Synopsis by Eleanor Mannikka
This biographical film -- a bit long for most viewers, even in its cut version -- is made especially for ballet aficionados. Focusing on the short life of the remarkable Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova (1882?-1931), it features several dance sequences and provides a backdrop of the historical events in the Soviet Union and Europe during her life. Pavlova (Galina Belyayeva, better as a dancer than an actress) was born in Saint Petersburg and her interest in the ballet began early. As a little girl (Lina Boultakova), Pavlova would watch the ballet students in training, and she eventually entered the Imperial Ballet company, quickly rising to the position of prima ballerina. Before long, she perfected a style especially evident in her dancing of Giselle and Swan Lake. In her brief tenure at the Ballets Russes established in Paris in 1909 by the famed Russian expatriate impresario Sergei Diaghilev, Pavlova was inspired by dancers like Vaslav Nijinsky and obtained further training under a master, traveling extensively with the company. But the famous ballerina was not without personal problems, and at one point had to take a two-year advance on her salary in order to pay off her husband's debts so he would not go to jail. There are several intriguing aspects of this biography that would recommend it to general viewers: varied locations from Mexico to Cuba to Europe and the USA, good ballet performances, some noted bit players (Martin Scorcese as Gatti Cassaza) and a critically recognized Michael Powell, the director of Red Shoes in his last professional role, as an editor.
dance [art], ballet-dance, life