Vaganova Ballet Academy
Audition for Vaganova International Trainee Program for 2019-2020 Academic year

Starting from December 1, 2018, Vaganova Ballet Academy announces audition for 10-month Vaganova International Trainee Program (VITP) for
2019-2020 Academic year.

For audition and program information please visit the next page or write to or

The new Teacher-retraining Course program for foreign persons

Vaganova Ballet Academy is pleased to announce the new Teacher-retraining Course program for Spring and Autumn Semesters 2019.

Teacher-retraining Course includes: 

1. Visual practice and classes observation - daily

2. Presence at lectures on Methods of classical dance teaching (two-three lectures a week in Russian language, translation available at additional cost) 

3. Consulting with pedagogues of Vaganova Ballet Academy (2 - 3 academic hours weekly)

4. Presence at rehearsals of Vaganova Ballet Academy repertoire

5. Visual practice at Character dance, History dance and Pas-de-deux lessons

6. Practical course (twice a week in a separate group with Vaganova Ballet Academy teachers)

6. Testing in the end of the Course 


Match 1-31, 2019, Junior classes

April 1-30, 2019, Middle classes

May 10 – June 11, 2019, Junior and Middle classes (almost full)

Sept. 10 – Oct. 10, 2019, Junior classes (almost full)

October 1-30, 2019, Middle classes

November 1-30, 2019, Middle classes, Variations

Number of participants is limited to 5 teachers in one Course.

For more information please follow the link.

Two foreign students received diplomas on the completion of the postgraduate education at VBA

This year, the first six students have completed their postgraduate education at the Vaganova Ballet Academy. Two foreign students are among them: Fethon Miozzi (Italy) and Sakamoto de Miasnikov Fatima Mayumi Tolenaida (Dominican Republic).

On November 20 they received diplomas on the completion of the postgraduate education program 50.06.01 Study of Art (Theory and history of art).

F.Miozzi, I.Irkhen, F.Sakamoto de Miasnikov
Fethon Miozzi and Mayumi Sakamoto de Miasnikov with Irina Irkhen, chief of the Postgraduate education department.

N.Tsiskaridze and F.Miozzi

N.Tsiskaridze and F.Sakamoto de Miasnikov

Photos by Andrew Lushpa.

Winners of the VIII International Vaganova-PRIX competition are announced

The final II round of the VIII Vaganova-PRIX International Ballet Competition was held on October 18 in the Hermitage Theater. Below is a list of the winners.

Mikhail Barkidjija (Russia)

Junior group – Boys
1 prize - Mikhail Barkidjija
2 prize - Junsu Lee (Republic of Korea)
3 prize -  Yan Begishev (Russia)

Junior group – Girls
1 prize - Seyeon Min (Republic of Korea)
2 prize - Yulia Bondareva (Russia)
3 prize - Lizi Avsadjanishvilli (Georgia)

Senior group – Boys
1 prize – Marko Juusela (Finland)
2 prize –  Danila Khamzin (Russia)
3 prize – Alexei Khamzin (Russia)

Senior group – Girls
1 prize – Anastasia Smirnova (Russia) and Alexandra Khiteeva (Russia)
2 prize – Aviva-Gelfer Mundl (USA)
3 prize – Anastasia Gorbatcheva (Russia)

Special prize of Natalia Dudinskaya and Konstantin Sergeev:
Seyeon Min

Special prize from the company Grishko:
Maria Malinina

Audience Choice Prize:
Aaron Osawa-Horowitz (USA) and Yulia Bondareva (Russia)

1-year Internship in Vaganova Ballet Academy:
Marats Sultanovs (Latvia) and Joana Senra (Portugal)

The chois of the jury of the Prix de Lausanne Pre-Selection:
Vladislav Khodasevich (Belarus),
Marats Sultanovs (Latvia),
Joana Senra (Portugal).

The first round of the Vaganova-PRIX competition is finished

The first round of the Vaganova-PRIX is finished at the Vaganova Ballet Academy.

