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The only pedagogical program which can be attended from virtually anywhere in the world and instructs in the complete, pure and unaltered teaching method which trained the greatest artists of the 20th century.
“I have built my ballet program around Prof. Willis-Aarnio’s teacher’s courses and student workshops, and I am proud to say that my dancers are strong, injury-free and absolutely beautiful. I looked long and hard for something that would take all the mystery out of each ballet exercise. Teaching method has enabled me to become a more confident teacher. My dancers love the lessons and are very excited to see their progress.”Sharon Steele, President Harmonic Motion School of Classical Ballet, Rockwall, TX
(Photo of Natalia Makarova.)
Why Our Courses
In an interview on his Late Show, David Letterman asked Natalia Makarova (former prima ballerina of the Kirov, called “the finest ballerina of her generation in the West”), what is the relationship between ballet and Russia? She replied, “The same.” Indeed, ballet and Russia are inseparable, and this is largely if not singlehandedly due to the life of one woman: Agrippina Vaganova.
Vaganova’s life’s work to found a physiologically correct teaching method changed forever the future of classical ballet, not only in Russia but throughout the world. When the Russian artists trained using this method first came to America (including Mikhail Baryshnikov, Rudolf Nureyev, Natalia Makarova, the Panovs and others), nothing like them had ever been seen before. Even today, these artists are the stuff of legends, and no other teaching method has even come close to producing dancers at the same caliber.
What makes our pedagogical program special is that we guarantee that what you learn is not an imitation, an alteration or even an incomplete picture of the teaching method Vaganova founded and which was completed by her assistant, Vera Kostrovitskaya (with the collaboration and input of countless other methodologists and experts in various scientific fields). That’s because our courses are taught by Professor Emeritus Peggy Willis-Aarnio, the only American certified by the Head of the Methodology Department at the Vaganova Academy (Valentina Roumiantseva, a student of Agrippina Vaganova) as a “teacher of teachers.”
More importantly, however, as a dedicated student of John Barker–the principle pedagogical student of Vera Kostrovitskaya herself–Prof. Willis-Aarnio instructs in the COMPLETE, PURE and UNALTERED method. Through these courses, we hope to help preserve this exact method, since it is the only scientifically developed and physiologically sound system for training a classical artist to date.
“The true procedure for training in Classical Ballet can be learned at the most knowledgeable and capable hands of Dr. Peggy Willis-Aarnio, and nobody can explain, teach or pass on this precious knowledge better than [she].”
Marina Medvetskaya, Director Saint-Petersburg Classic Ballet Theatre
“[Peggy Willis-Aarnio's] knowledge of the method of classical ballet is so very precious and I am very grateful for all the time, effort, and sacrifices [she has] put into learning, implementing, and teaching it. [Her] work to document the method is and will be an incredible legacy and a never-ending gift to the world of ballet.”
Catherine Reese, Pedagogical Student of Peggy Willis-Aarnio (2013)
From Russia to America to the World
Our program is also unique because we have harnessed the power of the Internet to conduct the live sessions and for the first time enabling anyone from virtually anywhere in the world to attend! Of course, we do offer in situ courses as well. For our schedule, to enroll, or for more information, please use the links on the top-left of this page. Contact me with any questions you have.
As a pedagogical student myself, I am very much looking forward to studying with you!