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Vaganova method


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Just wanted more information about the Vaganova method of teaching ballet. I know that there are various syllabi out there and that some teachers teach a combination of RAD, Cecchetti or Vaganova.


However, I just wanted to know what the difference really is? (Aside from the obvious fact that Vaganova is Russian and the rest are either Italian or French, or English). I noticed that in the Gail Grant book (Technical Manual of Ballet), the positions are different and the terms are slightly different at times. Even the methods of going en pointe are different. (rolling through versus "springing up").


Given a choice, is it better to follow a particular method rather than the hodge-podge of various teaching methods? There is one place close to me that teaches Vaganova, but I can't find any other place that teaches any other syllabus. In addition, Vaganova claims that the method results in fewer injuries. What advantage does following a syllabus really have other than standardization?


As an adult dancer with several years of ballet, I find that I still don't know the differences and am wondering if I should. I am not thinking of dancing professionally, but I do want to learn as much as I can about ballet as I am quite fascinated with the different teaching methods and would love to know more.


Can anyone sum it up for me?

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Duckie, Vaganova training was developed by Agrippina Vaganova especially for the use of the Leningrad Choreographic Academy throughout the 1920s and 30s, and continued developing until her death. Her students and their students have since built upon her basic model. It sprang from the basic curriculum that was in use by the former Imperial Ballet School of the Maryinsky Theater, which had been the Russo/Italian/French mélange that most of the world "speaks" today, as modified and reformed by the Legat brothers, Sergei and Nicolai.


The Vaganova technique has no "external" programs, as does the RAD and Cecchetti, regulated by parent organizations in both Britain and the US, and so its pedagogy is entirely dependent on individual teachers. Some are quite absolutist, and teach the system just the same as if they were in St. Petersburg, which is good and bad at the same time. Good, in that the very correct benefits of the system are preserved along with the fluid arms and supple backs it is especially well-known for, but bad in that it assumes that the student will be working on a raked stage and the weight is often very far back on the foot, into the heels, and also the assumption is made that the students are all as in Petersburg, with bodies hand-picked for success, and near-perfect rotation and turnout to start with!


Some other teachers are what I call the "realist" school, who use their training as an overall influence on what they teach, and who use the lexicon of step names and positions as taught in Vaganova. We have several of this school as posters on Ballet Alert! They are "realists" however, in that they haven't frozen in time, but use the raw material they're given and utilize the curriculum to gain more correct application, even if perfection wasn't "built in"!


As to safety, the RAD claims the first in this category, but I lack statistics to back up the claim. As Vaganova is not systematized outside Petersburg, safety will vary, again, with the teacher. In Petersburg, it's really quite safe, but injuries will occur in any system, no matter what.


If you have several years of ballet under your belt, and are not headed for any kind of a professional performing career, I say go ahead and mix up the various schools - variety is the spice of life! :) I'd advise differently for a beginning student, to limit confusion.

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How do you pronounce Vaganova.


Is the emphasis on the "no" part, as in vagaNOva, or on the "ga" part, as in vaGAnova?


I'd always assumed that the first example was the correct pronounciation, but heard the latter the other day........






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I must say, this is some of the most level-headed discussion of Vaganova method I've heard yet.

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