Russian Classical Ballet Academy

A.Vaganova BIOGRAPHY and Adult Ballet History

Her first conclusions were drawn from a comparison of the French and Italian schools which were dominant at the end of the nineteenth century.

The French school – represented by her teachers Christian Johannson, Pavel Gerdt, Nikolai Legat, and Ekaterina Vazem – cultivated a soft and graceful, but highly artifical, manner of performance which lacked energy and therefore restricted balletic virtuosity.

The Italian school – represented by Enrico Cecchetti and such ballerinas as Pierina Legnani, Carlotta Brianza, and Antonietta Dell`Era – differed markedly, often lacking in poetry and harmony but developing reliable stability, dynamic turns, and strength and endurance, especially of the legs and feet.

A national style of dancing had been developing over an extended period of time, as Russians dancers creatively assimilated the diverse influences of their own choreographers and teachers along with those of the representatives of the French and Italian schools.

An expressive poetry and spirituality came to characterize the Russian style of performing, but little had been done to consolidate the collective experience into a formal system of teaching. This became Vaganova`s life`s work.