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Centenary Celebration of Anna Pavlova in Ivy House

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For Londoners or those visiting this month for the Queen's Jubilee celebration, here's a list of coming events:

17 June 7:30pm: An Intimate Evening with Anna Pavlova (at the Linbury Studio Theatre at Covent Garden)

20 June 8pm: A Life in Dance: Monica Mason in Conversation with Patricia Linton

24 June Morning Program 10:30am-12:15pm: Pavlova Day at Ivy House, with ballet masterclass and talk with Clement Crisp

28 June 9:15am-3:30pm: White Lodge Museum Tour

Through September, archive photographs on display at Ivy House.

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Thanks, as always Leonid and Helene, for the information. When I went to London last year for the Diaghilev exhibit, I managed to get to Ivy House for the last day of the exhibit of portraits of Karsavina.... (ironic, yes?), and through the finagling of a very assertive photographer friend got to walk in the gardens, right up to her pond. I felt very, very priviledged.

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Pavlova 2012 has been extensively supported by a distinguished group of charities, foundations and patrons with Irene Newton as its Artistic Director.

As part of the Pavlova 2012 celebrations, last week I attended the book launch of “ANNA PAVL0VA TWENTIETH CENTURY BALLERINA” written by Jane Pritchard (Curator of Dance at the Victoria & Albert Museum) with Caroline Hamilton and last night I was in the Linbury Studio Theatre part of the Royal Opera House complex to witness a performance of “An Intimate Evening with Anna Pavlova.”

The book launch took place on the roof of Selfridge’s historic store on London’s Oxford Street on a dullish day brightened by the presence of former Royal Ballet ballerina Lady Anya Sainsbury who gave the keynote speech.

The royalties from the book are going towards the student bursary programme at The Royal Ballet School and the chosen recipients were present.

It was a champagne and canapé event with dancers and former dancers in attendance plus the great and the good who have supported Pavlova 2012.

The book is a spectacular photographic essay with previously unpublished photographs, supported by a highly informative well written and researched text.

“An Intimate Evening with Anna Pavlova” had Anthony Dowell as narrator who expressively read the story of Pavlova’s life in his usual voice, with a Russian accent and he slipped into “cockney” at one stage. All the time subtley acting as events in Pavlova’s life were shown with Ursula Hageli playing Anna Pavlova using the dancers recorded words with extracts from Pavlova’s repertoire being performed.

The dance repertoire was:

An evocation of the Spanish dance from, “The Fairy Doll” by Ursula Hageli

“Foyer de danse” Frederick Ashton reconstructed by Christopher Newton and Ursula Hageli - excerpt

“Bacchanale” Choreographed by Liam Scarlett

“Gavotte Pavlova” – an evocation by Ursula Hageli

“The Fairy Doll” - excerpt After Ivan Clustine

“The Fairy Doll” after Pavlova

“La Nuit” after Pavlova

“Autumn Leaves” by Liam Scarlett

and a sprightly exhibition of, “The Fred Step” performed by Ursula Hageli and Anthony Dowell which brought the house down through the wave of nostalgia at seeing Dowell dance 18 years after he retired from dancing.



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Given the mythic status I am sure the performance of “An Intimate Evening with Anna Pavlova” will gain, I offer the following plus an introduction to other highly successful events. I do declare an interest, as I was responsible in part for an event I have not described or commented upon.


The absolute highlights of this event for me was an interview with Dame Monica Mason who gave an in depth memory of her dancing life from her child hood to the latter parts of her career with such candour and a depth of the meaning, that it became an extraordinary and revealing experience of this woman who has been a pillar of the Royall Ballet over a long period of time.

There was an audible intake of breath when a member of the audience asked her about the departure of Sergei Polunin and his reasons for leaving the Royal Ballet.

In a measured, caring and frank manner, Dame Monica I believe gave and extraordinary open and honest retelling of the day that Mr. Polunin walked out of the studio where Sir Anthony Dowell was rehearsing/teaching and into her office to coldly tell her that he was leaving the company here and now.

