I believe that the Russian ballet school is one of the few (if not the only) school that keeps the traditions of the classical ballet art. It is the authentic source of all the ballet schools I’d dare say. And no ballet dancer trained outside of Russia can experience the same atmosphere and the spirit of the ballet art, as Russian ballet dancers do. That is why the Russian ballet dancers are the most famous, and the best, in the world.
While his approach is softer than that reported here in March 2014…
I always said there are only three schools in the world: if you want to be a real ballet artist, you must train in Paris, St Petersburg or Moscow. That’s it! These are the three main centres for ballet culture.
…comments that provoked indignant cries from the American and British schools (and the other Russian schools, the Ukrainian, German schools, and many others). Of course, as director of the Vaganova Academy, you’d expect him to cheer for the home side. Diplomacy was never his strong point during his dancing career either.
Vaganova Academy diplomas are the most coveted in this sphere of arts both in Russia, and around the world… Our academy is a veritable “Alma Mater” of Russian ballet, and it is an honour for me to be a rector of it. Consequently, I will do everything to keep the traditions of classical Russian ballet preserved and in place.
Which must be a relief the the many Russian dancers and teachers who criticised his appointment, which was bizarre to say the least.
However, in this latest interview, he underlines his approach to teaching young children:
First of all I explain the difference between art and athleticism. Any ballet artist must put meaning into his or her movements, otherwise the ballet becomes absurd.
So his heart and head must be in the right place.