The Cecchetti Method

CecchettiPavlovaThe Cecchetti Method of ballet is a style of classical, theatrical dance based on the teachings of the great Italian ballet master Enrico Cecchetti (1850-1928). Born into a family of professional dancers, Maestro Cecchetti had a distinguished career as a principal dancer on the international scene before becoming a teacher of renown. He taught in Russia, Poland, Italy and England and became the private instructor of Anna Pavlova and many other celebrated dancers Cecchetti enlarged upon the Italian tradition of teaching, codified by Carlo Blasis, which maintained the balances and proportions of the human body, poised and in movement . The Cecchetti science of classroom practice exacted a coordination of arms, legs, and head, which produced a wonderful fluidity of movement, particularly in the upper body. Although Cecchetti’s development of the terre à terre style – brilliant articulations of the legs, with the dancer barely leaving the floor – was notable, his varied, six-day plan trained jumps of many textures. Most importantly, the solid, un-mannered Cecchetti base enabled the dancer to embrace any choreographic style. Cyril Beaumont in London, England published the Cecchetti theories, beginning in 1922. Beaumont was assisted in the transcription of the manuals by Cecchetti protégés, Stanislas Idzikowski, Margaret Craske, and Derra de Moroda. In 1924, the Cecchetti Society was incorporated as a branch of the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing. Bleiddyn Bellis, Director and Andrew Pronger, Assistant Director, both hold the prestigious Enrico Cecchetti Diploma as well as high level qualifications within the Cecchetti Societies in Canada and Australia. “The (Cecchetti) system is professional, logical and its technical demands are totally revealing. (its) ports de bras (arm movements) are known far and wide for their simplicity, purity of line and their sheer beauty.” — excerpt from Miss O: My Life in Dance by kind permission of Betty Oliphant, C.C., LL. D., D.Litt., F.I.S.T.D. (C.S.B., S.B.), Co-founder and former Artistic Director and Principal of the National Ballet School of Canada “The simplicity of its syllabus has combined easily with the different contemporary modes of dance expression which have informed my choreography.” — James Kudelka, Former Artistic Director, National Ballet of Canada “It provided a strong technical base to build upon as I entered the professional world of ballet.” — Nadia Potts, Director, Dance Program, Ryerson Polytechnic University; former Principal Dancer, National Ballet of Canada “…a very exciting, demanding training that has been the solidifying power behind my career.” — Margaret Illmann, former Principal Dancer, Australian Ballet and National Ballet of Canada; International Dance Artist

Cecchetti Society of Canada Examinations

Graded examinations are scheduled, and qualified examiners are provided, for students across Canada. The purpose of these examinations is to give teachers and students specific goals to work toward and to maintain standards of development consistent with international standards. There are five categories of Cecchetti examinations in Canada:

  1. Class Examinations (Primary, Standards 1-6 and Senior Certificate) Designed for children to develop enjoyment of movement and dance quality.
  2. Grade Examinations (Grades 1-6) Designed to be more technically demanding and to provide a solid artistic and technical base for advancement to higher levels.
  3. Major Examinations (Intermediate, Advanced 1 and Advanced 2) Career oriented, with a high level of technique and artistry expected.
  4. Teacher Qualifying Examinations (Associate, Associate Diploma, Licentiate, Fellow) Successful completion of these examinations leads to qualification with the CSC, and is recognized by the CICB (Cecchetti International Classical Ballet).
  5. Other Cecchetti Awards (Enrico Cecchetti Diploma) A highly prestigious achievement, encompassing the full extent of the Cecchetti work.

The BC Ministry of Education recognizes ballet exams taken at Victoria Academy of Ballet as external courses, allowing students to earn credits toward high school graduation. To learn more visit these sites: