Vaganova: A Dance Journey from Petersburg to Leningrad

Overview

 

The only authorized biography about the creator of the renowned Russian ballet curriculum–for the first time in English.

 

The first English edition of the only authorized biography of Agrippina Vaganova (1897-1951) was originally published in Russian in 1989. It tells the story of one of the most important dance teachers of the 20th century, who created a system of teaching ballet that spread throughout the former Soviet Union and ...

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Overview

 

The only authorized biography about the creator of the renowned Russian ballet curriculum–for the first time in English.

 

The first English edition of the only authorized biography of Agrippina Vaganova (1897-1951) was originally published in Russian in 1989. It tells the story of one of the most important dance teachers of the 20th century, who created a system of teaching ballet that spread throughout the former Soviet Union and beyond.

Vaganova rose through the ranks to become a ballerina in the Imperial Ballet during the last days of Tsarist Russia. After the Revolution of 1917, she became a teacher and transformed the St. Petersburg/Leningrad School of Ballet into a premier institution. She also served as the artistic director of the Kirov Theater.

Written by a direct eyewitness to many of the described incidents, someone who knew Vaganova intimately, the biography is a window into the personality and thinking of this great teacher. It vividly recounts the training and individual styles of such world-renowned ballerinas as Marina Semyonova, Natalia Dudinskaya, Galina Ulanova, and Tatiana Vecheslova, and it offers a unique insight into the world of classical ballet during the era of Tsarist Russia and the early Soviet years.

 

 

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Originally published in Russian in 1989, this is the only authorized biography of a leading ballet teacher of the 20th century, Agrippina Vaganova (1897-1951). Krasovskaya (History of the Russian Ballet) was born in St. Petersburg in 1915 and danced with the Kirov Ballet. It was there that she learned of Vaganova, whom she later befriended. As Krasovskaya explains, Vaganova was a ballerina in the Imperial Ballet during the last days of tsarist Russia. While she rose through the ranks and often received favorable reviews from critics, her repertory was all but limited to variations; she never attained superstar status, instead leaving her mark as a pedagog. She taught at the St. Petersburg/Leningrad School of Ballet, and her landmark textbook, Basic Principles of Classical Dance, defined ballet technique and style in Russia and beyond. In her foreword, Lynn Garafola (Diaghilev's Ballets Russes) notes that Vaganova is not a conventional biography because Krasovskaya uses fictional devices and sidesteps "thorny political issues" like Vaganova's acquiescence to Stalinist politics. Despite these arguable shortcomings and a text that is informative but uninspired, this first English translation is recommended to all dance collections owing to its details of the many significant contributions of a great dance teacher.-Joan Stahl, Univ. of Maryland Lib., College Park Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813028316
  • Publisher: University Press of Florida
  • Publication date: 6/28/2005
  • Edition description: First
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 990,228
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Vera Krasovskaya, a former dancer with the Kirov in the 1930s, was the preeminent historian of the St. Petersburg Ballet for nearly forty years. Her books include Soviet Ballet Theater, 1917-1967, History of Russian Ballet, and the four-volume Western European Ballet Theater.

 

Vera M. Siegel is a freelance writer and translator for such clients as the Library of Congress and the U.S. Department of State.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 12, 2005

    An evocative biography of a ballet legend

    What a great book! As a dance enthusiast, I was excited to read about this remarkable woman in this translation of a biograpgy written by the Russian ballet critic and historian Vera Krasovskaya. Agrippina Vaganova was one of the most important dance teachers of the 20th century and was almost single-handedly responsible for preserving the Russian classical ballet tradition during the Soviet years. Her book, 'Basic Priniples of Classical Ballet' is still a sourcebook for classical dance training. This is not an academic biography, but an intimate account of Vagananova's childhood in imperial russia, her time as a dancer in the imperial ballet theater (precursor to today's famous Maryinsky Ballet), and her evolution into the famous ballet teacher of many of the Russian star ballerinas of the Soviet Era. I really enjoyed the detailed accounts of the ballets, some famous, some now lost that were performed in russia during the twentieth century. I would recommend it for all ballet enthusiasts and professionals, and lovers of russian culture.

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