There is a list of participants who passed in the II round of the competition.

The jury
The Vaganova-PRIX jury.

The jury
The Vaganova-PRIX jury.

Vladlen Semionov
Vladlen Semionov is giving a class for boys in the I round of Vaganova-PRIX.

girls of junior group duiring the I round
The I round of Vaganova=PRIX. Girls of Junior group.

Marina Vasilieva is giving a class for girls in the I round of competition
Marina Vasilieva is giving a class for girls in the I round of competition.

Photos by Andrei Lushpa.

Vaganova-PRIX starts in a few days

VIII International Ballet Competition Vaganova-PRIX starts on October 15 at the VaganovaBalletAcademy. The Organizing Committee of the competition received 92 applications for participation from students of ballet schools from 20 countries (Australia, Belarus, Great Britain, Hungary, Georgia, Israel, Italy, Canada, China, Kazakhstan, Republic of Korea, Latvia, Moldova, Portugal, Russia, USA, Uzbekistan, Ukraine, Finland, France, Japan). After preliminary selection, there are 62 participants in the list: 21 girls and 11 boys in the Junior group; 20 girls and 10 boys in the Senior group.

There have been instituted  the following prizes for winners: Two First Prizes (for female and male dances), two Second Prizes (for female and male dancers), two Third Prizes (for female and male dancers), fourteen  prizes for participants in the second round, two special prizes of Vaganova Ballet Academy – ten month training at the Academy for international participants. In addition to the above mentioned prizes, this year the Jury of the Vaganova-PRIX will choose the participant who will get the Grand Prix - a silver figurine of Galina Ulanova as Odette from  ballet "SwanLake". The prototype for the Grand Prix sculpture was creation by E. Janson-Manizer in the late 1930s and porcelain replica made at the Imperial Porcelain Factory. Specially for Vaganova-PRIX this figurine is made of 925 sterling silver by the master of the Sasonko Jewelry House.

Изготовление статуэтки Галины Улановой - Gtand Prix конкурса.

Vaganova-PRIX competition will be held in two rounds. Contestants in the Ist Round of the Competition will perform Classical dance class with elements of A. Vaganova class (girls) and with elements of V. Ponomarev class (boys). The 2nd Round of the Competition will be held at the Hermitage Theater on October 18. Contestants will perform one classical duet or two variations from the proposed list, including variation from A. Vaganova (for girls).

This year, based on the Agreement with the "Prix de Lausanne" Organizing Committee,
VaganovaBalletAcademy will host the Pre-selection of the "Prix de Lausanne"-2019 International Competition on October 17. Those who wish to take part in the Pre-selection will have to perform a contemporary dance variation.

On October 20, the Gala Concert of prize-winners of the Vaganova-PRIX will take place in Mariinsky Theater. Students of VaganovaBalletAcademy will present the ballet "Suite en Blanc" (choreography by Serge Lifar) in the second part of the concert. Sergei Lifar Foundation kindly provided permission for this performance.

The President of the Foundation, Attilio Labis will be the Guest of Honour at the Gala as well as  Laurent Hilaire, l’etoile of Paris Opera Ballet, the Artistic Director of the Ballet of K. Stanislavsky and V. Nemirovich-Danchenko Moscow Musical Theater (the repertoire of the theater includes "Suite en Blanc").

Сюита в белом

Photos by Oleg Vaidner and Andrei Lushpa.

Vaganova Ballet Academy graduates received diplomas at the Catherine Palace

On June 26 the thirty five graduate students of the Vaganova Ballet Academy received their diplomas at the Catherine Palace. This year five students, including Maria Bulanova, Anastasia Demidova, Daria Ionova, Anastasia Nuykina and Maria Khoreva graduated with honours.

Fifteen foreign students who have completed a course of practical training received appropriate certificates.

Вручение дипломов

Вручение дипломов

Вручение дипломов

Вручение дипломов

Вручение дипломов

Вручение дипломов

Вручение дипломов

Вручение дипломов

The official part was followed traditionally by a ball.

