November 10, 2014 17:51 ET

PBS SoCaL Premieres the Story of an Immigrant Ballerina Who Inspired Generations on Nov. 20

COSTA MESA, CA--(Marketwired - Nov 10, 2014) - PBS SoCaL, PBS for Greater Los Angeles, presents "Mia, a dancer's journey," the story of celebrated 20th century ballerina, 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 stories of legendary Southern California influencers. The documentary will also air on PBS SoCal Plus November 20, 2014 at 9:00 p.m., and on November 21, 2014 at 6:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. Audiences are encouraged to check local listings for show times when the documentary nationally airs in 2015.

"Mia, a dancer's journey" is voiced by Emmy® award-winning actress Blythe Danner and features a narrative of a daughter telling the story of her mother's odyssey as an expatriated artist pioneering her craft in America.

"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."

Slavenska achieved fame as the first prima ballerina in Croatia, but fled to Europe to escape troubling 20th century political events. She later escaped to the U.S. to avoid World War II. In America, Slavenska performed with other émigré ballerinas and introduced U.S. audiences to ballet as an art form. She retired from the stage in 1961 and dedicated her life to teaching. Before she died, Slavenska's daughter, Maria, promised to tell her mother's story.

"PBS SoCaL is thrilled to share Mia's story and journey as an émigré artist who overcame adversity and contributed to the American cultural landscape," said PBS SoCaL Executive Producer of Program Development and National Productions, Brenda Brkusic. "We hope the film educates, entertains and inspires PBS viewers across the country."

"Mia, a dancer's journey" was co-produced 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

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