A talented ballerina shines on the stage, opens her soul to the audience through dance, but her personal life remains a mystery. An aristocrat and handsome man does not want to marry a girl from humble beginnings, but it is she who saves him from debt. Sounds like a soap opera recap? Yes, it does! But this beautiful and complex story is real.
On St. Valentine's Day, we are going to tell you a love story of the legendary prima ballerina Anna Pavlova and Baron Victor Dandré.
Before they met
Young Anna graduated from the Imperial Theater School and began performing at the Mariinsky Theater at the age of 16. Any romantic acquaintances during her studies were out of the question. The girl was at full board, and the rules in the institution were extremely strict.
At the theater, she was taken care of by Mathilde Kschessinska - a prima ballerina who was no less famous for her affairs than for her virtuoso fouettés. Kschessinska wanted to make Pavlova’s life happy and introduced her to the Grand Duke Boris Vladimirovich. But Anna, an illegitimate child, was not seduced by the role of a kept woman. She dreamed of real feelings and a strong family, which she never had.
At that time, the future ballet star often repeated that she served only art and the theater was her private life.
A couple of years later, Anna met a handsome young Baron Victor Dandré at one of the social events. He began to court her beautifully - they even said that it was a bet, but no one could predict the outcome.
French aristocratic family, intelligence, wit and good looks - how not to fall in love? Pavlova fell in love and, as it turned out, for good. To the surprise of society, Victor not only seduced her, but promoted her career advancement, surrounded her with care and unprecedented luxury. And she... she passionately dreamed of becoming "Madame Dandré".
But Baron was not proposing. Then, there were rumors that he was planning a marriage with an equal.
Parting, but only for a while
Anna couldn’t bear even a hint of a rival. She left Victor without knowing that the rumors about his wedding were not true. She left St. Petersburg with a short note, "It's over!"
Pavlova devoted herself entirely to work, performing several times a week. It was then that the brilliant choreographer Fokine staged The Dying Swan for her. Who knows if it was a broken heart that inspired her to dance this part over and over again?
Then, Anna left for France to perform in Diaghilev's "Russian Seasons", and there she began dating the troupe's soloist, Mikhail Mordkin.
Soon the news spread around Paris, Victor Dandré was arrested for being unable to pay off a large debt.
Publicly, Anna didn’t react to news from Russia but she didn’t remain indifferent either. She dropped literally everything and went on tour to England - they paid more there. Pavlova worked hard. And Victor was released less than a year later thanks to the bail that the ballerina in love paid for him.
After such an act, Dandré became attached to Anna with all his heart. Perhaps, he fell in love with her out of gratitude, but is the reason so important?
After he had been released, the Baron left Russia and came to London with forged documents. Now, neither he nor Pavlova could return to their homeland, which saddened her until the end of her days.
Secret marriage and world success
Now Victor begged Anna to marry him. And she agreed but only on condition that their marriage would be secret.
In a foreign land, Pavlova created a ballet company, with which she toured the whole world. Victor became her impresario and turned out to be very talented: he was doing business and kept the books, organized performances and took care of the props.
The whole world lay at the feet of the great ballerina. But there was no quiet family happiness. The husband fulfilled all her requirements, and she reproached him for an unhappy life: she scandalized and smashed dishes, then cried and begged to forgive her. She didn't let the servants take care of Victor and set upon him with blows. Then, she apologized again.
Once, leaving for Paris to perform in "Russian Seasons", she wrote Dandré: "I will never forgive you!" Perhaps, Pavlova - after all, she was not only a ballerina but also a woman - was never able to forgive the lover for her unanswered feelings. Although he idolized his wife and forgave her any whims and scandals.
Their secret marriage lasted twenty years. When Anna died suddenly, Dandré's life seemed to stop too. He established a club of fans of his wife's creative work and wrote the book “Anna Pavlova. Life and Legend". The memory of the famous dancer still lives on. As her love story with Victor, which can leave few people indifferent.