Выпускной бал

Выпускной бал

Выпускной бал

Photo by Andrew Lushpa.

Irina Gensler, a Russian Ballet Grande Dame, Reveals Her Secrets
Most Russian ballerinas retire in their early 40s. Irina Gensler is different: She danced solo parts until she was 51 — and now she is passing on her wisdom to the next generation. Article from The Daily Beast.


Irina Gensler crossed her slender legs in light velvet pants and shoes of soft leather, placed a thick photo album on her knees and smiled: here it was, an archive of eight decades of life immersed in Russian ballet.

With delicate, youthful fingers, Gensler pointed at the photos of herself, a strong and unusually flexible dancer with sparkling eyes and curly dark hair.

During her 35-year-long career at Mariinsky Theater, also known as the Kirov, Gensler performed Spanish, Italian, Polish, Gipsy, Hungarian, and other character dances in dozens of classical ballets.

Today, at age 87 she gives lectures about character dance for teachers at Russia’s best-known ballet school, the 280-year-old Vaganova Academy.

The ballet professor believes that the secret of her longevity is her natural resilience and her commitment to preserving and passing on the traditions of classical character dance from generation to generation.

Most Russian ballerinas retire in their early forties. Gensler was different: She danced solo parts on the Mariinsky stage until she turned 51.

But even after that, she never really retired and continued to teach ballet in Egypt, Italy, Spain and at the Vaganova in St.Petersburg.

“Currently I am working on restoring the original Polish dance ‘Krakowiak,’” Gensler told The Daily Beast. “You see, I have to pass on the character parts, that I was destined to perform in classical ballets to the next generations of dancers—this is my life responsibility.”

Gensler was born in 1930 in Leningrad in a family of intellectuals. “My father came from a family of Germans, who Peter the Great brought from Europe, generations ago,” Gensler explained her last name.

Her uncle played clarinet in the city’s philharmonic orchestra—Gensler danced whenever she heard music. She is one of very few living ballerinas who studied in the class of Agrippina Vaganova, the originator of the eponymous ballet method based on the Imperial Russian Ballet.

During World War II, when thousands of people died of hunger in besieged Leningrad, the Vaganova school was evacuated to a village in the Ural mountains outside the city of Perm.

“It was a tiny provincial place, where we had no place to dance but at least we were not hungry,” the ballerina remembered.

Some of her colleagues at the Kirov theater—known as the Mariinsky today—dreamed of dancing and living abroad. Rudolf Nureyev was the first famous ballet star to defect to the West. In 1961 he refused to go back to Leningrad during the theater’s tour in Paris; the same year he performed at London’s Royal Ballet. “I couldn't think of escaping from my country where I had two children and my parents,” Gensler told The Daily Beast.

This year Russian ballet, which was inspired by 19th century Romanticism, marks the 200th anniversary of Marius Petipa, a groundbreaking French-born choreographer of the Mariinsky Theater.

“On the 29th of May, 1847 I arrived by ship in St.Petersburg… I served for 60 years at the same place, in the same theater, quite a rare phenomenon,” Petipa wrote about in his memoirs about the Mariinsky, where he created more than 70 ballets, including the famous NutcrackerSwan Lake and Sleeping Beauty. Petipa died in Russia, at age 92.

“It is so wonderful, that we have Petipa!” Gensler said as she recalled her own experience, learning character dances in Swan Lake, as well as La Bayadère, from her old ballet masters—just the way her own students learn from her today.

Gensler’s strong posture, emotional gestures and girlish voice make you forget about her real age. “My repertoire included 25 ballets. It was not difficult for me, as from an early age I adored ballet. Whenever I heard music, I could dance endlessly,” she remembers. “You see, it is not only your grace, flexible limbs, or your ability to lift your leg to 180 degrees that makes you a good ballet dancer,” Gensler told The Daily Beast, punching the air with a firm fist. “It is very much your stoicism, your resilience.”

