Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The RSPCA and Pavlova's Ballet Company

Also we often had trouble when we gave the ballet "Don Quixote". The large number of additional artists and supers made it very difficult to stage the ballet on a small scale. Another difficulty was that this ballet required a horse and a donkey. When we gave it for the first time in London the donkey brought to the theatre was a beautiful little animal, but the coffee coloured horse appeared far too smart and wellfed for the part. The matter was put right by an artist-decorator, who happened to be working in the theatre. What he did was very simple; he painted such prominent ribs and gave the horse such a wretched look, that on the day after the performance an inspector of the RSPCA came to the theatre. He showed us a letter received by the Society from some tender-hearted old lady, saying that she had been indignant to see at our performance in what a terrible condition we kept our horse. But when he saw the horse without the make-up, the inspector was completely satisfied. It was only very tiresome that this make-up had to be put on anew at every performance for the horse's owner refused to ride it home in that state.

Anna Pavlova in art and life by Victor Dandre. 1932. Pages117-8.

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