Agrippina Vaganova (1879-1951) Her Place in the History of Ballet and Her Impact on the Future of Classical Dance

Author: Willis-Aarnio, Peggy
Year:2002
Pages:450
ISBN:0-7734-7074-3
978-0-7734-7074-3
Price:259.95
In addition to biographical information on Agrippina Vaganova, this book describes and discusses where the teaching method came from, and how Vaganova took this information and distilled it to its essence and then organized it in a codified, rational way so that the method could be consistently and accurately taught. Also available is an accompanying set of 8 videotapes. 1-3 Beginning Level of Classical Ballet Lesson; 4-6 Intermediate Level of Classical Ballet Lesson; 7-8 Advanced Level of Classical Ballet Lesson ($99.95 for the set) Telephone (716) 754-2788 or email sales@mellenpress.com to place your order.

Reviews

“With the publication of this massive book, the ballet world finally has a scholarly work describing the teaching method….Willis-Aarnio also captures the passion characteristic of the Russian people. She provides Russian documentation, translated into English for the first time, showing some of the connections between many of the significant people in the world of dance at that time. From Pavlova, Nijinsky, and Balanchine, who were members of the Imperial Theatre during Vaganova’s performing career, to Ulanova, who was one of her pupils, Vaganova’s influence can be easily seen and felt. This reviewer found the appendixes especially illuminating. Highly recommended.” - CHOICE

“…exhaustive study…. many excerpts from Vaganova’s articles in defense of classical ballet, her memoirs, and biographies and dance histories published in the USSR. Because Soviet publishers tended to favor extremely small print runs, much of this material has been inaccessible even to readers of Russian. Making it available to students of dance and of Soviet culture is the major achievement of willis-Aarnio’s book.” – The Russian Review

“She has devoted herself to the close study of the principles of this school, its rules and systems, its forms – as in the sphere of education and school training, as in the sphere of performing on the stage…. This work of Peggy Willis-Aarnio represents the modus vivendi of the great teacher, Vaganova… I recommend this work to the attention of all real connoisseurs of ballet, amateur and professional alike, and I hope it will be particularly appreciated by the specialists as well as by the wider circle of general interest readers.” – Vera Krasovskaya, ballet critic, historian, and author, St. Petersburg, Russia

“No one is more qualified to reveal the truth about classical ballet than Peggy Willis-Aarnio. Since the early seventies when she first discovered Agrippina Vaganova’s unique, comprehensive pedagogy, Willis-Aarnio has worked tirelessly to preserve and transmit the teaching method in its entirety. . . . The enormous wealth of information distilled within the pages of this work provide a unique opportunity for the reader to become acquainted with the breadth of knowledge Dr. Willis-Aarnio has amassed on classical dance. She captures the soul, the passion and fire characteristic of the Russian people. A literal walking encyclopedia, Willis-Aarnio provides, among other things, Russian documentation, translated into English for the first time, showing the surprising interconnectedness of contributions made by significant figures in the world of dance. . . . This book will revolutionize the public’s understanding of classical dance.” – Sara Park McLaughlin

“. . . . Her research is excellent, and she has discovered sources that many Russian historians have overlooked. Particularly interesting is her connecting the work of kinesiologist and physical education scientist Professor Lesgaft of the Petersburg University and his pupil, Vladimir Stepanov, the father of dance notation and a teacher of Vaganova. . . .The book is full of this sort of detail and, in my opinion, sheds new light on the life and times of the most influential teacher of ballet of the twentieth century. . . . It is my hope that this book will become required reading for everyone interested in the history of classical ballet.” – Ian Robertson, Founder of the Vaganova Academy of North America

“In this extremely well-documented book, she has included historical and biographical information on A. Y. Vaganova that has previously not been available in or translated into English, Especially satisfying was the information provided from L. Rozhdestvennskaya’s (editing?) of Vaganova’s ‘Articles, Recollections, and Material’ published in 1958….she has examined a tremendous amount of original source materials, and this is reflected in her work and scholarship. For the average reader or student of ballet, she has included an overall history of classical dance, and just as importantly, the development and history of ballet performance in Russia. For the balletomane, she has included lots of footnotes, a list of Vaganova’s performances and roles, and a list of her pupils, a ballet timeline, a ballet lineage of teachers, and the original introduction to Vaganova’s ‘Fundamentals of Classical Dance.’ Also, there are several insightful essays on the teaching of ballet contributed by Caroline Breshears…..At 637 pages, the book serves as noth a textbook and a reference book for the history of classical dance.” – Dennis Mullen, Amazon On-line review

Table of Contents

Table of contents:
Preface by Vera Krasovskaya
Foreword by Sara Park McLaughlin
Introduction by Ian Robertson
Author's Preface
Cast of major Characters
Prologue: Introduction to Classical Dance
Act One: Setting the Stage for Vaganova
Act Two: Vaganova's Deathbed and Flashback
Act Three: Contributions of Vaganova
Epilogue: The Future of Classical Dance and How Vaganova's Work Permanently Changed It
Appendix 1: Original Introduction to her book The Fundamentals of Classical Dance
Appendix 2: Vaganova's roles in ballets, operas, performances, list of Vaganova's pupils
Appendix 3: Ballet Timeline
Appendix 4: Classical Ballet Lineage; The Evolution of Ballet Pedagogy with Key Figures in the Development of Ballet d'Axtion and in Ballet History
Appendix 5: Ballet Teaching Essays
Notes; Bibliography; Index