“I always wanted to dance; from my youngest years… Thus I built castles in the air out of my hopes and dreams” -Anna Pavlova.
Anna was born on February 12, 1881 in St. Petersburg, Russia. Her mother was a washerwoman and her stepfather was a reserve soldier. She claimed that her biological father was named Pavel, but historians cannot seem to find anything out about this mystery man.
They were very poor, but somehow managed to see a performance of The Sleeping Beauty at the Mariinsky Theatre when Anna was 8 years old. With the support of her mother, Anna decided she would become a ballerina.
She was a natural and was recognized for her talents at the Imperial Ballet School. She graduated in 1899 at the age of 18 and because she had graduated a coryphée (a lead dancer) she was able to bypass the usual paths of becoming a dancer and go straight to performing in small groups. Her debut was in the Mariinsky Theatre (how cool is that?)
She went on to a very successful career as a Prima Ballerina, formed her own ballet company and even choreographed her own roles. She toured with her company for two years, and was welcomed all over the world.
She died of double pneumonia at the age of 50. She is one of the most celebrated and influential dancers of her time.