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Pavlova - 1913-1916
by David for group historicalziegfeld Oct 16, 2010

Anna Pavlova for western eyes renovated the classical tradition of dance that had be preserved in St. Petersburg during the Czarist era. The tension between gestural discipline and expressive abandon made her performances riveting to witnesses who had been used to Italian ballerinas and theatrical stage dancers. She distrusted theatrical entrepreneurs, state cultural institutions, and most of her artistic patrons. After she seriously embraced her status as an independent artist, she strove to set up an autonomous touring company with herself as the focus, one male dancer, always subordinate in status and billing, and a chorus of female dancers. From 1909-1913 she did not like to have any other names complicate the billing for her appearances, including those of photographers on the publicity images. Hence the 1913 images below are uncredited. Are they Parisian, or from Mishkin or Maurice Goldberg in New York, or English? A mystery. During her 1916 tour of the United States she realized that brand name photographers got her notice by magazine editors. She had memorable sittings with several. Ira L. Hill's are perhaps best known. But the most beautiful was arguably that in Kansas City with Benjamin Strauss and Homer Peyton. The four images here were those submitted for copyright by the studio. I suspect as many as 12 additional images were not submitted for registration. Vlad in his previous posting has alerted us to the extraordinary visual presence that Russian dancers had in early 20th century performing arts imagery. Pavlova was the firstest with mostest for the United States. The stills for her solitary silent movie, "The Blind Girl of Portici," alas are not very artistic, being taken for the most part from the middle distance. David Shields

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