Curious about what the Vaganova method entails in ballet? We have prepared a short introduction about Vaganova ballet for parents who are keen to know more about it.

The Vaganova method is a style of ballet classified according to the method of training and introduced by Agrippina Vaganova, a Russian ballet dancer. It fuses the French ballet romantic style with the Russian dramatic soulfulness, and the Italians’ athletic virtuosity. The Vaganova method is, thus, a reformation of the old style of ballet teaching. It features precise movements that express clean lines and subtle softness.

As for Vaganova’s pedagogical training, she focused on having precision in a teacher’s instruction. For example, when to teach what, the duration to teach a certain movement, and in what amount. Vaganova authored a book titled “The Foundation For Dance” (more commonly known as “Basic Principles of Russian Classical Dance”), which outlined her ideas on ballet technique and pedagogy.

Today the Vaganova method is the most common method of teaching ballet in Russia. It is also widely used in Europe and in North America. The Vaganova Ballet Academy continues to be associated with school of the former Imperial Russian Ballet, now known as the Mariinsky Ballet

The Vaganova method syllabus

The syllabus consists of eight levels up to diploma. Early training focuses on two aspects: epaulement, or the stylized turning of the shoulders and body, the development of total stability and strength in the back.

The training on epaulement instils in the dancer an intuitive anticipation of how best to use every part of his or her body to evoke breath taking results, right down to the hands and eyes. Stability and strength; in turn, helps the dancer to produce a balanced and harmonious coordination within the body and the continuity of movement.

How to distinguish Vaganova-trained dancers

A Vaganova-trained dancer is both strong and clean. They are usually soft and supple. They are also not stiff when performing on stage. The dancers effortlessly execute ballet movements by using their supple arms to contrast the movement of their legs.

Dancers who were trained in this method were taught to be strong and clean with subtle softness in their steps

Dancers who trained under the Vaganova method

Some of the greatest dancers, including Anna Pavlova, Natalia Makarova, Nureyev and Mikhail Baryshnikov, were trained through Vaganova’s pedagogy. Vaganova believed in precision within the teacher’s instruction, and the Vaganova Ballet Academy continues to have high demands for its students.

To give you child an early start in ballet, sign them up for ballet classes for kids to ensure that they will be taught by professional instructors on the fundamentals of ballet and even proceed to learning Vaganova ballet when they are older.