Famous Ballerina Sonia Arova
Famous Bulgarian ballerina Sonia Arova was born in 1927. She started early ballet training at the Opera Ballet in Sofia and then continued the it in Paris under guidance of brilliant ballet teachers and dancers Olga Preobrajenska and Serge Lifar. At the beginning of the World War 2 she managed to escape Nazis and arrived in England where she joined the International Ballet in 1942.
As her amazing dancing skills got noticed her international fame rose. Sonia traveled all over the world performing as a principal dancer in the the Original Ballets Russes, the London Festival Ballet, the Royal Ballet, and the American Ballet Theatre. Ballet genius Rudolph Nureyev danced with Sonia at their American ballet debut.
In 1961 she headed the National Ballet of Norway as the artistic director and was so successful that later, in a ceremony at the United Nations, she was made a Lady by the Norwegian king Olaf V. Sonia co-directed the San Diego ballet and before retirement was an artistic director of the Alabama ballet while teaching at the Alabama School of Fine Arts. She died in 2001 of pancreatic cancer.
In 1729 when a boy was born in the popular theatrical family in Florence. They named him Gaetano Appolino Baldassare Vestris. Nobody in the family could even dream that one day this boy would become the most famous French male ballet dancers of the 18th century. However, even as a teenager Gaetano Vestris showed so many talents in ballet that he got a chance to study dance at the Royal Academy in Paris. There he shortened his Italian name to Gaetan Vestris.
His dancing debut took place when he was only some twenty years old at the famous Paris Opera. Soon Gaetan Vestris became the favorite dancer of the French royal family and went up the career ladder even further. He was promoted to the title of the king’s dancing master and was teaching his technique to Louis XVI.
Gaetan Vestris entered the history of ballet not only because of his excellent dancing abilities. He was also the first ballet dancer who discarded the mask that traditionally was worn by European dancers. After he removed the mask he made another historical innovation – Vestris started using his face in mime and succeeded in it as he was not only great dancer but an excellent mimic as well.
In the middle of 18th century nobody could compete with his popularity as well as with his ego. His contemporaries claimed that not once Gaetan would say that his was one of three greatest men in Europe, comparing himself to the king of Prussia and Voltaire.
Gaetan Vestris was also lucky in marriage. He married German actress Anna Heinel and who had a brilliant career as a opera singer of European prominence. His children followed his steps. For example, his illegitimate son Auguste Vestris was the leading dancer of French Opera for 36 years.
As the years rolled by he became the First Ballet master and was also composing ballets but, eventually retired in 1776 and died quietly in 1808. Another great ballet master Jean Georges Noverre took his place and worked on creating famous ballet d’action.