Anna Pavlova

Anna Pavolova was a Russian ballerina who lived from 1881 to 1931. During her career, she worked closely with Serge Diaghilev and Petipa. She shocked audiences by breaking the traditions of Romantic ballet techniques by performing often with bent knees and a bad turnout. She had very weak ankles and could not perform some of the more acrobatic tricks that other ballerinas were renowned for. Because of her weak ankles and curved feet, Pavolva had a hard time holding herself up en pointe. To help with this, she added a piece of wood to the toe of her pointe shoe. At the time, this was seen as cheating by many people. But, it actually precedented the modern pointe shoe. Pavolva is most known for creating the role of The Dying Swan.


Abby Jones


2 thoughts on “Anna Pavlova

  1. Anna Pavlova was so important to ballet because she was the reason pointe shoes were made. I decided to look up pointe shoes and do some research on them, and I found out there are a few important parts of a pointe shoe that help them serve their purpose of making the ballerina appear weightless. At the toe of the shoe is the box, which is a hard enclosure to support the dancer’s toes. The box is flat on the front so when the dancer is on his/her toes, he/she can balance. Usually pointe shoes have scraped soles for traction but they can also have buffed soles which offer less traction. The shank is a piece of rigid material that stiffens the sole of the shoe in order to support the arch of the foot. Ribbons and the elastic band secure the shoe to the foot so the dancer does not slide around and can dance as if the shoe is a part of his/her foot.

    Natalie D’Addieco

  2. I found what Abby discovered very interesting. Nowadays, a ballerina would not even be looked at twice if she had bent knees and a bad turnout; however, she and the audience and choreographers embraced it and created something magical. I decided to go watch The Dying Swan on youtube so i could see what all the hype was about, and it really is an amazing piece. She embodies her character so well, and despite her small quirks, she is an absolutely beautiful dancer. I honestly think her small quirks are what make her so memorable. Also, I think it’s so interesting that how her way of “cheating” the pointe shoe created a whole new way of making the pointe shoe that is still carried to this day. Overall, I think Anna Pavlova is a very beautiful and unique dancer!

    Madeline Roebuck

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