on 1 July 2000
This text book a marvellous encoding of Vaganova's methodology. The 'grammar', if you like, of the Soviet ballet style. A style, it would appear, from recent Kirov outings, long gone from St. Petersburg these days.
You can't teach from this book, as there was more to Vaganova and the Soviet style than can be encapsulated in a book. The whole framework of the school is there, but it does require a 'key' to unlock it, and that's only handed down from pupil to teacher. I mean, you're not going to read this book everyday for seven years and do class everyday and suddenly turn into Irina Kolpakova. [Kolpakova was Vaganova's last pupil.] Still less can you say: "I teach the Vaganova method" and walk into class with this book under your arm. But, alas, plenty of teachers in the US and the UK seemingly do. This book helps to illuminate your way if you already know where you are going.
But it's a minefield if you don't.
on 22 January 2010
The only thing that is wrong with this book is that it ends. Exceptional and to the point explanations of exercises as well as explanation about the reasons behind the choice of style for the vaganova method, which is of huge value even if you are learning or teaching through a russian school. Not suitable for very young dancers but for about grade 5/6 upwards and teachers of all levels, you will LOVE and treasure this book.
I would also recommend books by Joan Lawson if you are interested in this book.