Skip to main navigation menu Skip to main content Skip to site footer

"The Dying Swan" by A. Pavlova: Choreography and Iconography of the Image


In the article, an approach to the analysis of the artwork that represented the image of the great ballerina, A. Pavlova in the choreographic miniature The Dying Swan was implemented for the first time. The article contains the solution of the problem of understanding and comprehension of all artistic components of visual characteristics of the created works, which can be used in reconstructions and modern interpretations of a choreographic performance. The main iconographic motives of The Dying Swan by different artists have been illustrated on the materials of fine art, and their comparative analysis has been given.

The author aims at tracing the way the idea and mechanisms of interpretation of A. Pavlova’s role are transformed into the structure of a still image. Based on the definitions considered, specific author's solutions are analysed, and their ideological-artistic originality (features of composition construction, mise en scene lighting plot of the performance, acting nuances) is revealed about the stage representation and perception of classical choreography. In the article, a significant place is given to the work of sculpture created by A. Pavlova on a topic of The Dying Swan, which has been scarcely examined, in which the specificity of the ballerina’s performing art has been interpreted as a secondary relatively independent actor's activity and her creativity has been revealed in the format of the figurative interpretation as the individual performing interpretation of a stage of primary (author's) scenic activities. The article concludes that the presented sculptural-plastic interpretation of A. Pavlova's dance as a performer of the act is further superimposed on the interpretation of the choreographic image and manifested in the expressiveness of the movements set by the ballet-master, resulting in a new semantic variant based on the previous one.


A. Pavlova, The Dying Swan, iconography, dance composition, choreographed ballet role, artistic interpretation



Antonov, V. (1966). In Memory of the Swan, Russian News.
Catalogue of the Commemorative Exhibition organized by the London Museum (1956). London, pp. 223.
Cherepnin, A. (1914). Ballet Symbols, Theater Newspaper, 35, pp. 8.
Cherepnin, A. (1914). Evening of Anna Pavlova, Theater Newspaper, 23, pp. 3.
Dandre, V. (2003). Anna Pavlova. Life and Legend. Moscow: Vita Nova, pp. 592.
Edward, M. (2018). Dying swans and dragged up dames. In Mesearch and the Performing Body (pp. 75-93). Palgrave Pivot, Cham.
Fisher, J. (2012). The Swan Brand: Reframing the Legacy of Anna Pavlova, Dance Research Journal, 44(1), pp. 51-67.
Fokine, M.M. (1961). The Dying Swan, Leningrad: Muzyka, pp. 32.
Fokine, M.M. (1981). Against the Current: Memoirs of the Ballet Master, Scenarios and Plans of Ballets, Articles, Interviews and Letters, Leningrad: Iskusstvo, pp. 510.
Granenbeiy, A. (1927). Anna Pavlova, pp. 172.
Grutsynova, A.P. (2012). "The Dying Swan" between Ballet and Cinema, Contemporary Science and Education Almanac, 8, pp. 35-38.
Hyden, W. (1932). La Pavlova, Paris, pp. 209.
Kerensky, O. (1973). Anna Pavlova, London, pp. 160.
Kranss, E. (1931). Anna Pavlova, Hear leven en haar Kunst, Amsterdam, pp. 239.
Materials about A. Pavlova. Catalog of the Exhibition, Concert Program Dedicated to Her Memory (in French), Russian State Archive of Literature and Art, File 2586, Inv. 1, Archival Unit 81.
McLean, A. L. (2008). Dying swans and madmen: Ballet, the body, and narrative cinema, Rutgers University Press.
Money, K. (1982). Anna Pavlova: Her Life and Art, New York, pp. 425.
Nadezhdin, N.Ya. (2010). Anna Pavlova: From the Life of Swans, Moscow: Major; Osipenko, pp. 192.
Neishtadt, V.I. (1950). Extracts from Articles and Reviews about A. Pavlova’s Creativity Made to Work on the Study of the Ballet History, Russian State Archive of Literature and Art, File 1525, Inv. 1, Archival Unit 242.
Pavlova, A. (1882-1931). Catalogue of the Commemorative Exhibition Organized by the London Museum. (1956). London, pp. 27.
Portnova, T.V. (2015). The Role of the Artistic Works of Anna Pavlova in the Creation of Scenic Images, Russian Humanitarian Journal, 4(4), pp. 282-289.
Shergalin, E.E. (2014). Swans and Other Birds in the Life of Great Anna Pavlova (1881-1931), Russian Ornithological Magazine, 23(961), pp. 247-252.
Smirnova, V.N. (2004). Artistic Alter Ego of Anna Pavlova (Ph.D. Thesis Abstract), Saransk, pp. 17.
Smirnova, V.N. and T.A. Kozina (2011). Interpretation of A. Pavlova's Art in the Historical-Cultural Context of the "Silver Age", News of Penza State Pedagogical University named after V.G. Belinsky, 23, pp. 245-251.
Sobolev, Yu. (1914). Forever Feminine, Ramp and Life, 23, pp. 9-10.


Download data is not yet available.