid the development of Russian ballet at the beginning of the 20th century. In turn, Pavlova influenced the further development of Russian ballet and established its fame outside the homeland. She was noted for the musicality and psychological depth of her dancing and her ability to impart emotion to a variety of roles.

Outstanding in Pavlova’s repertoire were the tragic role of Nikia (1902) and the poetic role of Giselle (1903) in Adam’s ballet of the same name. She was also famous for roles in which the classical dance is based on ethnic dances, for example, Paquita in Deldevez’ ballet of the same name and Kitri in Minkus’ Don Quixote.

Pavlova’s dancing greatly influenced the choreographic innovations of M. M. Fokine. She danced the principal role in the premiere of the following ballets staged by Fokine: Rubinstein’s The Vine, Shcherbachev’s Eunice, Chopiniana (with music by Chopin), Cherepnin’s Le Pavillon D’Armide, and Arenskii’s Une Nuit d Egypte. It was for Pavlova that Fokine choreographed the concert number The Swan to music by Saint-Saëns (later known as The Dying Swan, 1907).

Pavlova first appeared abroad in 1908. In the following year she joined the Russian Seasons in Paris, and in 1910 she founded her own company, with which she toured Europe, the Americas, and Asia.


“Neskol’ko stranichek iz moei zhizni.” Solntse Rossii, 1912, no. 23.


Dandré, V. Anna Pavlova. Berlin, 1933.
Anna Pavlova: 1881–1931 (collection of reminiscences). Introduction and notes by E. Ia. Surits. Moscow, 1956. (Translated from English.)
Krasovskaia, V. Anna Pavlova. [Leningrad-Moscow, 1964.]
Stier, T. With Pavlova Round the World. Leningrad, 1927.
Pavlova. Edited by P. D. Magriel. New York, 1947.
Algeranoff, H. My Years With Pavlova. London, 1957.