Russian Ballet Association

The Vaganova method

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Vaganova Method

The Vaganova method is developed by Russian dancer and pedagogue Agrippina Vaganova (1879-1951) under the influence of Premier Maitre de Ballet, Marius Petipa, in the late 19th century. The professional ballet technique and training system, merging French romantic style with the athleticism and virtuosity of Italian Cecchetti technique, puts enormous focus on progression. Such build-up comes in two forms – 

(i) in a class, a plié in first position at the barre gradually progresses to allegro in the centre with a range of exercises in between, and eventually prepares the muscles and joints for a solo and pas de deux performance; and 

(ii) in a professional dancer career, difficulty and complexity of exercises and combinations progresses each year. Vaganova (1943) stressed in her book Basic Principles of Classical Ballet: Russian Ballet Technique that a pupil shall practice more complex movements only after they have mastered the simpler ones in the previous levels through systematic and successive repetitions. Such progressive training system enables students to gradually develop physical strength, muscle memory and classical ballet techniques in a stable manner, ultimately enabling them to master stage performances.

Vaganova Training