” Natural talents are great, but they don’t appear often enough to fill our theatres with good dancers. There has to be a method… ”
– Gabriela Darvish on the Russian method
Melbourne School of Classical Dance teaches children’s classical ballet technique using the Australian Conservatoire of Ballet’s 12-year program, devised by Christine Walsh AM. It is designed to suit the needs of all classical ballet students who are unable to take full-time dance training from an early age. The Australian Conservatoire of Ballet training and assessment, emphasises correct placement, dynamics and performing qualities that are inherent in the Vaganova method.
The Russian technique is employed by many professional ballet companies (and their associated academies) both in Australia and world-wide. It is proven to produce excellent results with both vocational and recreational students because it teaches each dancer to move her/his body intuitively with grace, style and strength.
The Russian technique fuses the romantic style of French ballet with the athletic virtuosity that characterizes the Italian school. This technique has produced many of the best dancers in the world, including Anna Pavlova, Natalia Makarova, Mikhail Baryshnikov, the legendary choreographer George Balanchine, and professional dancers in almost every company in the world.
One important feature of the Russian method is the progressive manner in which material is introduced. This allows for the slow and steady development of the dancer, encouraging a true understanding of basic principles and a solid basis for advanced work. In this method, new work is introduced regularly so that young dancers exercise their minds as well as their bodies, developing the skills of adaptability and memory, essential for every dancer.
Early training focuses on epaulement, or the stylized turning of the shoulders and body, which instills in the dancer an intuitive anticipation of how best to use every part of his or her body to evoke breathtaking results, right down to the hands and eyes. The Russian Method’s codified technical approach thus emphasises the simultaneous development of both technical proficiency and individual artistry, and a complete range of movement expression that comes out of proper placement and a strong classical dance foundation.
Crossing over to the Russian Method:
For those planning to cross over from other syllabi: Please note that the demands of the ACB levels are often considerably greater the demands of the same numerical level in other syllabi and that it is difficult to make comparisons. It is recommended that students begin with a Trial Class to assess their level.