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Different methods differences between russian and other?


2peas
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HI everyone,

I'm new here and have found so much info just reading all the posts. I'm looking at all the different ballet methods and wondering if one would suit my dd more - she's currently doing RAD grades. Can anyone explain to me what the difference is between all the methods? I googled russian method and it came up with 2 styles vaganova and legat? What's the difference? Also what's the difference between the russian method and the others? Also the cecchetti method? I would love to know more about the differences between them all.

thanks.

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You beat me to it, taxi, welcome 2peas! :-)

 

I can't help with the differences (my dd only does RAD and non-syllabus) but we do have a book called "The Ballet Companion" by Eliza Gaynor Minden. As well as being a gorgeous book with everything ballet-related, it has illustrations of the different ballet positions with notes on the various styles, as well as a section on each different style.

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Let me try to answer in a general way some of your questions.

 

There are several styles of ballet. The Russian styles have two major branches. The Vaganova method is connected with the Mariinsky Ballet (St.Petersburg) and is precise, flowing and generally emotionally understated. The Bolshoi (Moscow) is very dynnamic - large movement - overflowing with emotion.

 

The French tend to be precise but also detailed, flowing and nuanced.

 

The Danish are inheritors of Bournonville. They, too, are precise, smaller gentler movement but very quick.

 

Balanchine is quick, often exploring the music and the possibilities of making new shapes out of established structure.

 

There are also several major ballet syllabi.

 

RAD and Cecchetti are cousins - both have structured graded steps and exams. They tend to be precise and emotinally understated. There are other sylllabi such as ISTD.

 

Each of these different schools/styles/structures has a system of numbering the arabesques, counting walls and corners, placing and numbering of the head, arms, body positions - and even feet.

 

Then there are those of us (like me) who teach no systematized method at all - often by choice. I had teachers from almost all the different styles and schools and chose to structure my class day by day according to who was in class and what i felt they needed on that particular day.

 

The above information is very general and just my opinion.

 

Each style/method has its merits and lacks. I don't think that any one method, style or teacher is sufficient. Each has something to offer and each needs to be seen as one of many avenues. A well rounded dancer - after the basics are well establshed should taste the many wonderful buffets in the ballet emporium.

 

The above is just a personal opinion.

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Thanks for the welcomes!

Thanks Anjuli Bai for the explaination of the styles, just from the words that you've used to describe them with I would say that my dd would like the Bolshoi style - as she likes lots of emotion and dynamic movement!

I will have to look into the russian style - although she's only about to turn 9 so might be more for the future.

thanks,.

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And I now understand why my son has always said that Bolshoi style of teaching wouldn't suit him - he's definitely not "overflowing with emotion" when he dances - definitely a more Vaganova styled dancer :)

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My dd's friend does Cecchetti, and she says that the arms are very different, and much more in the Russian style.

 

Enrico Cecchetti was an Italian dancer who went to Russia - St.Petersburg - where he became a huge star with the Mariinsky. After that he became a very famous teacher of the best Russian dancers such as Anna Pavlova and Vaslav Nijinski.

 

So, you could say that those "Russian arms" are really Italian arms!

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Hi there, the Checetti syllabus is actually a faculty of the ISTD not RAD, here is a link to their website with info on the syllabus and where it comes from if your intrested :) I studied it briefly and it's a lovely syllabus, very dancey with intricate port de bras.

 

http://www.istd.org/cecchetti-classical-ballet/

 

ISTD have a second faculty called ISTD imperial classical ballet, this originated from the french method of the Paris Opera. Link below to the imperial ballet site.

 

http://www.istd.org/imperial-classical-ballet/

 

Also if you're interested guys there's videos of the vagonova ballet academy's different grades, the dancers are stunning!

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=9DuWgmbEm48

 

And here! Amazing

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=T1ABwt-KN6w

Edited by Lula-belle
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I dont really know what the differences are< but the Russian method suits Heather and always has done. Its not just the dancing either its being taught the Russian way by Russian teachers. She enjoys the hands on approach as she feels that she learns more and which muscles she should be using.

