Anna Pavlovna (Matveyevna) Pavlova (February 12 1881 – January 23, 1931) was a Russian prima ballerina of the late 19th and the early 20th centuries. She was a principal artist of the Imperial Russian Ballet and the Ballets Russes of Sergei Diaghilev. Pavlova is most recognized for the creation of the role The Dying Swan and, with her own company, became the first ballerina to tour ballet around the world.
Anna Pavlovna (Matveyevna) Pavlova was born on February 12, 1881 in Ligovo, Saint Petersburg, Russia to unwed parents. Her mother, Lyubov Feodorovna, was a laundress. Her father was rumoured to have been Jewish (some sources, including The Saint Petersburg Gazette, state that her biological father was the banker Lazar Polyakov). Her mother's second husband, Matvey Pavlov, is believed to have adopted her at the age of three, by which she acquired his last name.
Pavlova's passion for the art of ballet was ignited when her mother took her to a performance of Marius Petipa's original production of The Sleeping Beauty at the Imperial Maryinsky Theater. The lavish spectacle made an impression on Pavlova. At the age of nine, her mother took her to audition for the renowned Imperial Ballet School. Because of her youth, and what was considered her "sickly" appearance, she was not chosen. In 1891, she was finally accepted at the age of 10. She appeared for the first time on stage in Marius Petipa's Un conte de fées (A Fairy Tale), which the ballet master staged for the students of the school...
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