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 »  Home  »  People  »  Mia Slavenska Croatian-American ballerina broadcast premiere "Mia, a Dancer's Journey"
 »  Home  »  In Memoriam  »  Mia Slavenska Croatian-American ballerina broadcast premiere "Mia, a Dancer's Journey"
 »  Home  »  Culture And Arts  »  Mia Slavenska Croatian-American ballerina broadcast premiere "Mia, a Dancer's Journey"
Mia Slavenska Croatian-American ballerina broadcast premiere "Mia, a Dancer's Journey"
By Nenad N. Bach and Darko ®ubriniæ | Published  11/30/2014 | People , In Memoriam , Culture And Arts | Unrated
The film will have a film festival premiere at the Lincoln Center in New York in January, 2015.



 
Summary. "Mia, a dancer's journey" aired November 20th on PBS SoCaL in Southern California and received great ratings and great reviews in the press! Viewers can catch an encore of the film on PBS SoCaL, Thursday, January 29, 2015 at 9 pm! For a list a channels visit


Please, visit also


In February 2015, the film will be released to PBS stations across the country and millions of Americans will have access to this film on television. This is the first time a film like this about a Croatian American ballerina has been distributed nationally on Public Television and we are very happy about this accomplishment. Adding to the excitement, the film will have a film festival premiere at the Lincoln Center in New York in January, 2015.

Click here for a 30 second preview video of the film.

Click here for a 3 minutes and 22 seconds summary of the film.



Mia Slavenska 1916-2002, Croatian-American ballerina


On the left Kate Johnson, the film's director and producer.
Brenda Brkusic in the middle, the film’s producer and the Executive Producer of Program Development and
National Productions for PBS SoCaL. On the right, Maria Ramas, the film's writer, director and producer.

 
On November 16, 2014, the Croatian American Women's Club hosted a preview screening of "Mia, a dancer's journey" at St. Anthony's Croatian Catholic Church Parish Center in Los Angeles. The screening was held in association with PBS SoCaL, the national presenting station for the film. Over 200 people attended the screening, including famous dancer Ana Trebunskaya, from the hit TV show "Dancing with the Stars". There were as multiple writers from the Los Angeles area press in attendance as well as a PBS SoCaL camera crew and photographer.  Also in attendance: Maria Ramas, the film's writer, director and producer, Kate Johnson, the film's director and producer and Brenda Brkusic, the film's producer. 



Maryann Zovak Wieder, President of the Croatian American Women's Club, opened the event with remarks about the club's mission, the historical significance of the church in Los Angeles, how thrilled the Club was to be hosting the screening, before going on to introduce the film's producers.  Brenda Brkusic, one of the film's producers and also the Executive Producer of Program Development and National Productions for PBS SoCaL, said in her speech "It's not that often that we hear of our Croatian American contributions to this country being mentioned in the media.

There are many Croatian Americans with incredible stories to tell. Mia's greatest contribution to our culture was her life's work, and she made a profound contribution to dance in America. We have PBS SoCaL to thank for supporting this independent film and for being willing to tell the stories of people who aren't normally represented in the media and who don't normally have a voice. The film and this community gathering today really represent the heart and core of public broadcasting. We believe this film is a shining example of public broadcasting's commitment to the arts and we are thrilled that the life of this Croatian American and her contributions to dance in America will be seen by PBS viewers across the nation."

The audience was very engaged throughout the movie, and many experienced both laughter and tears throughout the presentation. After the film, guests enjoyed having their photograph taken with the filmmakers  https://www.flickr.com/photos/pbssocal/sets/72157648949121858/ as well as being interviewed by PBS SoCaL for this video http://video.pbssocal.org/video/2365372553/

For updates about the film, including upcoming broadcast dates on PBS stations around the country, visit www.pbssocal.org/mia .



Mia Èorak, a young Croatian ballerina in 1920s, who later became famous under her artistic name of Mia Slavenska.


Mia Slavenska 

PBS SoCaL presents Mia, a dancer’s journey, airing locally on PBS SoCaL January 29 2015 at 9pm, and on PBS stations nationally in spring, 2015.

Mia Slavenska was one of the most celebrated ballerinas of the 20th century, Croatia’s greatest dancer, and a pioneer in American ballet. Caught in the maelstrom of 20th century political events, she was forced to leave her native Croatia at age twenty in order to continue to dance; at age twenty-one, she was celebrated in Western Europe as the likely successor to prima Ballerina Anna Pavlova; and, at age twenty-three, she was emigrating to the United States with the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo to escape a looming world war.

