The Six Year Program
In 1969, Vera Kostrovitskaya wrote a Six Year syllabus for the Vaganova Academic Choreographic School in Leningrad. The syllabus was an accelerated version of the Eight Year Program. The idea behind it was to give talented boys and girls, who had started ballet later, an opportunity to study. Natalia Makarova, Mikhail Baryshnikov, and Rudolf Nureyev were trained by teachers using this program. In the late 1970s, John Barker, of the John Barker School of Ballet in New York, NY, working with Kostrovitskaya in Russia, brought this Six Year Program to the United States. He used it to train ballet teachers at his school.
Barker worked with Kostrovitskaya for eleven years. He translated into English her text School of Classical Dance. It was first published in Russia by Progress Publishers and later, was published by Dance Books, Cecil Court, London. The book received the First Prize in the 1978 Exhibition of Achievements of the National Economy. Barker also self-published Kostrovitskaya’s 101 Classical Dance Lessons which contains sample lessons from the First to the Eighth Class. (There is another ballet lesson book by Kostrovitskaya, which was translated into English, titled 100 Classical Dance Lessons. It is not the same translation.) Among the American teachers who took Barker’s teachers courses are: Janet L. Springer, Sharon Dante, Howard Epstein, Willard Hall, Kevin Martin, Lynda Gooding Nelson, Peggy Willis Aarnio Gretchen Ward Warren, and John White.
Noted Soviet ballet writer and historian Natalia Roslavleva René said: “John Barker, who has a complete understanding of teaching method and has received the highest praise from Vera Kostrovitskaya, has here produced works even more valuable than their Russian originals, because he has taken into consideration the fact that they were written for Soviet professionals and has added annotations here and there throughout the texts (sometimes extending to several paragraphs) in order to make details clear to the Western reader.”
A Tribute to John Barker (11/20/1929 – 4/18/2020)
John William Barker was originally from Chicago and was a scholarship student at the Stone-Camryn School. Later, he was a scholarship student at the School of American Ballet studying under the direction of Anatolo Obukhov and Pierre Vladimiroff. He danced with Anthony Tutor and some modern dance choreographers before opening the John Barker School of Ballet in New York in the 1970’s. He taught a sample lesson in the Tashkent Choreographic School, Uzbekistan (Soviet Capital, Asia). His lesson there was compared, by the administration, to lessons taught by Vaganova and Pushkin (Barker, 1972).
Barker, J. (1972). A visit to the tashkent choreographic school. In T. J. B. S. o. Ballet (Ed.), Soubresaut (Vol. Number Eight, pp. 12). New York, NY: John Barker Publication.