Agrippina Vaganova

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Vaganova, Agrippina Iakovlevna


Born June 24 (July 6), 1879, in St. Petersburg; died Nov. 5, 1951, in Leningrad. Soviet ballerina, choreographer, and teacher. People’s Artist of the RSFSR (1934).

In 1897, Vaganova graduated from the St. Petersburg Theatrical School, where she studied with L. I. Ivanov, E. O. Vazem, and P. A. Gerdt. From 1897 to 1916 she danced at the Mariinskii Theater in St. Petersburg, becoming famous as a virtuoso of classical dance. Her best roles included Odette-Odile in Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake and the Tsar-maiden in Pugni’s The Little Humpbacked Horse. She began teaching in 1917 after leaving the stage. In 1921 she became a teacher at the Leningrad Choreographic School, where she became a professor in 1946. From 1931 to 1937, Vaganova was artistic director of the ballet of the S. M. Kirov Leningrad Opera and Ballet Theater, where she staged the ballets Swan Lake (1933) and Pugni’s La Esmeralda (1935). Vaganova’s work as a choreographer was marked by a search for new means of expression in the classical dance, which became an excellent model for performing—dancing as well as acting. From 1946 to 1951 she headed the subdepartment of choreography at the N. A. Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatory in Leningrad. She expounded her teaching methods in the book Fundamentals of the Classical Dance (1934; reprinted four times). The essence of her method consists in the demand for the comprehension and aesthetic expressiveness of dance movements and for the free use of technique based on the correct placing of the body and arms. Vaganova’s teaching methods are widespread in Soviet choreographic teaching practice and exert considerable influence on ballet abroad. Vaganova’s students included G. S. Ulanova, M. T. Semenova, O. G. Iordan, N. A. Anisimova, T. M. Vecheslova, N. N. Dudinskaia, and A. la. Shelest. She was awarded the State Prize of the USSR in 1946, the Order of the Red Banner of Labor, and various medals.


Bogdanov-Berezovskii, V. M. A. Ia. Vaganova. Moscow-Leningrad, 1950.
A. Ia. Vaganova. Stat’i. Vospominaniia. Materialy. Moscow-Leningrad, 1958. [Collection.]
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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References in periodicals archive ?
Before she became the 20th century's most revered ballet pedagogue, Agrippina Vaganova was a frustrated ballerina.
Its delegates have stood out for their Vaganova technique, named after Russian pedagogue Agrippina Vaganova. Teachers from other countries have noticed the unmistakable style of the BM dancers-the expressive coordination of the torso, arms, head and eyes, the movements enhanced by breath, the powerful legs offset by a rippling upper body, and the fluid coordination of the arms with the explosive leaps.
One thing is sure, last Thursday was a special evening for every ballet admirer in Bahrain, with a superb display of all that is unique and special in dancers trained with the Vaganova Academy - named in honour of the renowned pedagogue Agrippina Vaganova, who cultivated the method of classical ballet training that has been taught there since the late 1920s.
Agrippina Vaganova (1879-1951) was a pioneer of a system that set the standard for classical ballet training in Russia.
She graduated from Agrippina Vaganova's ballet school in 1925 and joined the Bolshoi in 1930.
During the Soviet period, 'Imperial' was dropped from the title and the school re-named to commemorate Mme Agrippina Vaganova, an influential director there in the 1930s.
The daughter of a classically trained mother (ballet and violin) who did not pursue a performing career of her own but did run a dance school, Dudinskaya became the favorite pupil of Agrippina Vaganova, graduated in 1931, was soon a lead dancer in the Kirov and married leading dancer-artistic director Konstantin Sergeyev.
All nations east of the former Iron Curtain offer a method of pedagogy perfected by the legendary Russian teacher Agrippina Vaganova (1879--1951).
It was a Russian called Agrippina Vaganova and an Italian called Enrico Cecchetti who each perfected the ballet movements used to build up strength, endurance and grace in a dancer's body.
"At first I was fighting not to be kicked out." But her final teacher, Lyudmila Safronova, one of the last remaining students of Agrippina Vaganova, persuaded her that she could do it.
Methods are based on those of the Russian teacher Agrippina Vaganova, and he concludes with a brief account of her career.