While ballet has been in Russia and the countries of the former Soviet republics for many years, the current excellence of Russian dancers can be attributed to the efforts of St. Petersburg ballerina Agrippina J. Vaganova, who in the early 1900s began to create an exceptional method of teaching classical dance. Only a woman of great analytical ability could develop such a detailed teaching system. It is now used as the basis of training in both Russia and the West and produces dancers of exceptional virtuosity that go on to dance in leading positions with ballets all over the world.
The Vaganova method is designed to involve the whole body in every movement, with equal attention paid to the upper body, legs and feet as well as the development of lower back strength and arm plasticity, and the strength, flexibility and endurance required for ballet. A strong torso is a necessity for the Vaganova method, as the torso forms the foundation of all movements. Vaganova believed that this approach increases consciousness of the body, thus creating a harmony of movement and greater expressive range. Many movements of the Vaganova technique require dancers to remain in the air for as long as possible to give them an illusion of floating through the air, which requires great flexibility and extension. Dancers trained by the Vaganova method will likely have high jumps and powerful turns, aided by the use of the arms. Due to its specific training system, the Vaganova method is widely considered to be injury-free when taught correctly. All of our teachers are professionals trained in this methodology.
Vaganova achieved fame as one of the most important teachers in ballet history. The list of dancers trained in the Vaganova method reads like the “who is who” of ballet: Rudolf Nureyev, Irina Kolpakova, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Natalia Makarova, Yuri Soloviev, Altynai Asylmuratova, Diana Vishneva and Svetlana Zakharova. Today, Vaganova is the primary method used by many full-time ballet schools as well as most professional companies around the world. Many world renowned ballets have Vaganova-trained principal dancers and use Vaganova-trained balletmasters and ballet mistresses for their classes as a necessary and positive influence on the company dancers. Today, the Vaganova method is the only method taught in the countries of the former Soviet Union.
For learning more about A. Vaganova and her method, please check out the following videos: