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Anna Pavlova

AKA Anna Matveyevna Pavlova

Born: 12-Feb-1881 [1]
Birthplace: St. Petersburg, Russia
Died: 22-Jan-1931
Location of death: The Hague, Netherlands
Cause of death: Respiratory failure
Remains: Cremated, Novodevichy Cemetery, Moscow, Russia [2]

Gender: Female
Religion: Russian Orthodox
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Dancer

Nationality: Russia
Executive summary: Early 20th century Russian ballerina

Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova was, in her time, the world's most famous dancer. Born to an unwed mother, she never knew her father, but he was widely whispered to have been Russian banking millionaire Lazar Polyakov (1843-1914) — which would help explain how the daughter of a washerwoman gained admittance to the prestigious Imperial Ballet School. Inspired by attending a performance of The Sleeping Beauty, she decided to become a ballerina when she was eight years of age, and through adolescence she practiced more than eight hours daily at the school, where her instructors included the absolute elite of Russian ballet.

She made her professional debut in La Fille Mal Gardée at 17, and launched her first European tour in 1908, when the very notion of a woman headlining a dance tour was considered radical. She became famous worldwide for her seemingly frail but flexible dance style, critically acclaimed as lyrical and groundbreaking, and her performances in Giselle, The Sleeping Beauty, and The Swan were legendary. She also toured in The Dying Swan, a widely-praised duet created and danced by Pavlova and Mikhail Fokine (1880-1942).

She taught dance beginning in her 30s, but continued dancing in tours until a minor train accident exposed her to winter weather in 1931, leading to a cold that developed into a painful cough, which caused serious respiratory problems that took her life within weeks, at the age of 49. Her last words were reported to be, "Get my swan costume ready."

[1] In publicity while she was alive, her birthdate was usually albeit falsely listed as 1883 or 1884.

[2] Her ashes were returned to her homeland in 2001, from the Golders Green Crematorium in north London.

Father: Lazar Polyakov (banker, paternity suspected, b. 1843, d. 1914)
Mother: Lyubov Feodorovna (laundry worker)
Father: Matvey Pavlov (stepfather, soldier, d. 1883)
Husband: Victor D'Andre (French dancer, b. 1870, together from 1911, m. 1924, d. 1944)

    High School: Imperial Ballet School, St. Petersburg, Russia (1899)

    Mariinsky Ballet Dancer (1899-1913)
Died Intestate
    Asteroid Namesake 3055 Annapavlova
    Jewish Ancestry
    Russian Ancestry

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