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, prima ballerina assoluta.)
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 due to the life of one woman: Agrippina Vaganova.
Vaganova’s life’s work to create 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 many 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 entirely unique 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 pedagogical pupil of John Barker–the principal pedagogical student of Vera Kostrovitskaya and the recipient of Vaganova’s legacy in the West–and 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”, the highest qualification given to a teacher of classical dance.
Prof. Willis-Aarnio has committed the past 40 years of her life to passing on the COMPLETE, PURE and UNALTERED method. She has shown through the success of her students, and through her own success as a prolific choreographer, that this method really works when it is followed precisely. Through her teacher’s 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.
Photo of Natalia Romanova, one of the last pupils of Natalia Dudinskaya (by Dennis Massey, courtesy of the Willis Ballet)
“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
The Teaching Method of Classical Dance was not created for Russia alone, but was meant to be the Universal method for training classical artists. Indeed, it was Vaganova’s wish that teacher’s congresses would someday be held all over the world. (This information about Vaganova’s wishes came to light as part of Prof. Willis-Aarnio’s research and is clearly stated in her book on Vaganova, along with other interesting facts about Vaganova’s perspective on the future of classical ballet.)
Today, Vaganova’s wish has been made a reality through the comprehensive work of Professor Emeritus, Peggy Willis-Aarnio, and, most recently, through the power of the Internet to conduct teaching sessions, for the first time enabling anyone from virtually anywhere in the world to attend!
To view this factual and visual record of the results of this method through Prof. Willis-Aarnio’s hard work and perseverance using this method on all ages, from 9.5 years and up, request a FREE, newly released DVD documentary film (6 disc set), containing 15 hours of inspiring videos of her works and the achievements of her students, all made possible because of the knowledgeable application of teaching method. Also, coming soon, will be a video showing the premier of Prof. Willis-Aarnio’s first ballet, Rhapsody on a Love Theme, starring former Prima Ballerina of the Kirov Ballet, Galina Mezentseva, with a major Russian Company in Russia! (Click here to view the trailer.)
Enrolling Now for Courses
Starting February 2014
We also offer in situ courses as well. To learn how to host one of our courses, click here. 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.
Thank you for helping to preserve this precious knowledge. As a pedagogical student myself, I am very much looking forward to studying with you!