Voiced by Emmy®-winning actress Blythe Danner, “Mia, a dancer’s journey” tells the story of an immigrant ballerina who inspired generations. 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.
Otis College of Arts and Design says that “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”.
Before she died, Slavenska’s daughter, Maria Ramas, promised to tell her mother’s story. The film brings to life Slavenska’s odyssey as an expatriated artist pioneering her craft. And I wrote about this great film and about Mia Slavenska in November last year and, of course, it was a double dose of “Croatian delight” and pride that came with Brenda Brkusic-Milinkovic, of Croatian heritage, as one of the film’s producers! The other producers of the film are Maria Ramas, Kate Johnson and Ted Sprague.
Well there came a triple “Croatian delight” and pride with Mia Slavenska: the film “Mia, a dancer’s journey” won the Emmy Award, Arts and Culture History category at the 67th Los Angeles Area Emmy® Awards presentation on Saturday, July 25, 2015 at The Skirball Cultural Center Guerin Pavilion in Herscher Hall. The Los Angeles Area nominees were selected by national active and Los Angeles Area Peer Group active members within the Television Academy. The ceremony, which was hosted by Scott Aukerman delivered awards in 50 categories spanning from sports and news coverage to entertainment and medical programming. Presenters for the evening included 12 anchors, reporters and producers from various sports and news stations.
At the acceptance of the Emmy it was such as fabulous thrill to hear Brenda Brkusic Milinkovic saying in the Croatian language that this award was also “for all Croatians in the homeland and in the diaspora” as well (at 2hr 10min of video Emmay Awards at this link).
And to make success even greater Brenda Brkusic Milinkovic won a second Emmy Award – Variety Studio: Actors on Actors. Congratulations, Brenda! Thank you for playing such a significant role in ensuring the greatness of Mia Slavenska – Mia Corak – is now forever preserved in film and so highly esteemed and acclaimed. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)