5th year Vaganova students in character class dancing to Tchaikovsky's Danse russe (No.10 from his 12 Morceaux for piano, Op.40) Character dance is a specific subdivision of classical dance. It is the stylized representation of a traditional folk or national dance, and it's mainly from European countries. it uses movements and music which have been modified for the theater. Character dance is essential to most of the classical ballet repertoire.
The Vaganova Academy is one of the leading ballet schools in the world. It also also one of the oldest ballet academies in the world, established on May 4, 1738. The Academy has over 300 students. As in other similar schools, the opportunity for a place at the school is very competitive. There are over 3,000 children auditioning each year and approximately 60 students are selected annually, yet only about 25 eventually graduate from the school having completed the full course of training.