Ask Responses – Vaganova


A compilation of responses to the questions about Vaganova Ballet Academy which came through ask recently. Thank you for asking.

Any info as to why the girls at Vaganova tie their pointe shoe ribbons on the outer edge of their shoes rather than the inner?

The way the girls tie their ribbons was one of the first things Tsiskaridze changed at VBA. He insisted that everyone does it the “old-fashioned” Vaganova way. Now, I’m not sure what that way actually is. I couldn’t find the exact specifications. Could be that tying the ribbons on the outer edge is part of it… I don’t know. 

Do you know of any VBA students who unfortunately got injured and had to leave VBA for good? And what did they pursue after? Thank you!

That list is pretty long… I’m hesitant to add Polina Konogray to it, but it appears that she is, indeed, the latest casualty. 

Do you know why Vaganova changed their uniforms? If I’m doing the math right they changed when/just after Tsiskaridze came to Vaganova. Maria Kohreva posted an Instagram picture recently of her from the 3rd grade, and she was wearing very pretty dark green leotards. The @vaganova_russia account also has a picture of 7th students wearing dark red leos. I have to say I think the old uniforms look much nicer… the purple one for the middle grades looks terrible, lol. 🙁 The beige one is ok though.

This was one of the first changes implemented under Tsiskaridze. Apparently VBA didn’t have a set uniform when he arrived at the academy, so he struck a deal with Grishko, and they have been providing the uniforms ever since.

Have there been any reviews of the Moscow VBA performance? I remember Nikolai making a comment in a documentary how that performance is yet another test for him?

Major blogs like Ballet Insider and Voci dell’Opera covered it, but professional critics are silent. Tsiskaridze voiced a theory a few years ago (and I agree with him entirely) that, since all ballet critics in Moscow are on someone’s payroll, the powers that be must first give permission for said critics to cover an event. Obviously, praising Tsiskaridze and his work is still prohibited in the capital.

Hi Melmoth! I’ve only recently started following your blog, and I really enjoy it! I’m sorry if I seem ignorant, but why is there so much hype surrounding Polina Konogray? Isn’t she only a 3rd year student? Also, I understand she is injured now, but was she in Tsiskaridze’s class? I’ve read several comments stating that she is one of his favourites. On that note, do you have any idea whether she will return to the academy? I really do hope she will be able to continue at the academy.

Polina would have been in 5th ballet (9th academic) grade this year. Before her injury she was considered the most promising student the academy has had in years. She wasn’t in Tsiskaridze’s class (he teaches boys and has so far only taught a class in 2016/17), but he is aware of all the best students at the academy and works with most of them personally from time to time. It’s unclear whether Polina will return to VBA. It seems very unlikely.

What is the general academic level of students at the Vaganova? I mean compared to other “regular” schools in St. Petersburg? I often wonder how vaganova students have the time and energy for school work, exam preparation and homework with all the training and performing they do.

It’s not great. VBA are required to teach academic classes, and students receive their middle school – highschool education there (the academic classes are mixed in with the ballet ones), but academics are not VBA’s prerogative.

Once Elya leaves, do you think that the next prima of VBA will be Maria Khoreva, then Svetlana Savelieva?

It’s hard to tell for sure, but it’s likely that Maria Khoreva will be the next star student.

d i s c l a i m e r