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Vaganova System

The Vaganova System, frequently termed as Russian Ballet, is like the RAD and Cecchetti created through a fusion of European styles.  In 1916, Agrippina Vaganova, a renowned ballerina of her time, retired from dancing and furthered her career as a ballet teacher. As a teacher at the State School of Ballet in Leningrad she created her own method of classical ballet training, fusing styles of the Imperial Russian Ballet technique and system of instruction, with aspects of the more vigorous Soviet ballet developed after the Russian Revolution of 1917 together with elements of Classical French, Italian, ballet methods. 

Ballet had been popular in  Russia since 18th century, adopted from France and Italy.

The Vaganova Academy of Russian Ballet was established as the Imperial Ballet School in Saint Petersburg in 1738. Following the Soviet Revolution, after a brief hiatus, the school was re-established as the Leningrad State Choreographic Institute. In 1957, the school was renamed in honor of Agrippina Vaganova who cultivated the method of classical ballet training that has been taught there since the late 1920s.

As early 1900s the Russian ballet had developed its distinctive style and in turn  infiltrated and gained popularity in Western Europe. In 1903 Ivan Clustine, a Russian dancer and choreographer who had started his career at the Bolshoi Theatre, was appointed Maître de ballet at the Paris Opera, though not without frowns from Parisian Society.

What  Students will Achieve from their Vaganova Exposure 

  1. Master the  different nuances in ballet positions and movements under the Vaganova System and how to best achieve these

  2. Gain understanding, imbibe and express Vaganova's belief that Ballet is the Language of the Body

  3. Learn to  work hard and think hard and in the process achieve individuality

  4. Increase body consciousness to create greater harmony of movement, and expression the Vaganova way.  

  5. Gain more awareness of their own strengths and weakness in order to achieve individuality.

  6. Gain the discipline to master "basic" or "preparatory" forms,  gain required strength and flexibility before    moving to more difficult forms. 

Through these achievements, we are confident our students will:

  • Gain increases body and mind awareness and coordination  that will help them in dance and in all aspect of life

  • Create powerful and expressive movements whether in classical dances, character or free style  

  • Enjoy dance as a lifelong pursuit while 

  • Reducing stress on their body and likelihood of injuries.

Major Evolutions in Russian Ballet


​Early 19th century.  van Valberkh who then dominated the ballet scene  began introducing more  Russian elements into ballets, with some Russian folk dance elements finding their way into classical ballets adopted from France and Italy.

1917.  Following the Russian Revolution  it took on a more robust "revolutionary" style.


In the 1920s when Vaganova began to put together her dance methods, and the publication of her "Fundamentals of the Classical Dance" which remains a standard textbook for the instruction of ballet technique in 1934.


In 1948, Vaganova authored "The Foundation for Dance" (more commonly known as "Basic Principles of Russian Classical Dance") that outlined her training method and ballet technique. Following Vaganova's death in 1951, her teaching method was preserved by instructors such as Vera Kostrovitskaya and Vera Volkova.

It may be worth noting that these early evolutionary phases contributed most to more vigorous style of Russian Ballet, high extensions, dynamic turns, and jumps. Vaganova build on this whilst ensuring Russian Ballet did not descend to a popular style filled with rusticity and vigour, but continues to retained and refine the essence of French and Italian Classical Ballet with its emphasis on intricate footwork and arm movements.


With the Vaganova System as its foundation, Russian Ballet continue evolved cross-fertilised with RAD, Eurpean and even Chinese Ballet,  as dance teacher and Troupes began to travel more frequently around the world.  The Stressful training methods in the Soviet Era has in the most part changed to adopt newer principles of learning and Instructions

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