Russian Ballet Method
The Legat Russian method is not just a name, rather it depicts a style and system which is deep in history and tradition. Nicholai Legat (1869 – 1937) was forward thinking and ahead of his time. Legat was born in St Petersburg and was a third generation dancer. He first studied under Volkov, then became a pupil of Christian Johannson, the great Swedish teacher. Enrico Cecchetti was another master he admired, but Legat favoured the elegance of the ‘French’ style and he had written in his memoirs that, ‘The development of the Russian method of dancing lay in the fact that we learnt from everybody, and adapted what we learnt to ourselves. What gave us inspiration, we applied our knowledge and stamp of Russian national genius and moulded it into the electric art of Russian Ballet.’
After the death of Christian Johannson, Legat stood unchallenged as the natural successor to the position of Professor of the Class of Perfection, Ballet Master and Principal Choreographer at the Imperial Ballet Theatre. Many great artists including Nijinsky, Fokine,Vaganova passed through his hands. Legat was honoured by Czar Nicholas II for his 25 years loyal service.
Nicholai Legat met and eventually married his third wife, ballerina, Nadine Nicolaeva and in1922 they were granted a six month leave abroad. They left Russia, never to return. After a short engagement touring with the Diaghilev Ballet they left for London where they established a school for ballet at Colet Gardens, London.
Leading dancers from all over the world would come to take class from Nicholai Legat, such as Anton Dolin, Michael Soames, Alan Carter, Anna Pavlova, Phyllis Bedells, Ninette de Valois, Cleo Nordi, Alicia Markova, Margot Fonteyn, Moira Shearer are just a few who were influenced by his teaching.
Legat’s method was continued by his pupil Agrippina Vaganova who guided the course of Soviet Ballet we see today. The Legat Russian method continues through the teachers of today and we are all proud to carry the tradition forward. His wife, Nadine Nicolaeva Legat, continued his legacy and brought the Legat name into prominence with the existence of the Legat School of Russian Ballet.
Sadly, the school in 2012 no longer exists, but in name only, ‘Legat at St Bedes’ There is no Legat Russian training offered except through the teachers’ who are members of the Russian Ballet Society. The Society was founded in 1923 and continues to preserve and promote the teachings of the great Master, as he was known.
The Southborough School of Dance offers its pupils this unique and progressive
‘Legat Russian Method’