Vaganova Ballet Evaluations

Each March the Vaganova Dance Society hosts ballet evaluations for dancers in Alberta who are training in the Vaganova technique. Two guest evaluators are invited to observe and provide feedback by the way of a written report. These evaluators have themselves been trained within the Vaganova system, many have had professional ballet careers and have studied at the Vaganova choreographic school in St. Petersburg.

The evaluation process follows the choreographic school’s process as closely as possible. Dancers enter the room with their instructor who conducts the class. As many as 10 dancers enter the room together. The syllabus is presented as a class, demonstrating the exercises in unison with a clear understanding of the technique, Vaganova style and musicality. Either live piano accompaniment or digital music is played.

Based on the syllabus guidelines for each level, the teacher creates exercises best suited to the class’s strengths and abilities. A character dance is presented at the end of the evaluation. Character is a stylized representation of a folk dance mostly from European countries. It teaches different rhythms, musicality and muscle use which compliments the ballet training. Many of the classical ballets include character in the repertoire.

The evaluation has the following sections on which the dancers are critiqued.

  • Barre
  • Center
  • Allegro & pirouettes
  • Pointe work
  • Character dance

Each section is given a mark out of 5 points with 5 being excellent in all placement and musicality.

The marking is as follows:

  • 1/5 Approaching standard
  • 2/5 Standard
  • 3/5 Good 
  • 4/5 Very good
  • 5/5 Excellent

Each dancer receives a report highlighting their strengths and areas which need attention. This assists the dancer in focusing their training as they continue with ballet. Dancers also receive a certificate from the Society showing the completion of the level entered.

Dancers ages 7 and up are entered into the evaluations. The levels are as follows:

  • Pre-Junior
  • Junior 1
  • Junior 2
  • Junior 3 (includes pointe work)
  • Elementary 1-2-3-4
  • Intermediate 1-2-3