‣ What technology are you using to hold your classes and how did you decide upon it? Was there a learning curve for you and your faculty, or was it something you were already familiar with?
Before the COVID situation we never planned to do online classes or intensives; we like the traditional way of teaching, with contact and a live experience. But the moment we saw what a disaster the pandemic situation was creating for ballet students, we decided that we needed to support them.
After some research we decided to try Zoom. A big part of our teaching team was very skeptical. We spent two months creating a special methodical program that would be perfect. From April to June we gave a lot of free classes after which we felt very prepared to give technical support to our teachers and students, and our teachers were better prepared in the methodology.
So during the Russian Masters and Vaganova Academy Online Intensives held this summer we got very satisfactory results, even better than we expected.
‣ Do you think you will continue using Zoom when you return back to the studios?
For the moment I think it’s too early to predict what the future will hold. We can see that online ballet courses can be very professional and beneficial, especially for the students who can’t travel due to multiple reasons such as schedule, money, and nowadays… restrictions. So for the next couple of years, we certainly would like to offer the option of professional extracurricular intensive training. In fact, we are now preparing for our official winter course, a Vaganova Academy Online Intensive that will start on December 27.
‣ What have been the main challenges of preparing online ballet classes?
Training our teachers to use computers, cables, cameras, Zoom, etc. The faculty that works with us are the most experienced teachers of classical ballet in Russia; they work at the Vaganova Academy, Eifman Ballet Academy and the country’s biggest theatres. They know everything about ballet, but they weren’t prepared for digital training. We provided managers and translators for each teacher and created a really comfortable space for them, so finally we all got it!