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I think that's vital Primrose, not least because hypermobile children can really struggle with propriorception. My dd has managed to come through her recent growth spurt thanks to her teacher realising that she needs to be completely hands-on with dd.

 

I feel sorry for teachers who fear that getting hands on will get them into trouble. :-(

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Have to agree with Primrose my DDs have only been doing Russian for just over a year and have much more understanding of their bodies since doing it,and my younger DD has really improved on her technique because everything is explained to her.Also they just love the discipline of Russian Ballet.

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Unfortunately, that hands-on approach is not an option at some schools. When I taught in a privately owned school it was fine (and I prefer it). But when I taught at a college/university - it was absolutely forbidden. I had to learn to walk around the classroom with my hands clasped behind my back in case I forgot where I was.

 

Ballet has been taught for centuries from one hand to another - but we live in a different time now and it is not always possible.

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if anyone is interested in Bolshoi and what they look like in training ilyaballet has uploaded lots and lots of video on to youtube e.g.

is the 5th year boys.

 

Vaganova definitely suits my DS- he found English training (mainly I think RAD syllabus) very 'wet' (his words). Interestingly when I was trying to canvas opinion about sending him abroad several people said to me (including a male professional ballet dancer who had trained at WL) that the trouble with learning Russian was that you could only then dance in Russia and eastern Europe. I thought at the time this seemed unlikely but would be interested in other people's opinions.....

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As for the question as to whether a Russian trained dancer can only dance in Russia or Eastern Europe - one need only look at the numbers of Russian trained dancers who are members of companies outside of Russia or Eastern Europe.

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well that's what I thought- but it was more than one person who said it- and I wondered maybe if those who do dance outside Russia are just the really amazingly top level soloists, whilst the 'rank and file' have too narrow a skill set to cross over into more European companies. It may sound daft to you experts- but I am so totally ignorant of the ballet world it's hard to know what's plausible and what isn't.....

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I know many of the graduate Internationals at the Bolshoi have jobs all over the world. Its something that I am not concerned about at the moment. I still look on it as Heather following her dream and if a career comes out of it then thats fantastic. Ilya is a fantastic teacher and Heather is fortunate to be able to attend his classes.

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My dd who is only 9 has only done vaganova.From what i have seen,i love the way they really condition the bodies and work alot on placement.They also work alot on feet,turnout and flexability.Not sure about other countries but here, even when my dd was 6 they were totally focused and you could see them really thinking about what they were doing,also very hands on and alot of dicipline, the classes are about 2 hours!

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Primrose, I emailed The Bristol Russian Ballet school regarding their summer school and never received a reply. I assumed this was because my daughter is a little younger than their minimum age. She is fairly advanced in her grades so I wondered if they might consider her although she has not done any Russian ballet. Do you think its worth me trying to contact them again? Bristol is very convenient for us.

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I would contact them again as it is so unlike them not to reply. I would also telephone them. Yury and Chika are wonderful teachers and anyone would be very privileged to take class with them. Both are ex professonal dancers and really do know their stuff. I am sure that one of the priciple dancers from ENB will also be taking master classes as part of the summer school.

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  • 9 months later...

Hi folks,

 

I'm resurrecting this old thread as I was talking to a friend of mine the other day who has recently moved.

 

Her dd has been doing the RAD syllabus and she is now 13 and in Grade 7 and Adv foundation. They are having trouble finding a new school locally that does enough RAD classes at her level, but there is one that does Russian (Legat I think).

 

We are wondering whether it would be possible for her dd to study both methods at the same time, or if the styles are so different it would cause problems with her technique.

 

Does anyone have any advice please!

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Hmm

 

Answer from my son, who has tried, is an emphatic "no."  It came to light during the Easter holidays.  He did two days of Russian, and then two days of "normal," and had a thoroughly miserable time on the first day of both styles as he needed to adjust.

 

He had seriously considered 6th form options so he could combine but reluctantly dropped the plan.

