A single style, a single dance ‘handwriting,’ which manifests itself most clearly in the harmonious plasticity of movement and the expressiveness of the arms, in the responsive suppleness and at the same time the iron aplomb of the body, in the noble and natural placement of the head—and these are the distinctive traits of the ‘Vaganova school.

Vaganova’s system strove to promote dancing with the whole body in order to acquire a harmony of movement and widen the expressive range of the dancer. All movement, therefore, must begin “from the body”, since dancing “from the body” ensures reliable support upon which can be added artistic coloration. In order to form a solid foundation of support for dancing, special attention was given to forming an “iron”aplomb, or steadiness, in the trunk of the body—a prerequisite to free bodily control in dance. A student of the Vaganova method would develop this by practicing plies with the feet in first position. Although difficult for beginners, forcing the body to keep control and posture while the legs were turned out to their greatest extent built a rigid system of support in the torso and abdominals which easily lent itself to use in Vaganova’s energetic and expressive style. With an iron aplomb and Vaganova’s special attention to impalement (the turning of the shoulders and the body), a foundation was developed for all tours and complicated jumps.

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