2 June 2023 11am – 1pm

(Re) Discovering the Karsavina Syllabus: the art and craft of ports de bras (London, UK)

Drawing on Tamara Karsavina’s unique ballet syllabus created for the Royal Academy of Dance’s three-year Teachers’ Training Course (1954), this workshop explores selected technical, artistic and interpretative aspects of ports de bras as presented in the Karsavina Syllabus. Through practice, participants will embody (experience) components of technique, movement dynamics and artistic interpretations which are indicative of the Karsavina Syllabus ports de bras settings, and which thread throughout the syllabus itself.

As well as performing excerpts, participants will have an opportunity to observe the tutor coach ports de bras settings, with specific reference being made to the stylist and nuanced detail of movement and technique required for authentic performance. Participants will then experience performing (to one’s own ability) key features which define selected port de bras as presented in the Karsavina Syllabus. This embodiment is followed by an opportunity to discuss what has been observed, before appraising the art and craft of ports de bras from one’s lived and applied experiences as a ballet teacher.


The aim of this workshop is to experience, discuss and debate the art and craft of ports de bras as presented in the Karsavina Syllabus.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of the workshop, you will:

  • have a basic knowledge and understanding of Karsavina’s teaching philosophies and thinking which underpin ports de bras as presented in the Karsavina Syllabus,
  • have experienced and observed components of technique, artistry movement dynamics and interpretation indicative of ports de bras as presented in the Karsavina Syllabus,
  • be able to value and appreciate Karsavina’s contribution to ballet as an art form and historical legacies of ballet teaching,
  • have gained critical analytical skills to reflect upon and apply some of the principles which underpin the Karsavina Syllabus to one’s own teaching of ballet, and
  • have engaged in discussions with peers on various aspects of ports de bras.


RAD headquarters, London SW11 3JZ

Recommended Preparation

Participants are encouraged to undertake prior investigation of Tamara Karsavina as ballerina and teacher, and Russian Imperial Ballet histories (and in particular training legacies and influences) of the late 19th, early 20th centuries. You will find suggested resources in your booking confirmation email.


Virginia Parkinson

CPD Hours

2 hours Time-Valued CPD


Members of the Royal Academy of Dance receive discounts on all CPD activities.

How to book

For details on how your information is processed, please see the Cvent Privacy Policy and the CPD Privacy Notice. Please also read our Terms and Conditions.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding the above, please contact the CPD Team, cpd@rad.org.uk


If you have any questions about this activity, please email cpd@rad.org.uk

Book now (Sterling)

Book now (Euro)

Book now (US Dollars)


Key Information

Time Fee
11am – 1pm Member Fee: £45/€52/$54
Non-Member Fee: £54/€63/$65

Who can attend?

All dance teachers are welcome, including:

  • Graduates of LRAD (three year programme), BA (Hons) Art and Teaching of Ballet and BA (Hons) Ballet Education,
  • RAD Registered Teachers, and
  • Experienced ballet teachers from other dance awarding organisations/training establishments