She was born in Sofia, and began her training in Paris. With the beginning of the Second World War, she barely escaped the Nazi advance through a reckless flight which was attacked by German planes. She finally arrived in England, where she enrolled in an art school and eventually joined the International Ballet in 1942.
Arova worked as a principle ballerina in the Original Ballets Russes, the London Festival Ballet, the Royal Ballet, and the American Ballet Theatre. She danced with Rudolph Nureyev in their American debut. She was a great success, with kings and queens presenting her presents in appreciation of her work. She became Artistic Director of the National Ballet of Norway in 1961 and in 1971 she co-directed the San Diego Ballet with her husband Thor Sutowski. The couple accepted teaching posts at the Alabama School of Fine Arts in 1976. During their stay, she was artistic director of the Alabama Ballet. In 1996, the pair returned to San Diego, where her daughter Ariane lives.