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Nadezhda

Anna Pavlova - a woman for all times

19 posts in this topic

Hi!

I posted this here, because it seems to me, that most people stop at this forum.

Now, my question is, do you know of any good web-sites, that include Anna Pavlova's biograpy and stuff like that? If you know any books, that refer to this theme I'll be glad to see them here.

So, if you do, please post them.

Nadezhda

P.S. If I don't stop by please all, accept my greeting: I wish you all best in the fast coming new Millenium and happy and merry Christmas.

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The best Pavlova book I've come across is a huge coffee-table item by Keith Money called, reasonably enough, Pavlova. It has its longuers -- the amount of touring Pavlova did was stupefying and sometimes it's slightly stupefying to read about it -- but the photographs alone are worth the price of the book. She was an extraordinary camera subject, never the same picture twice. (Note the many retouched pointes.) Money has a tendency to whitewash a little, as he loves Pavlova and wants us to love her, too. Agnes de Mille saw Pavlova when the former was very young and the latter nearing the end, and de Mille gives an interesting account of Pavlova in the first volume of her autobiography. I understand there's a book about Pavlova with commentary by Marianne Moore, which I'd love to see, but I haven't encountered it yet.

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I'd second dirac's recommendation of Keith Money's book about Pavlova. He writes as though he saw her; there's no sense that this is a "history" book. It's HUGE with, as dirac mentioned, lots and lots of pictures.

One thing I learned from the book is a sense of what the repertory was like during Petipa's time from a dancer's point of view. He goes through Pavlova's career, solo by solo, as she was "coming up" and points out why Petipa would have given her this role at this time. How he knows this, I have no idea, but it sounds absolutely credible.

I don't know of any websites with material about her, Nadezhda, but you might try doing a search in one of the search engines -- www.yahoo.com, or www.excite.com -- and see what you turn up.

(I would say that if DeMille saw Pavlova at the end of her career, I'm not sure her view should be taken as gospel. Most dancers aren't quite at their best in their late 40s, and Pavlova had performed so much, it must have taken its toll. I'm sure people who only saw Nureyev in the last five years of his life have a very different impression from those who saw him as a boy.)

Alexandra

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I was also very interested in Money's account of Pavlova's dealings with Diaghilev -- I think it was a real misfortune for both parties when they could not agree. De Mille does say that Pavlova's technique was sadly deteriorated; she also says that her effects were magical anyway. (Apparently Nijinsky also danced, but he made no special impression!) Money makes the point early on, however, that technique and raw power were never Pavlova's strongest points; Kschessinskaya is quoted as saying something like, "poor little thing,she can hardly stand on pointe." It must have been a shock when the "poor little thing" tore the house down in La Bayadere.

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Danilova also writes about Pavlova in her autobiography, and said that technique was never an issue with Pavlova, but that she had some special magic when she performed. I don't have the book in front of me but she goes into a little bit more detail.

Dale

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Ah, Kchessinska. Now *there's* an unbiased observer for you! I love her memoires. They're bursting with raw ego coated with the thinnest veneer of civility.

Re DeMille's not noticing Nijinsky, supposedly he often did not dance on the American tours, because of his illness, and they never announced the cast change. So let's hope she saw someone else.

On Pavlova's technique, I've often wondered if she wss not, in this respect, like Fonteyn. There are the dancers who shove their techniques in your face, and there are the (much, much rarer) ones who don't have to show you everything they can do in every role. Pavlova, in the few films we have, was definitely someone who "became" the character she was dancing (even if her character was a poppy) and the technique is so much a part of her dancing that it's simply not obvious.

When I started reading about ballet (mid-1970s) the two things I read most often about Pavlova set my teeth on edge even then, and they were, "Any girl in the corps de ballet today could dance rings around her" and "She had the most terrible taste. She left Diaghilev because his works were too modern. Can you imagine? She thought the finest choreography ever devised was the grand pas de deux from Sleeping Beauty."

