Saturday, February 29, 2020

Anna Pavlova – Ballerina Biography

Anna Pavlova Ballerina Biography Anna Pavlova, a famous Russian ballet dancer best known for changing the ideals for ballet dancers, was the first to make ballet popular in America and the rest of the world. Her love for classical ballet, determination to perform her love for the arts, influences and zest can still be evidently felt. Born on 31 January 1881, in St. Petersburg, Russia, Anna Pavlova was awestruck by the first ballet performance she watched and was intent on becoming a ballerina. Petite Pavlova entered the Imperial Ballet School in 1891 despite not having the preferred body type of a ballerina which was a strong, muscular and compact body. However, she gave the examiners enough confidence that she would work hard and excel. In the later years, Pavlova became one of the most astounding ballerinas. Young Pavlova was a talented and hardworking student. Training years were difficult due to her special physique. She was considered physically weak as she was small and thin coupled with highly arched feet un like the preferred body of a ballerina at that time. Pavlova was fed with cod-liver oil which tasted awful to her in the hope of getting the ideal body. Even so she remained slender. In order to improve faster, Pavlova tried imitating other ballet dancers. However her teacher, Pavel Gerdt taught her to  understand her unique dancing of daintiness and fragility and the importance to dance out those rare qualities. Her zeal for ballet was remarkable; she worked hard to strengthen her weakness and also with what she had instead of trying to be someone else. Her willingness to overcome these obstacles at such a young age is commendable. Soon, Pavlova grew in gracefulness and could stand in a way that her body formed a beautiful line where she was able to bend and twist her torso with ease and grace. Instead of mastering multiple fouettes turns and other technical steps that the muscular Italian style had induced at that time, Pavlova danced poetically and expressively. She stood out.. Finally upon graduation, Pavlova’s hard work paid off – she graduated as a first class dancer. After Pavlova’s school years, she continued training hard to improve her technique and even took extra lessons with different teachers such as Christian Johansson, Madame Sokolova and Nikolai Legat. Pavlova graduated at a time where virtuoso Italian ballerinas and a muscular ballet stylewas popular. Although Pavlova had mastered difficult steps and ballet technique, her highly arched feet were still too weak for the flamboyant pointe work. She experimented with ways to wear her pointe shoes with the hope of maximizing her potential. Through experiments, she discovered that by adding a piece of hard leather to the soles, the shoes provided better support. Many people thought this as cheating because ideally, ballerinas should be able to hold their own weight on their toes. However, her idea enabled her to perform better and allowed her to balance in her arabesque with poised and elegance inflicting less pain and  hence easier to sustain on pointe. In doing so, Pavlova created what is known as our pointe shoes today. Being able to go on pointe with ease and having a beautiful extension, flexible torso and tremendous feminine expressive dancing, Pavlova set a higher aesthetic of beauty in ballet where ballet dancers were able to perform with poise and elegance like a princess. With the recreation of the pointe shoes, there was a demand for brilliant and fancy footwork like jumps, multiple turns and balances and that of ballerinas performing on pointe.

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