When Mia arrived in the late 1930s, she found an America where outside of major cities ballet was known as “fancy dancing” and “toe dancing” and was most often performed as variety acts in music reviews and movie halls. She was one of a small band of famous European émigré ballerinas who changed the face of American culture by introducing audiences across the country to ballet as an art form. Without Mia and her émigré colleagues, choreographer George Balanchine’s American revolution in ballet would never have made it past the borders of New York City.

Mia was a modernist, one of the few ballerinas to form her own company. She moved freely between modern and ballet idioms. In 1952, she convinced Tennessee Williams to allow her ballet company to produce a ballet version of A Streetcar Named Desire. It was the first time a modern play was turned into a ballet.

With her portrayal of Blanche Dubois, Mia Slavenska became a truly American artist.

But her daughter, Maria, remembers her mother’s halcyon days of dancing only vaguely. Slavenska retired from the stage in the early 1960s when Maria was still a young girl. Mostly, Maria remembers her mother’s preoccupation with her lost fame. At the end of her life, Slavenska was haunted by the fear of obscurity and spent over twenty years of her life writing and rewriting her memoirs. When Slavenska died in 2002, her memoirs remained unpublished and she believed that she had been completely forgotten, not only in the United States but also in her native land of Croatia. Before Slavenska died, Maria promised that she would tell her mother’s story. This film is the keeping of that promise. As Maria retraces her mother’s life journey, she unearths the story of a maverick ballerina and a lost time in American dance. And, Maria makes a most surprising discovery: Mia Slavenska hasn’t been forgotten after all.

“Mia, a dancer’s journey” was co-produced for public broadcasting by Slavenska Dance Preservation, Inc., and PBS SoCaL. Writer, Producer, Director: Maria Ramas, Producer, Director, Editor: Kate Johnson, Producer: Brenda Brkusic, Producer: Ted Sprague, with Mia Slavenska’s voice by Emmy® Award-winning actress Blythe Danner. For PBS SoCaL: President and CEO: Mel Rogers. COO: Andy Russell. Station Manager: Ed Miskevich. Executive Producer of Program Development and  National Productions: Brenda Brkusic. Program Development Coordinator: Michelle Merker.
 
Source www.pbssocal.org/tv/nationalproductions/mia/



Mia Slavenska, portrait by distinguished Croatian painter Maxo Vanka

 
COSTA MESA, Calif. (August 27, 2014) – PBS SoCaL, PBS for Greater Los Angeles, presents “Mia, a dancer’s journey,” the story of one of the most celebrated ballerinas of the 20th century, Mia Slavenska. The documentary premieres November 20, 2014 at 7:00 p.m. as a part of PBS SoCaL’s commitment to highlight the arts and the remarkable stories of legendary Southern California influencers.

“Mia, a dancer’s journey” is a narrative of a daughter telling the story of her mother – one of the world’s greatest dancers. Voiced by the Emmy® award-winning actress Blythe Danner, the documentary features interviews from historians as well as from colleagues Slavenska influenced as a dancer and friend. The film brings to life Slavenska’s odyssey as an expatriated artist pioneering her craft in America with the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo.  Later, settling in Los Angeles in the early 1940s, she was one of the few ballerinas to strike out on her own, launching Ballet Variante and, later, the Slavenska Franklin Ballet. Her performances spanned dance styles, decades and countries from her native Croatia to the U.S.

“Mia Slavenska was quite an extraordinary artist who lived a dramatic and inspiring life,” said Blythe Danner. “It was an honor to represent her voice in this moving documentary.”

Driven by her own restless creativity, Slavenska rose to fame in her native Croatia, becoming the first Croat prima ballerina. Caught in the maelstrom of 20th century political events, she was forced to leave her country in order to continue to dance. Within a year she was celebrated in Western Europe as the likely successor to Anna Pavlova. However, with World War II looming, she escaped to the U.S. as one of the stars of the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo.

When Slavenska arrived to America in the late 1930s, she found a country where, outside of major cities, ballet was little known. Barnstorming across the country for nearly two decades, performing in small-town theaters and gymnasiums, she was one of a small band of famous European émigré ballerinas who changed the face of American dance by introducing audiences across the country to ballet as an art form.