 

I know there are those on here who do combine though - perhaps they have different experiences. 

 

Russian ballet needs a huge amount of commitment, you really do have to subscribe wholeheartedly to that style (at least that's what he thought!)

 

meadowblythe

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My dd is 15 and does 2 RAD Adv 1 classes and 1 Advanced pointe class in one school per week and 2 Russian Advanced ballet and pointe (Vaganova) per week in another school plus 4 hours of Russian Ballet on alternate Sundays. She loves both but prefers the Russian style. At times she finds it confusing (RAD prefer arms a different way to Russian style for example) but on the whole she has found that the Russian style compliments her ballet. Hth.

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my DS didn't have any difficulty adjusting to RAD at RBS- he just didn't like it! interestingly, having been very anti-Balanchine previously (he maintained he would be rubbish at it) he is now doing a Balanchine ballet for a performance, being taught by John Clifford who danced with Balanchine himself, and is loving it. So perhaps the ability to adjust to different styles is partly to do with dance maturity?

Out of interest Taxi4ballet do you mean Legat at St Bede's? If so, and this means your friend is anywhere near Brighton I can wholeheartedly recommend DS's Vaganova teacher who is Brighton based (after 18 months of teaching DS once or twice a week he was accepted into Kirov Washington on a full scholarship.....)

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I didn't think RBS taught RAD except for exam classes which enable students to enter for the Phyllis Bedells and Adeline Genee awards? I had understood that they taught their own method (although I'm pretty sure they used to be Cecchetti based at one time).

 

I suppose that as you say CeliB, with maturity and experience it becomes easier to adjust to different styles. I think Anjuli has said previously that it is best not to 'mix methods' in the early years of study to avoid confusion but that experienced dancers can switch between styles with relative ease.

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 I think that what people tend to forget is that the RAD is constantly updating and changing their syllabi.  They are now in the throes of teaching totally new work for both vocational and children's syllabi and the style is quite different from what it once was.  It's an excellent training system for both advanced students and the little once a weekers for whom it is particularly good, in that they are very careful about not asking for anything that might harm the growing child's body.   I personally have some concerns about the turn-out and height of legs being forced in Russian training.  Students in the Vaganova school in St. Petersburg are carefully selected with perfect "ballet" physique and can be asked to do things that the average child can't and shouldn't do.  So in my opinion at least, if you're only going to study an hour or two each week, you'd probably be safer sticking with RAD.   

 

A system or a syllabus is only as good as the teacher who teaches it.  There are wonderful Russian teachers and excellent RAD teachers and children can thrive and become professional dancers doing Cecchetti, RAD, Balanchine, Vaganova etc etc.  What in the end allows a child to develop strong technique is the number of hours spent training each week and I do believe that ideally once a student is more advanced, they can safely tackle different styles/training systems.  I teach the RAD exam syllabi in our school, although once the exams are over each year, I teach non-syllabus classes.  Once the students are up to Grade 7 they add on a third 90 minute ballet class with a Russian teacher and have no problem taking his classes.  They understand that he calls things differently from me and I explain to them that that is fine.  Correct technique is correct technique and I haven't really found any conflict in what he requires of them and what I do.  I am surprised that your friend's daughter is doing Grade 7 with Advanced Foundation - I teach Grade 7 between Intermediate Foundation and Intermediate - however, I presume that it's in order for her to get extra classes.  Anyway, I would say let her try the Legat classes and see how she gets on.  I don't see that it would do her any harm and it would widen her range.  As I said above - what's important is having enough classes and if the teacher is good then the system is less important.  Of course, it may not suit her, but it's certainly worth trying.  

Edited by Dance*is*life
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I've studied Cecchetti, RAD, BBO, Russian and other styles with various teachers so I have an eclectic mix of knowledge that I don't always remember which belongs to which method until I am dancing. It's a challenge to describe the differences because it's all stored in muscle memory and it's usually just an automatic unconscious adaptation a case of I'm in RAD class, doing RAD now and automatically adopting that style and then having a transitional moment of adopting to say Russian method in the next class.

