March 2012 marks the centenary of Anna Pavlova (1881-1931) making her home in London. Russian-born Pavlova graduated from the Imperial Ballet School, St Petersburg, in 1899. She took the role of Nikiya in La Bayadère in 1902 and the title role in Giselle at the Mariinsky Theatre in 1903. Her most famous solo, the Dying Swan, was created for her in 1907 by Mikhail Fokine. She danced briefly with the Ballets Russes but preferred to star in her own company, which she formed in 1908, and toured for the next twenty years throughout the world. Pavlova is seen here visiting the Great Sphinx of Giza, near Cairo during one of her tours.
Ivy House, in Golders Green, became Pavlova's home in 1912. Even though she only lived in the house for short periods, many portraits of Pavlova with friends or posing with her pets survive. In the garden pond she kept swans, which she studied to bring realism to her signature role of the Dying Swan. In her London home, ballets were devised and rehearsed in a specially designed studio, and sets and costumes were made and stored. Pavlova’s association with Britain can also be traced to the beginning of her career, when she made her London debut at the Palace Theatre in 1910. A series of celebratory events arranged by Ivy House will include film screenings and workshops.