From “DANCEHALL NEWS” of 23 October 2017

Monica, can you tell us about the method you developed? Whom is it for and what is it about?

“The Sava Method is aimed especially at private schools. Unlike in large academies, where a careful selection of students is usually provided, within a “non-professional” structure, a teacher will have before each type of body and child. The Vaganova technique, absolutely indisputable in its effectiveness, tends to work on predisposed bodies with a clear aptitude for the work of academic dance. However, everybody is different and a work that can be good for every Tom can be harmful to every Dick. For example: if I do not respect the type of body in front of me, and I try to force a 180-degree rotation on a child who is not naturally equipped with en dehors, there will be a twist in the knees and hips, and therefore a dislocation. I may damage. How do I avoid it?

You have to start from the basis. Everything depends on the support of the foot. This new formula of the Sava Method 1 – 5 – 0 (a nice way for an immediate reaction), allows the child, with few terminologies, to identify – immediately and alone – the right support on the floor, to align both the articulation of the legs and movement: for example, a plie. If the child uses his/her natural en dehors that starts from the hips, he/she will open his/her feet together and will press the five (the little finger) on the ground with the light heel. The five stimulates the external muscles of the leg that lead the knee in a precise direction on the tip of the feet.

I don’t touch the child, I don’t put him/her in unnatural positions and the weight of the body is distributed correctly.

The use of the term five promotes more immediate awareness. Muscle development depends on how we structure the skeletal system. First, you have to put the bones in the correct position, then the musculature in the movement will develop the direction we have given to the bones. For example, when we see the gluteus particularly accentuated, it is because the pelvis is strained without placing the opposite forces, the verticality, the growing with the head while the legs want to go down”.


If I understand correctly, therefore, the Sava Method refers to a different language that makes it easier and more effective to understand the positions, the setting of the body, and the use of the same.

“The effectiveness of the method concerns the way of communicating with the child, giving him/her precise and essential inputs so that he/she can memorize them and make them in simplicity. This type of work can already start at the age of six and over time the body will take on this upward dynamic using the rhythm, which is the basis of the Sava Method and which combines the Balanchine style”.

How would you define the Sava Method?

“An educational approach, a way to communicate – from the basis – a direct, effective and harmless message for all children attending dance schools”.

Suppose that not a child, but an adult person with a study and his/her setting decides to study dance according to the Sava Method.

“The approach is the same as with the child: few and effective words are used, what I call codes, which immediately lead to the right feeling. I will use a language appropriate to the age and intellectual path of the person in front of me”.

The Sava Method perfectly combines the rigour of the Vaganova Method with the dynamism of the Balanchine Method. How does this merger take place? What does it consist of?

The fusion provides a perfect union between the basic Vaganova technique and Balanchine‘s aesthetic. Balanchine conceives the upbeat dance: un pas de bourrée ends in relevés and not in the fifth position, a posè to start a pas de bourrée does not start from a sissonne tombée but from a pointè on the plie to go directly into relevè. Balanchine transformed the Vaganova pirouette, which provides IV plie preparation, into an IV fondue pose. Where I can’t go on a physical or technical level, Balanchine allows me to dance not by masking the lack but by highlighting the personality of each. The Sava Method lowers the level of understanding of fusion from the basis. The growing child must have a physique suitable for dance and at an intellectual level, the merger comes to life, already at six years, with a precise code that favours the application in private schools. Finally, it is an educational approach, help to conceive in a new way the path of the basic technique that we all know: Vaganova“.

Through the Sava Method, can a dancer who does not have particular physical qualities reach professionalism and be competitive with those who, instead, start from natural gifts and abilities?

“A child with a desire to learn and a love for the dance can achieve excellent results. A right work will allow an appropriate muscular and expressive development through the technical study. There are also children, perhaps with great physical qualities, poorly gifted in intellectual terms, who desire to work and to learn. Those little pupils will never be able to achieve professional ambitions. Intelligence in work is as important as talent and physical aptitude”.

If you had an anatomically and academically structured dancer in your room, a dance professional who was trained according to a different method than yours, how would you approach it?

“I don’t have the goal of changing what already exists. A professional dancer of a certain calibre has already made his/her studies, refined through stage experiences. As a maître de ballet and through the experience gained in this sense, I can adapt to the required choreographic needs. The dancers always have deficiencies and, through the Sava Method, I could intervene and modify both muscular and articular deficiencies.  I would only give stylistic suggestions, advice on the dynamics of the gesture but I would not act to modify an anatomical structure and an already rooted basic formation”.

As a person in the sector and dancer, I ask myself: who is Monica Sava, where did she come from, based on the experience accumulated over time, to develop a personal study method?

“The passion for dance was born from a very young age. At the age of three, I saw a lesson from my older sister and was electrocuted. At six years old, my mother finally enrolled me for a dance course. My first teacher, Antonella Di Lecce, followed the specialization courses at the Princesse Grace Academy in Montecarlo directed by Marika Besobrasova. So, I trained by following that style of lesson and technique. So, I won a scholarship and I went to study in Montecarlo where I graduated. I started my first professional experiences: the Arena of Verona, the Comunale of Bologna, the Comunale of Florence and many other experimental companies. What, however, contributed to the birth of a different expressive ideal was the meeting with Master Floris Alexander during the improvement course before and after the company work, at the Aterballetto. It was 1987. There I finally met -for the first time – the Balanchine style, not the technique, which I would have studied later, with the Director of the American Ballet School, Suki Schorer”.

What has changed, what are the differences you have noticed, approaching the style first and then the Balanchine technique?

“I understood what it meant to dance and that until then I had worked at the basis, structuring a technical, dynamic and expressive perfection, according to the Vaganova Method. With the Balanchine one, I began to dance dynamically by loosening and using the internal muscles, I understood “suspension”, the push towards the other, the fluidity in space. Working then, in companies, as a maître de ballet and especially in private schools, I fully understood what were the difficulties related to the physical structures of the students and the technical basis of each. I have tried to work out the best solution, meeting the needs of schools which, today, are born without any regulation. In my own small way, I am trying to contribute to training by deeply respecting the origin of academic classical dance”.

Would you ever recommend the Sava Method?

“My method, as already pointed out, is an educational approach to make a child understand, immediately and without frills, how to face the study. I would certainly recommend it”.