 

I could be completely wrong on this one but I think Ian Knowles - who teaches at Pineapple - and definitely Simon Williams -Matthew Bourne, Michael Clark Company -studied at the Royal Ballet school and I was instantly able to tell this by taking their classes that they had trained at RBS as the exercises they taught were very similar, so I think the method at RBS is very different to RAD. The difference is something you have to see rather than something you can tangibly describe, but once you see it there's a light bulb moment of 'Ah ha I know where you trained!'

 

RAD tends to be much more structured teaching, it's all about putting technique together piece by piece. I studied RAD locally with a few different teachers and with a RAD teacher at The Place for a summer intensive a few years ago. Following RAD even for a short time helped to iron out some of the creases that had crept in to my dancing and helped me to focus on the tiniest attentions to details.

 

Cecchetti is all about the arms, there is a lot of port de bras in Cecchetti which I quite like. The positioning of the arms in Cecchetti is also different the line is up but stretched out, as in this image for second arabesque http://balletclassroom.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/ballet-arabesquea-large.jpg. I'm finding this hard to explain as it's more of a thing you know and feel by doing than being able to put into words but your whole line is different in Cechetti to BBO for example.The arms in Russian are slightly different too. It wasn't something I noticed until I had it pointed out to me by a teacher when doing a grand jete that I was using 'Russian arms'. I think this was something I subconsciously picked up from watching performances by the Bolshoi rather than something I picked up in class. 

 

Russian is very turned out, and from the very beginning you concentrate on presenting the whole package I learned to focus on epaulement with Russian method. At beginner level classes are slower paced so that you can really focus on solidifying technique,demi plies and  plies are in 8 counts for example. There is also a wrapped frappe exercise where the foot wraps around the ankle and then strikes out from a wrapped position rather than the flexed foot position used in other styles. I've used both frappe styles in Russian classes it depends upon the teacher. Also Russian tends to be more hands on - again teacher dependent -  if you are in the wrong position you will be physically corrected in to the right position which I think is a good thing.

 

Pirouettes from 4th derrière, in Russian method the leg flips straight in to retire for the pirouette no going a la seconde and then whipping in.

 

BBO - i remember doing lots of glisses, this probably not representative of the method at all, but as it has been years since I've been able to take a British Ballet Organisation class.

 

I've generally found on the whole that the steps are the same but the execution is different and then there is the added complication that execution changes by choreography, going back to glisses I have seen them taught for height, run very quickly over the floor for speed or stretched out and languid. Even in one method with a different teacher the whole delivery of a step can change.

 

I would say taking an eclectic approach can be helpful as all styles have their strengths and weaknesses so by experiencing the different methods you can become more well-rounded as a dancer. On the other hand it takes a lot of focus to switch between the different methods and not allow RAD arms to sneak into a Cecchetti class and vice versa.

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I was at the RBS in the 60's and when I joined there the style was still very English. After Nureyev's defection things started changing and when he began working regularly with the company his influence permeated the school too. Gradually I think the style became quite Russian, but I think that it is important for companies to maintain their heritage and I believe that the powers that be also felt that. I have watched classes at the school over the years and it seems to me that the style is now far more eclectic and much more English in its attention to detail than it was for a period. When I was at the school, as it is now, you could have RAD classes in order to take your Advanced exams. We also had Cecchetti classes. I keep hearing reference to RAD arms, but I am not sure what is implied with this remark. Yes they may be less expansive than Russian ones, but is that such a big deal? A syllabus is just something on a piece of paper - the teacher is the one who breathes life into it. I remember when a group of teachers held rehearsals for their vocational exam students together. The interesting thing was that as I was sitting there watching a class of students doing exactly the same exercises, I could clearly see that they looked totally different in their execution depending upon which teacher had prepared them. I also see differences in my own pupils in their style and I have taught them all exactly the same way - personality determines how they dance.

Edited by Dance*is*life
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