Dame Monica then gave a background to Mr. Polunin life and studies and said that she felt,”… he had always remained an outsider…” and went on to describe how she had spoken to him in what was obviously, a most extraordinary situation.

The gravity of the occasion that Dame Monica retold was both sad and riveting as it was clear throughout her interview, that her recollection of events from her childhood to the present day was of the quality that enables dancers to precisely remember complex ballet roles.

To say that she distinguished herself in various and very open manner is to say the least. Her tribute to Winifred Edwards (Vera Fredova of Anna Pavlova’s company) was telling in the manner how she described this elderly former dancer’s abilities to sort out problems in technique and focus.

Tamara Rojo also gave a most interesting interview in which she was confidently expressive and quite obviously has a significant intellectual approach to her work and her forth coming directorship the English National Ballet. The talk was topped after a short interval by her performance of three of Sir Frederick Ashton’s, “Brahms Waltzes in the manner of Isadora Duncan.”

Clement Crisp I understand gave an in depth lecture on Anna Pavlova and Phillip Gammon gave a wonderful recital of Chopin’s music as used in Ashton’s, “A Month in the Country.”

Anita Young former Royal Ballet dancer and teacher at the Royal Ballet School gave an interesting demonstration of the Cecchetti method with two extraordinary students of the Royal Ballet School who look at this time, as being potential star performers of the future.

Anita Young bemoaned the disappearance of the rounded port de bras of Cecchetti in favour of the more elongated Russian style, capping the demonstration with a lively and expressive talk on her experience at the Royal Ballet then and now.

Throughout June to August an exhibition devoted to Anna Pavlova and the centenary of her living in Ivy House and The absolute highlight for me of this celebration of Anna Pavlova staged by the London Jewish Cultural Centre, current owners of Ivy House, has been the collaboration with the Royal Ballet and the Royal Opera House with the involved support of Lady Sainsbury (former RB ballerina Anya Linden) who with Anthony Dowell and Ursula Hageli created the programme.

On Sunday the 17th of June at the Linbury Theatre in the Royal Opera House was given what turned out to be an absolutely triumphant evening called, “An Intimate Evening with Anna Pavlova” in which Anthony Dowell was the marvellously on stage narrator with or without a Russian and cockney accent and supported by an extraordinary acting performance by Royal Ballet’s Ballet Mistress Ursula Hageli, as Anna Pavlova.

Hageli (a former dancer with a strong expressive and integrated technique) had meticulously re-created (and invented in the style of) dances from Pavlova’s repertoire.

Most surprising was Liam Scarlett’s reconstruction of Pavlova’s original ballet “Autumn Leaves” which gave this young choreographer a triumphant success with Valentino Zucchetti as The North Wind recreating every photograph and description of the original Pavlova production, in a most vivid manner.

To cap it all Sir Anthony and Ursula Hageli gave a highly expressive performance of the now legendary, “Fred step.”

Nostalgia abounded with seeing Sir Anthony dancing again of the Opera House stage and it brought the house down.

In what was a complete moving feast written by Caroline Hamilton, directed by the distinguished opera producer John Copley directed with his careful eye, pulling the whole evening into a complete memorable event and designed by Steven Gregory

Nostalgia coupled with excellence, together with extraordinary support from donors made it a fabulous and undoubtedly an evening that will be recalled by many for years to come.

Such a unique one of event could not have been pulled of in England without the support of sponsorship which came from, Selfridges, The Blavatnik Family Foundation, The Linbury Trust & Rothschild.

Proceeds from the performance will go to the upkeep of Ivy House and a donation to The Bursary Fund of The Royal Ballet School.

Parallel to these Pavlova celebrations, has been the publication of the visually stunning and thoroughly researched "Anna Pavlova: Twentieth-Century Ballerina" By Jane Pritchard with Caroline Hamilton including for the first time, a full chronology of Pavlova's performances that went the length and breadth of Great Britain.

Royalties from the sale of the book will go towards the student scholarship and bursary programme at The Royal Ballet School, London.

The publication was made possible with the generous support of: Elena Heinz, The Linbury Trust, The Monument Trust, The Rothschild Foundation and Trusthouse Charitable Foundation.

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