Anna Pavlova was born on January 31, 1881, in St. Petersburg, Russia. She was born prematurely and was subject to various illness during her short life. Anna’s passion for ballet was ignited when her mother took her to a performance of “The Sleeping Beauty” at the Imperial Maryinsky Theater. When she was nine, her mother took Anna to audition for the Imperial Ballet School. At first rejected, she was accepted at the age of ten — and her career took off. . . . .
Anna became a principal artist of the Imperial Russian Ballet. She is most recognized for her creation of the role of “The Dying Swan.” She toured the world with her unique – amazing – grace and style. But on one gray day – while traveling from Paris to The Hague, Anna became ill – and was diagnosed with pneumonia. A few days later – on January 23, 1931 – she died of pleurisy. She was to have performed a few days later. Yet the show went on. . . .
In accord with old ballet tradition, the show proceeded — with a single spotlight that played across the stage in the spaces that Anna would have graced. Those who attended could visualize the great Anna Pavlova – dancing with the soft strains of the music. And when the performance ended, the audience offered a standing ovation.
Anna’s last words were reported to have been “Get my ‘Swan’ costume ready.” One of her great quotes “No one can arrive from being talented alone. Work transforms talent into genius.” That’s a bit like Thomas Edison’s suggestion that “genius is 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration.” Not bad counsel . . . .