Russian ballerina Olga Pavlova—best known here in the U.S. for her time with Morphoses/The Wheeldon Company and Metropolitan Classical Ballet in Arlington, Texas—had a rich international career. But her training years didn’t go quite according to plan. In Karen McDonough’s new biography, A Ballerina for Our Time: Olga Pavlova, McDonough reveals how Pavlova struggled to overcome body issues, jealousy and sabotage while a student at the Bolshoi Ballet Academy. A mysterious letter turned the Bolshoi’s school director against her and altered the course of her promising career, nearly getting her kicked out of the academy and essentially locking her out of Moscow’s top companies. McDonough relays Pavlova’s story of perseverance—and eventual rise to the Bolshoi Ballet Grigorovich Company, Maya Plisetskaya’s Imperial Russian Ballet and Moscow Classical Ballet—and gives us an inside look at Soviet Russia’s rigorous training system. Pointe is giving away five copies of A Ballerina for Our Time: Olga Pavlova autographed by the author. To enter to win, click here.
Bunheads tuning in to the season premiere of ABC's "The Bachelor" on January 4 may have recognized a familiar face: Dance Theatre of Harlem's Alicia Mae Holloway, literally bourréeing out of a limousine to greet bachelor Matt James. While Holloway unfortunately didn't get a rose that night, she did thoroughly enjoy being the long-running reality franchise's first professional-ballerina contestant, as she told Pointe in a recent Zoom call.
Alicia Mae Holloway
Renee Choi, Courtesy Holloway
Carla Fracci, a former principal dancer of La Scala Ballet in Milan, is among the rare class of ballerinas who continued to perform into her 50s and beyond. Romantic ballets were her calling card throughout her career. In 1987, when Fracci was 51, she was featured in a television special, dancing reconstructed 19th-century ballets in the style of historical ballerinas. In this clip of La Esmeralda from the program, Fracci and her partner Stephen Jefferies, a former principal at The Royal Ballet, deliver an extraordinary performance, capturing the verve and spirit of their characters.