Yes. Imagine that.

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now this isn't exactly a printed memoir but it has stayed in mind like almost nothing else about her. there was a documentary made about ruth page called 'ruth page - an american original' some time in about 1979. in that documentary miss page, who danced with anna pavlova's company when she was about 15, says that she was originally taken to a theater in indianapolis to see pavlova's company and that because her father was a friend of the theater manager's, she was taken backstage to say hello to her. according to her, when they were ushered into her dressing room (i take this to mean her and her mother), (almost verbatim) "there she was, stark naked, picking her teeth. of course she was beautiful naked but..." and that pavlova looked at ruth, who was about 12 at the time (and this would make it about 1912) and took her hair out of its then fashionable pompadour, parted it in the middle and said "thees ees for dancer!"

she also said that there was a ballet in which she played her slave (or something to that effect, i haven't seen the film in years) in which she had to follow her across the stage and it would be just the two of them and she spoke of how exciting it was for a young girl. later she went on a tour of south america and as she was so young her mother went with. as they left one port she was given a present, she says, because the 'pavlovitas' were very popular among the rich gentleman. in that box there was some sort of necklace made of precious stones and her mother made her return it. and that is what i remember!

just thought i'd throw that in...

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Can de Mille really have seen Pavlova and Nijinsky in the same company? She must have been a very small child, surely?

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well as demille was born in 1905 i suppose that she could have seen nijinsky before he stopped dancing in about 1917 and had some memory of it...

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I think it's credible. One of our subscribers (unfortunately, one without internet access) called me after he subscribed to introduce himself, and his opening line is, "I saw Nijinsky!" He then went on to say he was about 8 and his mother took him because she thought this was something he should see so he could tell people about it some day. I'll bet DeMille remembered everything she saw at the theater; she had one of those memories.

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Frederick Ashton saw Pavlova in Lima, Peru in 1917 when he was thirteen years old. According to "Secret Muses", a biography of Ashton by Julie Kavanaugh, it was seeing her that made him decide that he wanted a life in dance.

According to Kavanaugh, "Pavolva, (Ashton) said years later was the greatest theatrical genius he had ever seen. By today's standards, her technique was poor; she rarely executed more than two pirouettes, but they were done with sure brio-'a sort of flurry' in Ashton's phrase-tht she gave the effect of at least half a dozen more. Pavlova's vibrant personality, the expressive play of every part of her body and the outpouring of ecstatic energy sent a charge through the auditorium, creating what one critic described as 'a kind of electrification of the air'.

'She was a spirit, a flame' said Ashton. 'She wasn't human.' ….Pavlova became Ashton's muse, imprinting a fateful kiss which lasted for the rest of his life. "Seeing her at that stage was the end of me. She injected me with her poison and from the end of that evening I wanted to dance.'

Margot Fonteyn, toward the end of her life, told Kavanaugh: "I always felt that Fred was seeing Pavlova and that I wasn't living up to her by any means."

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There is also a good biography of Pavlova, called just 'Anna Pavlova' by Oleg Kerensky. It was published in 1973 by Hamish Hamilton and at that time Kerensky was able to talk to some of Pavlova's 'girls' who were still around, so there are some first hand accounts of what it was like to be in her company. There is also a forword by Ashton. It might be worth looking libraries or searching second-hand book sites for a copy.There is (or was) also an organisation in the UK called The Pavlova Society started by John and Roberta Lazzarini who were involved with at least two books on Pavlova - mainly pictures with some text if I remember rightly. Anyway....good luck.

