Agrippina Vaganova
& The Vaganova Method

Look at life all around; everything is growing, everything is moving forward. Therefore I recommend…keeping in touch with life and with art.
— Agrippina Vaganova
Vaganova at the Imperial Ballet School

Prior to her death in 1951, Russian ballet instructor, Agrippina Vaganova, made seminal contributions to the theory and practice of contemporary ballet training. By blending the best elements of the old imperial Russian style with more athletic movements, she developed what is now known as the Vaganova system or method. Her method did not isolate the body into separate parts, but viewed it as an integrated system. As a result, students receive precise corrections based upon anatomical knowledge.

Hallmarks of the Vaganova method are the expressive fluidity of the whole body.  As described by the legendary Irina Kolpakova, all movements of the Vaganova method begin with equal participation of arms, hands, fingers, head, and eyes, and every part of the body is connected so that all parts of a movement is fluid rather than coming from only the appendages.  All Vaganova movements and accents are logical and harmonious, and the precision and breadth of movement are all characteristics of the Vaganova trained dancer.  

Many of her pupils such as Galina Ulanova, Natalia Dudinskaya and Irina Kolpakova became important figures in Soviet ballet. Her published work, "The Principles of Classical Dance," is an important text for ballet teachers to this day. The creative evolution of her ideas and principles continue to this day and are widely used by training institutions and professional ballet companies throughout the world.

 

Sources:  1) Vaganova, A Dance Journey From Petersburg to Leningrad by Vera Krasovskaya;  2) The Society of Russian Ballet