Agrippina Vaganova & The Vaganova Method

Prior to her death in 1957, 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 movement 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. Students received precise corrections based upon anatomical knowledge.

Hallmarks of the Vaganova method are the expressive fluidity of the arms and upper body. Movement originates “from the body” rather than the appendages. Precision and breadth of movement in allegro work are visible characteristics of the Vaganova trained dancer.
Also at the core of her method is the conviction by Vaganova that all theory must be enriched by the experience of teaching and new developments in artistic practice. “Look at life all around; everything is growing, everything is moving forward. Therefore I recommend…keeping in touch with life and with art”.

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 continue to this day and are widely used by training institutions and professional ballet companies throughout the world.

Agrippina Vaganova
July 6, 1879 – November 5, 1951