For Pavlova's early memories we had best turn to her own words: "I always wanted to dance, from my youngest years. I could think of no other future, could not see myself in any other role than that of dancer on a big stage in front of a crowded audience. I wanted to perform for them the perfect beauty of movement, to wait with baited breath and a convulsing heart for their applause. Thus I built castles in the air out of my hopes and dreams, which work was crowned when I was taken for the first time to the Maryinsky Theatre...to a performance of the Sleeping Beauty ...I was so riveted by the spectacle that I sat motionless. I hardly dared to breathe, fearful to break the spell. Then, in the second act, just when many couples were waltzing, I was suddenly tapped on my arm. I was startled, looked about and saw that it was my mother who touched me. My breathless attention had struck her. "Nura", she said, "would you like to be dancing with them?". I said "No, I would rather be dancing there alone, like that sweet Princess" ... When I was eight years old I could no longer keep my aspirations in check, and begged to be allowed to learn to dance" (translated from Anna Pawlowa, Tanzende Füsse. Der Weg meines Lebens, Dresden 1928).
The world will forever remember the Russian ballerina, Anna Pavlova, who brought a more traditional feel to classical ballet. Anna was born in St. Petersburg in 1881.
On her ninth birthday, Anna's mother treated her to a performance of The Sleeping Beauty, a ballet that forever changed Anna's life. She decided then that she would one day dance on stage. She began taking ballet lessons and was quickly accepted into the Imperial Ballet School. Anna was not a typical ballerina of her day. At only five-feet-tall, she was delicate and slender, unlike most of the students in her classes. She was exceptionally strong and had perfect balance. Anna possessed many unique talents. She soon became a prima ballerina. Dancing around the globe:
Anna formed her own ballet company and went on tour, introducing her classical style of ballet to the world. America loved Anna and ballet lessons soon became popular for little girls across the country. She soon became known as the "Sublime Pavlova." She toured for the rest of her life, keeping a home in London.
Anna was known to have had very arched feet, which made it hard to dance on the tips of her toes. She discovered that by adding a piece of hard leather to the soles, the shoes provided better support. Many people thought of this as cheating, as a ballerina should be able to hold her own weight on her toes. However, her idea was the precursor to the modern pointe shoe.
Anna never retired from dancing. In 1931, she became ill while rehearsing for a performance in Europe, but refused to rest. A few days later, she collapsed with pneumonia. She died within a week of her 50th birthday.
Anna Pavlova believed that dancing was her gift to the world. She felt that God had given her the gift of dance to delight others. She often said that she was "haunted by the need to dance." She became an inspiration to young boys and girls to learn how to dance and experience the joys of ballet.