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Guest somedaySAB

Balanchine vs. Vaganova

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Guest somedaySAB

I'm not sure if this topic will fit into this category, so if it doesn't please delete if it doesn't belong. But I've heard that it's good to learn vaganova first to establish good technique, and then stylize with Balanchine. But...my school is very strange because...my teacher claims we are in "fourth year work" but we are hardly even turning en pointe yet and never do grande jetes across the floor. Everyone is getting bulky muscles because for some reason my teachers will not let us stretch! They make us keep our legs at exactly 90 degrees, no higher. We move painfully slow all of the time, (sometimes 16 count grande plies!!) and when we do move fast it is hard for some girls because their bodies aren't really "awake" if you know what I mean. I'm very frustrated with the lack of movement in our class and was wondering if Balanchine would be better...I mean, I'm dying to go move and breathe, but I can't. And I'm sure George Balanchine would be mortified to see a class at my school. Does anyone have any suggestions? Or expereinces with either Vaganova or Balanchine? Thanks

 

p.s. sorry this is so long! and whiney, maybe...:P

Edited by somedaySAB

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Guest ballet_sugar_pointe

I have slightly bulky muscles....is there anyway to reduce the bulkiness that you know of?

i already do splits and stuff but i don't think they work.

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littlegelsey

hey-

i dont know of anything you can do about bulky muscles...maybe just stretch on your own but it would be hard to know good stretches if you never do them in class :thumbsup: i understand going slowly to get good technique and training but it seems like your class is going really slowly. my school is kind of in the middle i guess... :blushing: i could understand how those slow classes must make you feel...i love to go fast. :thumbsup: im guessing they make you keep your legs low and move slowly to have perfect technique and thats good but you also have to be challenged so you can improve. i dont know you might like balanchine or something else better...you could always try to go to a more balanchine summer intensive and see how you liked it. sorry that you are frustrated :P

~Sarah

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Victoria Leigh

Okay, dancers, this is a technique question, and the rule here is, moderators first, in order to be sure that no misinformation is given.

 

It is not a question of Balanchine or Vaganova, it is a question of teaching. Vaganova is a method, with a very sound syllabus. Balanchine is a style, which can be added any time. HOWEVER, how the Vaganova, or any other syllabus is TAUGHT is the question. It sounds to me like the teaching in your school is the problem. What you describe is WAY too slow, and will develop nothing but big muscles. You will not learn to DANCE. Therefore, you need a different school, but not necessarily a different method.

 

Please let me know if you understand this. I am saying that it is NOT the syllabus method, it is the teaching. Sixteen count grand pliés are totally ridiculous, not stretching is not a good thing, and keeping your legs low is only valid if you are not capable of getting it higher while maintaining proper alignment and rotation. Sometimes lowering the legs to accomplish this is necessary. But doing everything so slowly that you never move and really dance is absurd.

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Mel Johnson

Crikie! That is really, really old-fashioned stuff, all that slowness, and is almost guaranteed to produce the Thunder Thighs! Classes back in Arthur St.Léon's day used to have that sort of thing, but then, those dancers looked a lot like easy chairs to begin with!

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Guest somedaySAB

Yes...it is pretty old fashioned. I have talked to my parents about finding a better school, and we are looking for one that isn't too far away. Thank you both very much for your help...I guess meanwhile I'll just stretch and stretch and stretch and deal with the plies... :P

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vrsfanatic
..."fourth year work" but we are hardly even turning en pointe yet and never do grande jetes across the floor. Everyone is getting bulky muscles because for some reason my teachers will not let us stretch! They make us keep our legs at exactly 90 degrees, no higher. We move painfully slow all of the time, (sometimes 16 count grande plies!!)...

 

You may find a simple list of the Vaganova program in the book written by Kostravitskaya, The School of Classical Ballet. Although this list of the 8 year program is not currently up to date, it will give you a good idea of what the vocabulary for each year of study is. There is not, nor has there ever been a 16 count grand plie in the program. Grand plie is introduced in the 2nd half of the 1st year of study in 8 slow counts...4 down and 4 up. By the end of the 1st year it is done in 4 counts...2 down and 2 up. You are correct to question 16 counts. Are you working to CD by any chance? It is very difficult to find recorded music for Vaganova lower level classes since all of the music currently on the market is too fast. There are CDs available in Japan that are directly from the Vaganova Adademy in St. Petersburg, Russia that work quite well. IMO, pianists in the US generally are not patient enough to play the required slowness for the lower level classes.

 

As for the allegro movements, in the 5th year of study grand allegro is introduced in the most basic forms. What is recognized in the West as grand allegro is not approached until the students are in the 6th year and up.

 

As for bulky muscles...they stretch constantly in Vaganova school from pre-ballet through company level, so I am not sure why your current teachers will not allow you and your classmates to do so.

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Guest somedaySAB

I think I will look at the list you recomended--I think it could be very helpful. You're right, we do dance to a C.D, though my teachers are trying to find a pianist (it's going to be my sister! :) ) She tells me she doesn't like playing slow, too. Well, I asked one of the graduating students at my school why we are not allowed to stretch. She said, "Because if you stretch, all of the strength you just worked for in class will be lost." I think that sounds a little weird...

My teachers also make up put ribbons on our shoes, because they say that "all of the very professional schools are doing it, like the Vaganova Academy in Russia." Is this true? :shrug:

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Victoria Leigh

It seems to be used primarily in the Vaganova based schools. I know of no other schools who use the ribbons on ballet slippers.

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Skye90

I'm not very familiar with this whole Vagnova/Balanchine thing. My teacher occasionally mentions balanchine as she dance with that style or something at one company. Anyway, I'm just wondering...does each school teach a certain style, and what would RAD be? If the question isn't really relevant, it's becasue I'm not familiar with this. :)

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Victoria Leigh

Skye, ballet training is generally based on a "method", or "syllabus" for teaching. RAD means Royal Academy of Dance, and is a method used in many schools, especially in Great Britain and Australia. The Cecchetti (Italian) method is another well known system of training, as is Vaganova (Russian) and Bournonville (Danish). There are great similarities in the methods, as well as some differences, but they are all constructed to train a classical dancer.

 

Many schools also use a mix of these methods and do not adhere to one particular way of teaching. They develop their own method by using what they feel are the things that work best for their students.

 

Balanchine is a style, not a method. It is based on the choreography of George Balanchine, and the way the dancers have to move in his ballets.

 

All of the methods are good, but depend totally on how well they are taught. There are wonderful RAD teachers and Vaganova, Cecchetti, and Bournonville teachers, and there are many teachers who do not have the ability to teach any method very well. So, what is important is the quality of the teaching, not the specific system used in the training. They all work, IF they are well taught! :)

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LMD

Wow! 16 count plies almost sounds like a punishment.

 

LMD

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Guest somedaySAB

Yes--it feels like punishment too! :shrug::D

Edited by somedaySAB

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