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Anna Pavlova made Ivy House in Golders Green her home. To celebrate the centenary of her living there, the London Jewish Cultural Centre has organised a series of events, writes Rosy Moorhead
11:27am Thursday 7th June 2012 in Exhibitions
It’s quite an extraordinary feeling to be standing in the hall that was once Anna Pavlova’s dance studio, looking out over the veranda to the terraced gardens that slope down to the large pond. She danced in this very room, wandered those gardens, her bedroom is directly above me. It is 100 years since she took possession of Ivy House in Golders Green and a definite presence pervades it still.
To mark the centenary of Pavlova making Ivy House her home, the current residents, the London Jewish Cultural Centre (LJCC), are hosting Pavlova 2012, an exciting programme of performances, talks and workshops celebrating the ballerina’s relationship with the house and the lasting contribution she made to the world of dance.
"Pavlova first rented Ivy House in 1912," explains Julia Weiner, the co-curator of the programme's exhibition Anna Pavlova at Ivy House. "She’d found Golders Green nice and green, and purchased the house a year later. She absolutely adored Ivy House, it was a very special place for her."
Pavlova lived in the house until her death in 1931, creating a lively cultural haven there, rehearsing, training young dancers and running her international ballet company from there, as well as landscaping the beautiful gardens.
"The gardens were really important to her," says Julia. "As soon as she saw the lake, she said ‘I'll take it – I can put my swans here’."
"She redid the interior of the house, shipping her furniture back from Russia. The hall became her studio, her company would practice for their tours, so a number of famous dancers would have trained here. And she trained eight young local girls – the dancer and teacher Muriel Stuart was the most famous of them."
Pavlova performed her last dance at Golders Green Hippodrome on December 13, 1930, just a few weeks before her death in January 1931, and her ashes are in Golders Green Crematorium.
Julia has co-curated the free exhibition with Leonard Newman, curator of the Anna Pavlova Memorial Museum which was housed at Ivy House from 1974 until 1990. The exhibition also features items from a very special private collection.
"Lillian Scott Wood was a devoted fan and close friend of Pavlova’s," says Julia, who grew up in Hampstead Garden Suburb and attended events at Ivy House as a child. "She came to the auction that was held here after Pavlova’s death and bought letters, ballet shoes, programmes, photos and a feather from the swan costume. Almost all of it will be on show."
The other events that make up Pavlova 2012 have been organised by LJCC’s artistic director, Irene Newton.
"The idea behind the programme is to show that Pavlova was a very modern lady and ballerina, not the flimsy swan that people think of her as," says Irene, from Golders Green. "She was the director of a company that went all over the world – that was completely revolutionary. She was a very modern celebrity but whenever she was on stage she showed great artistry and depth. We’re celebrating this aspect of her, that hasn’t really come to the fore so much.
"She chose London as her home when most people at that time would have chosen Paris – this was the beginning of the celebrity scene in London. When we have a concert in her old studio, the musicians say there’s an amazing atmosphere, an artistic presence – there’s definitely something in the air."
Pavlova 2012 is at the London Jewish Cultural Centre, Ivy House, North End Road, Golders Green throughout June. The exhibition Anna Pavlova at Ivy House is free and runs until August 28. Details: 020 8457 5000, www.ljcc.org.uk
Pavlova events at Ivy House
Dame Monica Mason, director of The Royal Ballet, is in conversation in A Life in Dance, a celebration of her remarkable career, which began when she joined The Royal Ballet aged just 16. Wednesday, June 20 at Ivy House, 8pm.
A Celebration of Dance and Fashion is a fashion show by graduates from the School of Art and Design at the University of Brighton, inspired by Pavlova and the way that fabrics moves on the body. Thursday, June 21 at Ivy House, 8pm.
Pavlova Day on June 24 rounds off the programme. In the morning is a ballet masterclass by teacher and former Royal Ballet soloist Anita Young (10.30-11.15am), followed by Pavlova – Then and Now, a talk by Clement Crisp, ballet critic and leading dance historian (11.30am-12.15pm). In the afternoon, pianist Philip Gammon talks about his long association with The Royal Ballet and performs, in Interlude of Ballet Music (2-2.45pm). Later, principal dancer with The Royal Ballet Tamara Rojo explores dramatic expression in dance, in Pavlova and the Modern Ballerina (3.15pm). Sunday, June 24.