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Meet The Artists

Biography

Agrippina Vaganova

pedgagogy / Vaganova Ballet Academy / dance writing

(1879-1951)

Agrippina Vaganova trained at the Imperial Ballet School in St. Petersburg and later was a member of the company at the Maryinsky Theatre. Her major contribution to the development of ballet, however, was her work as a teacher.

Vaganova revised and augmented the pedagogical principals used to teach ballet dancers. She selected what she considered to be the best of the different European schools, particularly the French and Italian, and combined them with the style she had learned as a student in St. Petersburg. Her pedagogy emphasized stabilizing the torso and developing flowing head and shoulder movement and line. Many of her students, including Marina Semonova, Galina Ulanova and Vera Volkova, became leading Soviet dancers, teachers and choreographers.

Vaganova outlined her analytical approach to pedagogy in her book, Basic Principles of Classical Ballet. It was first published in Russian in 1934 and translated into English in 1937. Vaganova's pedagogical theories continue to be used not only by teachers in Russia, but also around the world in ballet companies and their professional schools.

In 1957, the school in St. Petersburg posthumously honoured Vaganova by changing its name to the Vaganova Ballet Academy.

Websites:

Vaganova Ballet Academy

Learn more:

Vaganova, Agrippina. Basic Principles of Classical Ballet. Trans. Anatole Chujoy. 4th ed. [1934] New York: Dover, 1969.