Such qualities have served Russian ballerinas well during their country’s wars, repression and economic struggles of the last three centuries. “Ballet theaters do not pay much, many graduates of our academy move to work on the West,” Gensler said with regret. “In 1989 my entire course of graduates immigrated, it was a remarkable change.”

*   *   * 

Political systems collapsed and grew strong again, scandals at the theaters filled dancers’ hearts with depression and panic, but choreography survived all the storms and turbulence.

In 2013 an acid attack on the Bolshoi Theatre director Sergei Filin shocked even the most indifferent Russia observers.

In one of his first interviews after the violence, Filin told me that “the attack was the culmination of a long-running battle at the Bolshoi Theatre over roles, money and onstage glory.”

A few years later, Anastasia Volochkova, former prima ballerina of the Bolshoi, said on Russian television that the theater’s management forced its ballerinas to act as escorts for business and political elites in Moscow and Paris.

No violence, provocative battles or intrigues could spoil Russian ballet’s reputation for excellence, however.

Ballet schools continue to empower their graceful students, and dancers are still willing to accept long and demanding hours and low pay to pursue their dream of a life on stage.

To make it on time for her classes, Gensler wakes up early in her one-room apartment on the outskirts of St. Petersburg.

She walks to the station to catch a local train to downtown St. Petersburg, the city where Anna Pavlova, George Balanchine, Rudolf Nureyev, Mikhail Baryshnikov and many other great dancers learned the basics of classical choreography.

This month, football players and fans visiting St. Petersburg for the World Cup might be interested to see the Vaganova Academy on Rossi Avenue, the former Imperial Ballet School that was established in 1788 during the era of Empress Anna. They may even catch a glimpse of a flock of ballet dancers hurrying into the school.

Even after so many years, Gensler is still deeply committed to her role as a keeper and restorer of original choreography created by Petipa and other great ballet masters.

Gensler’s students know only too well that, unlike music, the moves, looks and passion of character dance cannot be put into a series of notes. “Irina Gensler, my dear teacher, likes to say that ballet masters pass choreography ‘from foot to foot’; I learned from her at Vaganova school,” one of her former students, St. Petersburg choreographer and dancer Andrei Bogdanov told The Daily Beast.

“It is her strong character, the passion of dance that she passed to us, the unique knowledge of character dance, that cannot be written on paper.”

Bogdanov thanked Gensler for giving him and other students what he called a “theatrical vaccination” against the frequent drudgery and hardship of daily life.

“It protects us from, and helps us rise above, the hunchbacked, grey reality that we often see in the streets outside the theater.”

Text by Anna Nemtsova, The Daily Beast, June 16, 2018

“Vaganova-PRIX” International competition starts accepting applications from participants


Vaganova Ballet Academy informs of opening registration and accepting applications for "Vaganova -PRIX" International Competition-2018.
We welcome senior students from Russian and International choreographic schools, colleges and academies to participate in the " Vaganova-PRIX"
Ballet Competition that will take place in St. Petersburg from October 14 till October 21, 2018.

We are pleased to announce that based on the Agreement with the "Prix de Lausanne" Organizing Committee,
Vaganova Ballet Academy will host in the same dates the Pre-selection of the "Prix de Lausanne"-2019 International Competition.

"Vaganova-Prix" International competition is for students of professional choreographic ballet institutions aged 15-19.
To register, fill in the Application form for the Competition and to learn of the Competition regulations please follow the link:

Davide Loriccio, student of Vaganova Ballet Academy has received scholarship of Prix de Lausanne - 2018

Davide Loricchio, student of Vaganova Ballet Academy (pedagog - Fethon Miozzi) has received a scholarship of International Prix de Lausanne - 2018 competition.

The scholarship will give Davide a chance to start his ballet career in one of the partner theatres of the Prix de Lausanne.

Давиде Лориккио

Photo by Gregory Batardon

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