Anna Pavlova Twentieth Century Ballerina, Jane Pritchard with Caroline Hamilton, Published by Booth-Clibborn Editions
Originally published in 2012 to mark the centenary of Pavlova’s move to Ivy House in London, Anna Pavlova Twentieth Century Ballerina* was expanded and revised in 2013. The latest edition is a beautifully arranged coffee-table book with over 150 images of Pavlova in performance and offstage.
The book focuses mostly on Pavlova’s career outside Russia. As a career history, the book is exhaustive in detail, with chapters covering Pavlova’s arrival in Europe, her acquisition of Ivy House, the formation of her own company, and her international tours. The final pages contain an index of Pavlova’s performances in Britain from 1910 to 1930.
Authors Jane Pritchard and Caroline Hamilton emphasize Pavlova’s role as a pioneer of dance in Britain and abroad in a way that was complementary to but very different from the role of Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes. The latter presented impactful, avant-garde, cross-disciplinary performances. Pavlova’s influence, the authors argue, was hard-won and widespread and reached straight into the hearts of her audiences the world over. By venturing to cities and venues where ballet had never been seen, and by assembling shorter, divertissement-centered or variety programs, Pavlova the businesswoman made classical dance accessible to the public. By making herself and her dances accessible, she became an enduring cultural icon.
Anna Pavlova Twentieth Century Ballerina does not read like a biography. There’s only a brief paragraph on the inside jacket to introduce the text. It’s the images that speak most. Posed and candid offstage shots of Pavlova capture her elegance and mystery. Performance photographs give the reader glimpses of the Pavlova ballet-goers fell in love with. Programs, posters, and advertisements illustrate her star power.
Jane Pritchard is the curator of dance for London’s Victoria and Albert Museum. Together she and freelance costume historian Caroline Hamilton paint a thorough picture of Pavlova’s career and legacy as a legendary artist and an incomparable, inimitable woman of the world.