That system exists today. It was carefully, lovingly and meticulously crafted in a place where the heart of ballet beats the loudest. The home of Classical Dance Teaching Method.
In an interview on his Late Show, David Letterman asked Natalia Makarova (former prima ballerina of the Kirov, called “the finest ballerina of her generation in the West”):
"What is the relationship between ballet and Russia?"
She replied, “The same.”
Indeed, ballet and Russia are inseparable, and this is largely due to the life of one woman:
The world-famous and ground-breaking Russian pedagogue, Agrippina Vaganova, recognized that simply following what your own teacher did before you is just not good enough. In order to achieve the best and the healthiest results for their students, teachers need a real game plan.
Fortunately for us, Vaganova pioneered the first teaching method to be based on scientific, physiological principals, combining the best of the French and the Italian schools. She was the first to analyze the allegro–the most difficult steps in the classical repertoire, contained in the Grand Pas de Deux (a "choreographic poem in four parts")–in order to derive teaching method (before, the easier adagio was analyzed to derive teaching method).
Mikhail Baryshnikov, Rudolf Nureyev, Natalia Makarova, Galina Ulanova, Marina Semyoneva, Yuri Soloviev, Maya Plisetskaya, Gabriella Komleva, Galina Mezentseva, Galina Panova, Valery Panov, Olga Moiseeva, Irina Kolpakova, Nikita Dalgoushin, Ninel Petrova...
The list of the greatest dancers ever seen goes on and on, but they all had one thing in common: They were each trained by expert teachers utilizing this codified system.
Vaganova’s life’s work changed forever the future of classical ballet, not only in Russia but throughout the world. When the Russian artists first came to America, nothing like them had ever been seen before. Even today, these artists are the stuff of legends, and no other teaching method has even come close to producing dancers at the same caliber.
These dancers have proven by their unmatched technical virtuosity and genuine artistry that this is the most contemporary teaching method ever developed and tested in the world to date.
Especially when teachers all disagree about what this system is, how can you tell who really knows the truth?
In addition to explaining the syllabus in detail, Kostrovitskaya carefully taught Barker–a Westerner–all of the HUNDREDS of rules and THOUSANDS of details which comprise the method. She knew that Russia was already beginning to suffer from "the grass is greener on the other side of the border" syndrome, and she did not want this precious information to become lost.
Because when these details are lost, the syllabus loses it’s true meaning.
Think of the syllabus as a well-charted map, but the details of teaching method are like the compass. As many of us who have attempted to teach with only the "map" have come to realize, the syllabus without direction is useless to get a person from Point A to Point B!
So how can you tell who REALLY knows the Teaching Method of Classical Dance (and who is just a phony)?
to determine who's who: