Vaganova's whole life was connected with the Imperial Ballet (later the Kirov Ballet) of the Mariinsky Theatre in Saint Petersburg. She was accepted into the Imperial Ballet School in 1888, the great institution of classical dance founded by Anna of Russia and funded by the Tsars.

Ballet did not come easily to Vaganova in her first years as a student, but slowly, through the efforts of her own will power, she was able to join the illustrious Imperial Ballet upon her graduation. By the time she attained the rank of soloist, Saint Petersburg balletomanes dubbed her queen of variations, for her unlimited virtuosity and level of technique.


The Vaganova method is a style of ballet training that emerged from the Russian ballet, created by Agrippina Vaganova. After retiring from the dance in 1916, Vaganova turned to teach at the Leningrad Choreographic School in 1921. Her training method is now internationally recognized and revered and her book, The Fundamentals of Classical Dance (1934), is a classic reference.

This method is marked by the fusion of the classic French style, specifically elements of the romantic era, with the athleticism of the Italian method and the felt passion of the Russian ballet. She developed an extremely accurate method of instruction in her book Basic Principles of Russian Classical Dance (1948). This includes outlining when teaching technical components to students in their ballet careers, how long to focus on them and the right amount of focus at each stage of the student's career. These books continue to be extremely important for ballet instruction today.

The method emphasizes the development of strength, flexibility and endurance for the good performance of the ballet. She adopted the belief that equal importance should be placed on the arms and legs during the execution of the ballet, as this will bring harmony and greater expression to the body as a whole.


I use the Vaganova Method and I believe in the importance of using a single method for the classes, because in this way one can notice a singularity in the movements together and the students acquire more expressive forms.

Ballet in three acts with an epilogue
Music by Pyotr Tchaikovsky
Libretto by Marius Petipa after the tale by E. T. A. Hoffmann
This version of the libretto and choreography by Vasily Vainonen
Production design by Simon Virsaladze
Conductor: Gavriel HEINE
Principal of the Academy: Nikolai TSISKARIDZE
Artistic Director of the Academy: Zhanna AYUPOVA
Stage Manager: Pyotr Ostaltsov