Ask Responses: Vaganova


Does the Vaganova academy have ways to prevent and treat possible eating disorders amongst dancers? Or is the mentality more like ‘create the most beautiful dancers no matter the cost’?

It’s a great questions, but since I’m not affiliated with VBA, I can’t really answer it. All I can do is guess and speculate.

While it’s true that Russians put aesthetic before health, the truth of the matter is that a student suffering from an eating disorder would not be able to meet the academy’s physical / health standards. VBA have a medical checklist on their website with the list of all the medical conditions which would prevent a student from attending the academy. Eating disorders are on that list. I know of cases when students who developed an eating disorder had to drop out or were removed from the academy. I think the teachers inform the parents if they see their child developing any potential health problems (the problem is that the parents don’t always take these warnings seriously).

Given the extreme physical demands of the day-to-day classes at the academy, plus the extreme added workload of professional practice (VBA students perform professionally a lot more under Tsiskaridze than in previous years) students suffering from, for example, anorexia simply wouldn’t be able to keep up. Anorexia affects muscles, among other things, so the risk of injury is extremely high. 

Hello! In the video Living and Breathing Ballet about Tsiskaridze’s final exam, four of the five students are wearing red string tied around their ankles. Do you know what that string means and why the fifth didn’t have it? Thank you and happy New Year!

Happy new Year! I (sort of) answered this question here and other added their comments in the notes.

@ethelzzle Hi I would like to know the age of Daria Ionova?

She’s 17.

Hi, I’m looking for a 2nd year girl named Maya who danced the pas de trois in the Nutcracker! Not sure which cast though. Do you happen to have a clip of her and know her full name?

Her name is Maya Grinfeld (Greenfeld). She’s a first year student. Sorry, I don’t have the clip.

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