Bart your courage is amazing! As my late husband (an acclaimed ballet master who was trained in East Germany and in Russia as well as made his USA career in a highly recognized American ballet company) would say, "oh Vikula, you really do not want to open that can of worms". Somehow I always did want to open that can so I could learn more. I will take a crack at the Vaganova question. Of course, you knew I would!
Prior to Vaganova, there was no written/codified method of teaching ballet from the beginning to the development of a professional dancer. Cecchetti and the Danes had a written/codified method however, it was for professional dancers only. It was only after Vaganova, with help of many others who are not given the distinguished recognition Vaganova is given, wrote/codified the methodology that others began to put down in ink how to do this and that from the beginning. The French to this day do not have a written program of study that details how to do this and how to do that.
As the Russians began to perform through cultural exchange programs as well as defect, the world was able to see the work that had been going on behind that large curtain. It was astounding not only mechanically but also artistically. Artists and audiences alike opened their eyes with eagerness for more. Ballet professionals wanted to know the hows and whys of what they were seeing. Not only did the Russians study ballet from the age of 10 in special schools that functioned as grammar, middle and high school, as we American students were unable to do, they also were trained methodically in music, character, duet (partnering), men's work, pointe, variations and repertoire. In short, they were far more educated in the art of classical dance than we. Europe also opened its' eyes to a higher level of technique and artistry. The Europeans had the educational system in place, but they did not have a program of study that had produced continuously dancers of a high caliber as consistently as the Russians. In the early 1980's through 1995, my husband (who defected in 1974) was asked to help to develop the teaching level of not only the Royal Ballet School in London but also the Australian Ballet School, ballet schools in Japan and the Philippines. The Russians had been quite busy setting up methodology clinics influencing the teaching in China, Cuba and many South American nations. The Russians had also been accepting international teachers to their methodology programs at GITIS (Moscow) and The Vaganova Academy ( St. Petersburg). Many of the teachers trained in Vaganova schooling as teachers were now out and about spreading the word, so to speak. In the 1980's and 1990's, the ballet teaching world was abuzz, discussing what the heck was it that Vaganova schooling was doing. Everyone has their opinions of what they like to see in students, so generally people were not in agreement about what they saw, liked nor understood, however people were talking and opening their eyes and minds to Vaganova schooling. Various small teachers courses began to pop up here and there. Some were qualified to pass along the information they learned in school but only those who had done additional studies as a teacher had the full program at their fingertips. My late husband alone was employed to train teachers in the Vaganova methodology on 3 continents. If this is not worldwide impact, I do not really know what is.
The influence of Vaganova and "her" methodology continues to shine through the dancers who continue to delight audiences worldwide. One will find the influence of Vaganova schooling in all of Europe, China, Asia, South America and in the USA. I know of someone setting up the teaching program for the national School in Guatamala! One might add Central America to the list. While not everyone likes what they see nor agrees on the topic of the schooling, every professional ballet person knows a well trained Vaganova dancer when they see one. Unfortunately I must also say, they also know a poorly trained one as well. There continue to be many people hiding behind the name Vaganova.
Please keep Vaganova on the list of most influential women in ballet in the 20th and 21st centuries.