What is the Vaganova Method?

“A single style, a single dance ‘handwriting,’ which manifests itself most clearly in the harmonious plasticity of movement and the expressiveness of the arms, in the responsive suppleness and at the same time the iron aplomb of the body, in the noble and natural placement of the head—and these are the distinctive traits of the ‘Vaganova school’.”

–Natalia Dudinskaya, former Vaganova student

Ballet Fantastique’s Professional Division classes follow the eight levels of the internationally renowned Vaganova Syllabus a notated and progressive training program that has produced some of the best dancers in the world, including Anna Pavlova, Mikhail Baryshnikov, the legendary choreographer George Balanchine, and professional dancers in almost every company in the world. The Vaganova Method combined elements of the French romantic ballet’s lyricism and the Italian ballet’s athleticism to reform the old imperial method of teaching.

The Vaganova method is a method of teaching classical ballet that was developed by Agrippina Vaganova. Vaganova spent 30 years teaching ballet and throughout this time she developed a dance technique and a method of teaching this technique. There are various aspects that define the Vaganova method including the development of lower back strength and arm plasticity, and the requisite strength, flexibility and endurance for ballet. The Vaganova method of training focuses on the ability of the dancer to perform a classical pas de deux and concentrates on precision in a teacher’s instruction.

The Vaganova lessons are very well planned out because Vaganova did not believe in the improvisation of a teacher at a lesson. The method ensures that the dancers understand the reason behind every exercise. The Ballet Fantastique students don’t only learn how to master a step, but also how to perform it correctly and its purpose. Vaganova’s system strives to promote dancing with the whole body in order to acquire a combination of movement to widen the range of the dancer’s ability.

The Vaganova method is considered to be very clean, with precise movements that express clean lines yet softness underneath. Even though Ballet Fantastique’s Vaganova-trained dancers are very strong and clean, they are still able to perform softly and beautifully on stage without robotic stiffness. For more information about classes at Ballet Fantastique, click here!

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