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the lazzarinis indeed kept the pavlova 'museum' which was located in one large room on the second floor of what used to be her house in london, years ago. the museum was only open one day a week, saturday, for a few hours and each saturday when they closed they had to put everything, all the mementos, souvenirs, etc., even pavlova's big dressing table, away until the next saturday when they had to haul it out again. on weekdays the room was a classroom, and the rest of the house was a large polytechnic. the grounds were still all right but the inside of the house had been carved up a little. her little pond was still there and a statue of her had been placed coming from the middle of it. on the 50th anniversary of her death the lazzarinis gave a talk at a museum in london (can't remember where but i went) and they showed a number of films, one of which was 'the dumb girl of portici' which i saw in its entirety, (almost two hours!) and a print of the dying swan which they seemed to think they might get in trouble for showing as the fokine family still had (and might still have) the copyrightfor the choreography...

just me rambling on again.

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Hello!

Thank you, thank you, thank you! Really, thanks for everything you posted!First of all: I know, there is a desert called Anna Pavlova and I have seen it (Manhattnik, thanks for puting that photo in, I really got hungry smile.gif .) Then, I have searched Yahoo! (because I have my e-mail there so, naturally my first thought was to seach there, but the results were a little too big thing for me, because there were 729 matches and I thought I'll just stop by here if anyone knows for any good site.

Now, for the books, I really doubt, they are avaliable in Slovenia (where I live), but I hope you can explain me, how to shop online (at Amazon or Barnes&Nobles), if I don't have opened an account. But I'll try to reach those books anyway.

As for the films: I have seen one, which totally put me under spell. I unfortunately don't know, who is starring in it, as I missed the beginning, but i REALLY loved the way Anna Pavlova was presented and the way, that ballerina who was Anna danced with that in her movement, that natural ability to be whatever to dance like whichever thing on Earth! Her technique: I don't know anything about it; my interest in Anna began after seeing that film and re-playing it many times I realised, how she felt that Dying Swan and not even Maya Plisetskaya could do a better swan than she did. So, even if here technique was bad, she made that impresion on a man, which is cruical in the theatre : that she IS the person she was dancing. REally-if she made only a single pirouette and one felt like she did four of them - then she reached what she wanted to make a man believe, that this is not real, this is an illusion and everything in ballet and thatre has to do with illusion. So I guess, that Petipa, though he is mentioned as a cruel man, who wanted every dancer to be techincally polished considered her as enough good to dance in Swan Lake and ballets like that, she must of been at least good in pretending.

This is quite a long thing I wrote, I hope it is clear, because I believe, that there are quite some gramatical and other mistakes, but anyway, please reply if you belive, that you know anything further on this theme.

With much love, Nadezhda

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I've discovered two OK sites about Anna Pavlova and if you'd like to see their adresses just let me know. (You can do it by e-mail too: nkogoj@yahoo.com ).

So, I just wanted to drop this note, because i started the topic in search of Anna Pavlova's sites.

In the begfinning of the new Year I wish you all the very best and just go for it with the positive attitude and you'll make it!

Luv, Nadezhda.

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Nadezhda, if you'd like to post the URLs to those sites, that would be fine. There may be other people here who would be interested in seeing them (including me).

Just in general, if anyone ever finds a ballet site that you think would be of general interest, please feel free to post it. Since the whole point of Ballet Alert! is to spread the news about ballet, this would be welcomed.

Alexandra

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Yeah Manhattnik, there is a Pavolova dessert here in Australia, and probably named after her. For interest, there is also a Melba sandwich, named after the diva herself. (l am not really an opera fan.) I suppose any favoirte artists had a lasting impression by the creation of these culinary delights.

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Wandering away from the original topic and picking up on the food thread--

Opera divas still have food named after them, which seems to be a natural in some cases. Renee Fleming, whose luminous performance as the Countess in "The Marriage of Figaro" was just broadcast is mentioned in the current issue of "The New Yorker."

There is an great photograph of Ms. Fleming (who is a knockout) smiling broadly. According to the text that accompnies the photograph:

New York chef Daniel Boulud has unveiled a new dessert that he calls La Diva Renee: a melange of chocolate, hazelnuts, and amaretto cookies in a sauce of clementines, the dish has a chocolate top printed with music from 'Der Rosenkavalier'.

Sounds delicious.

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