Russian. Studied at the Imperial Ballet School, St. Petersburg. Joined Imperial Ballet, St. Petersburg in 1899, was made prima ballerina in 1906.
Made several guest appearances in Europe in 1907. Was a guest artist with the Ballets Russes in 1909, partnering, among others, Vaslav Nijinsky. Resigned from the Imperial Ballet in 1913 and never returned to Russia. Founded her own company and toured the world with it for the rest of her life.
Anna Pavlova inspired at least three generations of women dancers, and is considered the best female dancer of all time, on a scale with Nijinsky. Michel Fokine created The Dying Swan for her, a role she will always be remembered in. Since 1974 her residence in London has been the Anna Pavlova Memorial Museum and the headquarters of the Pavlova Society. She died of pneumonia three days after insisting on performing in Paris instead of seeing a doctor or resting.