Anna Pavlova: Inspiring Generations

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Written by Caroline Livingston

Anna Pavlova, born in 1881, is best known in the dance community as the creator of modern pointe shoes and an inspiration to us all. She was the inspiration behind the infamous role, “The Dying Swan” has been said to be one of the greatest ballerinas of all time. She constantly inspires me, and I always strive to learn more about her and the legacy that she left behind. She modernized pointe shoes, giving them a flatter tip and harder shank (the sole supporting you). The ballet you see in shows around Christmas time and all year round during the company shows would not be possible without Pavlova’s significant contributions to the art form.
She left behind a legacy that cannot be matched. She started her own ballet company, touring the world for twenty years until her death. Pavlova was the inspiration for many ballets, including “The Dying Swan,” which was created after Mikhail Fokine watched her feeding a swan the leftovers from their picnic lunch together. This infamous role has been flayed countless times, not just by her but by many ballerinas all over the world in competitions and large company shows.
Anna committed to her art that was unlike ever seen before, this being shown by the famous quote, “If I can not dance, I shall die!” being said when she was told she had to have a surgery to save her life, but it would mean that she would not dance again. Instead of giving up her craft, she refused the surgery and passed away on January 23rd, 1931, remembered as a pillar of the ballet community. Her last words were, “Get my ‘Swan’ costume ready.” A constant reminder of the ballet that she was eternally committed to.