The purpose of Warrenton Ballet Center is to bring a classical ballet school with a comprehensive education to Warrenton and the surrounding areas. We teach the Vaganova method of technique as taught in Russia, Europe, and large cities across the United States. We offer a 10-month training year starting in late August and ending in mid-June as well as offering summer intensives to expose students to guest teachers and different technique styles. It is important to us to give our students the educational dance opportunities that are provided in large schools far from home within our own community.
We at Warrenton Ballet Center believe that every student should have high-quality training regardless of religion, sexual orientation, social or economic status, or ethnicity.
Our mission is to create great dancers. In a nurturing and supportive environment, we bring world-class Vaganova training to students that enables them to achieve the highest levels of technique and artistry and celebrates their individual successes, personal growth, and accomplishments. We seek to not only educate and support the new generation of dancers through the rich heritage of Vaganova technique, but to amaze, excite, and embolden them as the future of our art.
Students are trained in the structure of the Vaganova technique, which was developed by Agrippina Vaganova. She graduated from the Imperial Ballet School in Saint Petersburg in 1897 and then began dancing with the school’s associated professional company, the Imperial Russian Ballet. She retired from dancing in 1916 to pursue a teaching career, and in 1921, she began teaching at her alma mater, which had been renamed the Leningrad Choreographic School. During her 30-year tenure, Vaganova developed her own ballet technique that combined elements of French, Italian, and earlier Russian technique as well as a training method to teach the technique.
In 1948, Vaganova authored a book, The Foundation for Dance (now more commonly known as Basic Principles of Russian Classical Dance) that outlined her training method and ballet technique. Characteristics of this training method include developing lower back strength and arm plasticity, as well as increasing the strength, flexibility, and endurance required for ballet. A detailed instruction process specifies when each topic should be introduced to students and how long it should be taught.
The Vaganova training method rests on the principle that all training can be encompassed and displayed in the course of one grand pas de deux. Students at the Vaganova Academy in Saint Petersburg, Russia are trained to prove this principle upon graduation. The most talented students are chosen to perform a grand pas de deux at the school’s annual graduation performance.