This Vaganova teaching system was developed in the late 1910s in Leningrad at the Kirov Academy by Agrippina Vaganova, a russian ballet dancer and pedagogue. Vaganova Academy formed some of the greatest dancers such as Rudolph Nureyev and Michail Barysnikov.
Nowadays it is considered the best known and dominant method in the world especially in the European countries with important classical dance traditions such as Italy, France, England and Denmark.
The Vaganova approach to classical ballet comes from a deep study of the two oldest and best classical dance schools, in fact it brings together the excellent technique of the Italian school system (by Enrico Cecchetti) and the elegance and softness of the French school. To get these results, Vaganova elaborates a rigorous system of sequences of exercises to help the dancers understand and practice a movement steps by step gradually in order to develop their virtuosity.
Every step is learnt from its deep roots gradually adding expressiveness, not only do the students learn every step of classical ballet but they do so while building their body awareness, coordination and while exploring other movements. Also, since the first movements the Vaganova system works on the correct posture and on body balance.
"From the first pliés in first position, the effort of the dance teacher is to teach body balance and the correct body posture." A. Vaganova
The Vaganova system provides a higher but progressive level of difficulty of the exercises related to age and the psycho-physical development of the children in order to avoid risks to the dancer. That's why the attention during class is focused on: quality of the movement and not quantity, on a more conscious approach of the dancer in relation to the movement and on the self awareness and control of their body.