Cecchetti method

Cecchetti method

The Cecchetti method is a form of ballet instruction created by Enrico Cecchetti (1850-1928). The method is a strict training system with special concern for anatomy within the confines of classical ballet technique, and seeks to develop the essential characteristics of dance in its students through a rigid training regime. The goal is for the student to learn to dance by studying and internalising the basic principles, in an effort to become self-reliant rather than imitating the movements executed by their teacher.

The method traditionally has seven grades with examinations up to diploma level.


The Cecchetti method differs from other schools in its endeavour to reduce the dancer's training to an exact science. It imposes a fixed regimen, with set exercises for each day in the working week. This ensures that different types of steps are practiced in a planned sequence, and that each part of the body is worked evenly. Each exercise is executed to the left as well as to the right, beginning one side one week, and the other the next.

As with all techniques, the Cecchetti method teaches the student to think of the movement of the foot, leg, arm, and head, not as something apart, but in its relation to the whole body, to develop a feeling for graceful lines. Cecchetti laid down that it is more important to execute and exercise correctly once, than to do it a dozen times carelessly. Quality rather than quantity is the guiding rule. The Cecchetti Method is classic in its focus on line without extravagance or fussiness of movement.

The complete Cecchetti Method includes a very full vocabulary of movement, including nearly forty "adages", composed by Cecchetti for the development and maintenance of the dancer's abilities. It is particularly noted for its eight port de bras.

Although Cecchetti insisted upon strict adherence to his program of daily practice, he also taught that the lesson of the day should be followed by studying new steps composed by the teacher in order to develop the student's powers in "quick study" and his ability to assimilate new steps and new "enchaînements".


Grades one through four were added after Enrico Cecchetti died. They are practiced in studios to ready their pupils for the more advanced levels. Students are tested on their ability to properly execute a number of specifically coreographed routines that emphasize a particular ballet movement. They are also graded on their knowledge of the theory and terms.

Grades five through seven correspond to his original levels.

If a dancer passes intermediate (Grade V); then they are considered a "real" dancer.

In the American version, there are four different marks for passing a level. From lowest to highest they are:
*Pass on condition
*Passed plus
*Passed Commended, and

A dancer may also pass conditional, meaning that they must wait at least a year before attempting the next exam level, or they may simply fail the exam, meaning that they must retake it.

Grade five (V) marks the beginning of the professional levels and is known as intermediate level.

Grade six (VI) is known as advanced 1 level, and grade seven (VII) is known as advanced 2 level.

A student who has achieved Advanced 2 level is qualified to teach the Cecchetti Method.

After finishing Advanced 2 level, students can choose to go on to Diploma A and Diploma B in order to further their learning.

The Australian version has six different marks. They are:
*Pass with Special Merit
*Pass with Credit
*Highly Commended, and

In Australia the student must first pass the exams Grade one to Grade six before taking the Intermediate level exam, which then can be followed by the Advanced 1 and Advanced 2 levels; all three can be taken as Category A or Category B. In addition, the Society offers teaching accreditation at the Associate, Associate Diploma, Licentiate, Licentiate Diploma and Fellowship levels. [ [http://www.cecchettiballet.org Cecchetti Ballet Australia] ]

The technique is also taught in the United Kingdom, under the supervision of the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing (ISTD), [ [http://www.istd.org/cecchettiballet/index.html Cecchetti at Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing] ] as a syllabus-based dance exam, available in private dance schools and professional ballet colleges. The UK Government, through the QCA, has also deemed these exams to be accredited qualifications, which means they can count towards university applications and are proof of a high-level of learning and achievement in the United Kingdom.

These qualities are naturally not the monopoly of the Cecchetti Method; they are the ideal of every school of training.

Please note that the names Intermediate, Advanced 1 and Advanced 2 used to be called Elementary, Intermediate and Advanced. They were changed to comply with the governments regulations for qualifications (Elementary is the name recognised in the government as meaning beginner wheareas in ballet it is recognised as meaning senior dancer). So to be recognised as a qualified dancer by the government the names had to be changed from Elementary, Intermediate and Advanced to Intermediate, Advanced 1 and Advanced 2.


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