Russian ballet teacher who developed the Vaganova method – the technique which derived from the teaching methods of the old Imperial Ballet School (today the Vaganova Academy of Russian Ballet) under the Premier Maître de Ballet Marius Petipa throughout the mid to late 19th century, though mostly throughout the 1880s and 1890s. It was Vaganova who perfected and cultivated this form of teaching the art of classical ballet into a workable syllabus. Her Fundamentals of the Classical Dance (1934) remains a standard textbook for the instruction of ballet technique. Her technique is one of the most popular techniques today. She is of Armenian descent.
Vaganova's whole life was connected with the Imperial Ballet (later the Kirov Ballet) of the Mariinsky Theatre in Saint Petersburg. She was accepted into the Imperial Ballet School in 1888, the great institution of classical dance founded by Anna of Russia and funded by the Tsars. She graduated from the Classe de Perfection of the former Prima Ballerina Eugeniia Sokolova (she was also trained by Ekaterina Vazem, Christian Johansson, Lev Ivanov, Nikolai Legat and Pavel Gerdt).