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Documentary: Future Princes of Ballet (YouTube)

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There's a lot of good video on YouTube -- and I like this two-part documentary series on ballet, in English, and set at the Vaganova Academy. 

This documentary is about pre-professionals who are training for a career -- and I'm NOT in that category.  However, I am a older male adult dancer, and I found it instructional to see how Russian education is these days for males.  My interest in Russian.  So, I'm interested these days on "Russian" and "Vaganova" ideas on ballet.

The series was produced by NHK World Japan:

The Vaganova Academy in Russia is the world's leading ballet school. Meet its graduating boys' class as they rehearse for a show at the Mariinsky Theatre and audition for the top ballet companies.   https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/ondemand/program/video/futureprince/?type=tvEpisode&

 

Edited by dancemaven
Removed embedded videos per BT4D Rules and Policies.

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vrsfanatic

Thank you for these links. Both are well produced and professional.

"Vaganova" schooling has not made many huge adjustments since originally conceived by a team of Russian teachers, originally in St. Petersburg with Agrippina Vaganova and Nikolai Tarasov at the head, codified the program with the 1st book being published in 1934.  Two schools eventually developed simultaneously in Moscow, headed by Tarasov and in St. Petersburg by Vaganova. Vaganova passed away in 1951, while Tarasov, later in 1975. The differences are small. With each new director comes small changes. Vaganova schooling has produced some of the world's most renown dancers.

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marktab

vrsfanatic, Thanks for the feedback, and good to hear from a forum moderator.  Are you an actively instructing adults at the HARID Conservatory?

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vrsfanatic

No, we do not have adult students at HARID. We are a high school.

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Redbookish

There is a very interesting discussion about these programmes on  the UK "sister" site to this one: BalletCo. Several of the UK/European posters there have children who studied at the Vaganova Institute as pre-professional students and have some interesting things to say about their dancing children's experiences as students of the Institute.

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5uptown

As the parent of a teen male dancer, I found this documentary interesting (I definitely learned some things about the Russian training and employment) but it was rather upsetting to watch-- I don't know if it was being dramatized through editing for the program, but the way these adolescent students were being treated made me very unhappy. I would not want my child subjected to that, especially if he was living away from home and without family to help him process and make sense of it. They are very young. And the bit that is observed towards the beginning, where a female student is dismissed for weighing too much (and told this, in front of the rest of her class). I am not a dancer, but I am a parent and an educator, and it really made me uncomfortable. 

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vrsfanatic

May I interject that the method of teaching used in the Vaganova Academy does not require the impoliteness used by some teachers. The Russian culture is different than that in the West. Their value system is different from that of the US and other places. Please do not place blame on the method of teaching for the cultural differences in how one may be treated. This is about the person doing the teaching. This is not about the Russian system of teaching ballet commonly known as Vaganova.

When I was a student at Vaganova, I did see a few teachers who did not conduct themselves with good manners, but most were helpful, to the point and inspired the students. 

I have had one student successfully complete Vaganova Academy and two others are currently enrolled.Two were/are divinely happy and one has a teacher who is publically critical and very aggressive. You are correct in accessing that children going away to school do need a support system behind them. Being in a foreign country can make the process more complex.

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Redbookish
1 hour ago, vrsfanatic said:

The Russian culture is different than that in the West. Their value system is different from that of the US and other places.

Absolutely, VRS!

Generalising madly, there are clear cultural differences on display in that documentary, which are not to do with the teaching method. On the other ballet discussion board I referenced upthread, there is the mother of a young man, not in the video, but taught by Mr Tsaradiske [sp?]  and now in the Mariinsky company. Yes, the teaching is tough, but according to that ballet parent, it comes from a place of deep care, & most of the young men adore their teacher. 

And I was just having a conversation over Christmas with a Dutch colleague and my German family, all together in the UK.  We all laughingly agreed that if the Germans were direct - in a way that the English sometimes feel is "rude" - then the Dutch were even more so! In my experience of Russian friends & colleagues, I think most Russians I know are like the Dutch or Germans - they are not rude, but they are direct.

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vrsfanatic
24 minutes ago, Redbookish said:
24 minutes ago, Redbookish said:

 

And I was just having a conversation over Christmas with a Dutch colleague and my German family, all together in the UK.  We all laughingly agreed that if the Germans were direct - in a way that the English sometimes feel is "rude" - then the Dutch were even more so! In my experience of Russian friends & colleagues, I think most Russians I know are like the Dutch or Germans - they are not rude, but they are direct.

LOL, my dear late husband was East German. He was quite renown in the ballet world. Very direct. What he considered honesty, others considered too much. It is about who the people are and their respective cultures.

I have seen what could be considered cruel behavior from all nationalities as well as kindness. It is about the people.

 

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Redbookish

Yes, indeed, VRS! 😃

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balletfan

I enjoyed this production. Nikolay Tsiskaridze is a one-off - talent and drama to the max.  

To be fair to the teachers, many viewers have commented on the poor translation provided in this documentary.  Also the selective editing plays into the drama.

- The conversation around the weight issue was a snippet of the full interaction between the teacher and young girl.  While I loathe the push for extremely thin dancers in the ballet world, I think the main difference here is that the Russians (and Germans...) tell you outright. 

- The cultural differences are significant.  My young daughter has done Bolshoi international intensives.  We laugh at how different the teachers' style is from her usual experience.  With little English spoken and not a lot of smiles (compared to her home studio teachers), she still knows which teachers like her.  She still signs up for more.  

 

 

 

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