A modernist, Slavenska again broke new ground when she convinced Tennessee Williams to allow her to produce a ballet version of A Streetcar Named Desire. When it premiered on Broadway, it was the first time a contemporary American play and movie was turned into a ballet. Slavenska portrayed Blanche Dubois to critical acclaim, but was most proud of Tennessee Williams telling her that she was his favorite Blanche.

Slavenska retired from the stage in 1961 and spent the rest of her life teaching, first in New York City and from the late 1960s on, in Los Angeles. During  her  30-year  teaching  career,  she  was  an  important  influence  on  many  Southern California dancers,  as a founding faculty member of the dance department at the California Institute for the Arts and serving on the faculty of the UCLA Dance Department.

In spite of her artistic success in America and abroad, the feeling of living in exile haunted Slavenska throughout her life.  War and communist rule prevented Slavenska from ever returning home. At the end of her life, she feared that she had been forgotten, not only in the U.S. but also in her native Croatia.  Before she died, Slavenska’s daughter, Maria, promised to tell her mother’s story.  As Maria retraces Slavenska’s life journey, she unearths the story of a maverick ballerina and a lost time in American dance.

And, Maria makes a most surprising discovery:  Mia Slavenska hasn’t been forgotten after all.

“PBS SoCaL is thrilled to share the story of Mia’s incredible journey as an émigré artist who overcame adversity and contributed significantly to the American cultural landscape,” said PBS SoCaL Executive Producer of Program Development and National Productions, Brenda Brkusic. “This film will serve to educate, entertain and enlighten PBS viewers across the country and we hope to inspire others to be a part of the effort to reveal this important story to the nation.”

“Mia, a dancer’s journey” was co-produced for public television by Slavenska Dance Preservation, Inc., and PBS SoCaL. The film is directed by Maria Ramas and Kate Johnson and produced by Maria Ramas, Kate Johnson, Brenda Brkusic and Ted Sprague. Funding for the program was made possible in part by The National Endowment for the Arts. Art works, Women in Film, Dance Films Association, The Herman Lissner Foundation, The Tcherepnin Foundation, The PBS SoCaL Program Excellence Fund for the Arts and Mladen and Nada Buntich. For more information, please visit pbssocal.org/mia.

Source www.pbssocal.org/blogs/media-room/pbs-socal-presents-the-story-of-an-immigrant-ballerina-who-inspired-generations/



Mia Èorak Slavenska February 20, 1916 – October 5, 2002, The greatest Croatian ballerina, one of greatest in history



Mia Slavenska in her appartment in Los Angeles.
Born in Croatia, her earthy remains have been burried, upon her last wish, in the city cemetery Mirogoj of Croatia's capital Zagreb.

 
Mia Slavenska was one of the most celebrated ballerinas of the 20th century and now her daughter Maria brings to light the story of this maverick ballerina and a lost time in American dance.

Watch an interview with the filmmakers that aired on PBS SoCaL’s LAaRT program.



Mia Slavenska in the ballet version of Tenessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire.
Photo by Marcus Blechman.

 
Mia Slavenska was one of the most celebrated ballerinas of the 20th century, Croatia’s greatest dancer, and a pioneer in American ballet. Caught in the maelstrom of 20th century political events, she was forced to leave her native Croatia at age twenty in order to continue to dance; at age twenty-one, she was celebrated in Western Europe as the likely successor to prima Ballerina Anna Pavlova; and, at age twenty-three, she was emigrating to the United States with the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo to escape a looming world war.

“Mia, a dancer’s journey” was co-produced for public broadcasting by Slavenska Dance Preservation, Inc., and PBS SoCaL. Writer, Producer, Director: Maria Ramas, Producer, Director, Editor: Kate Johnson, Producer: Brenda Brkusic, Producer: Ted Sprague, with Mia Slavenska’s voice by Emmy® Award-winning actress Blythe Danner. For PBS SoCaL: President and CEO: Mel Rogers. COO: Andy Russell. Station Manager: Ed Miskevich. Executive Producer of Program Development and National Productions: Brenda Brkusic. Program Development Coordinator: Michelle Merker.



Mia Slavenska in Vogue

PBS SoCaL preview screening of “Mia, a dancer’s journey” in Los Angeles,
hosted by the Croatian American Women’s Club.

Brenda Brku¹iæ addressing to the audience

Maryann Zovak Weider, President of the Croatian American Women’s Club,
announces the start of the preview screening of Mia, a dancer's journey in Los Angeles.


Formated for CROWN by Darko ®ubriniæ
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