The French School of Classical Ballet:
The First Year of Training

Vanina Wilson


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"A finely written, detailed description of the first year of classical ballet training and its importance in the French School of Ballet. A worthwhile read for any ballet teachers interested in providing their students with a strong foundation in the French classical technique."--François Perron, Artistic Director at the French Académie of Ballet

"An instant and valuable treasure. With an insider’s depth of knowledge, the program is clear and detailed and provides both the teacher and serious students a ‘bible’ from which to work and refer. Definitely one to add to resource collections!"--Dean Speer, author of On Technique


One of the most commonly taught systems of classical ballet instruction is that of the French school. This thirty-three-week training manual parallels the presentation of basic steps, positions, and alignment that first-year, pre-professional students are taught. Critical elements of placement and alignment are fully described with proper French terminology, and more than one hundred photographs illustrate key positions.

Well organized for ease of use, The French School of Classical Ballet presents poses and sequences in the order in which a ballet instructor would present them in a typical course--starting with the simplest positions and movements and building on them to gradually increase the level of difficulty.

This volume serves as a blueprint for a complete beginning ballet curriculum or simply as a source of reference for certain steps, positions, or exercises that exemplify French ballet training. Weekly lesson plans, measurable goals, and an easy-to-follow progression make this a must-have instructional manual, as well as a practical tool for the serious student away from class.

Vanina Wilson studied with some of the masters of the Paris Opera Ballet Company and School. After having taught many years in the United States, she now teaches privately in France.

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