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Anna Pavlova & Her Swans

October, 2016

I assume many of you are better informed than I about Ivy House, Anna Pavlova's London residence that she bought in 1912 and lived in until her death in 1931.​

Her home in Golders Green, north London, was the base for her to teach, to create and rehearse the ballets of her own company (founded in 1913), to design and store sets and costumes, and to pose for publicity photographs.​

The most enchanting story, I find, is that she had a large pond in her garden where she kept swans that she studied to make the performances of her world-famous The Dying Swan more realistic.
It is said that she formed a special bond with one of her swans, named Jack.​

I was made aware of Pavlova's Ivy House and her swans by the lovely Valerie James who told me this:
"My mother-in-law, Rosamond Daphne Vulliamy, born in 1914, used to tell me this tale: When she visited her godmother in Hampstead during her school holidays, she could see into Anna Pavlova's garden from her godmother's upstairs window.  She would watch Pavlova with her beloved swans." 

Since her death, Ivy House has served as an orthopaedic outpatients hospital (how appropriate!), an outpost of a drama college, it was restored as a Pavlova Museum, later to be bought by a north London school before it became the London Jewish Cultural Centre. Most recently, in 2015, Ivy House was sold to be transformed into a Catholic Girls School.​

Although Pavlova's most iconic role was The Dying Swan, which was, and still is, an inspiration to countless dancers and non-dancers, it is great to know that she was also a multifaceted and prolific artist throughout her life.

As resources, I used: and where you can read detailed stories and view more beautiful photographs.

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