Cecchetti Ballet History
About the Cecchetti Ballet Society
The Cecchetti method of Classical Ballet offers a complete and well structured system of training which caters for the small child through to the professional dancer and the future teacher.
Enjoyment is of prime importance for a young child beginning to dance and the Class Examinations and Performance Awards provide ideal opportunities for those attending classes for recreational purposes on a once a week basis. For children wishing to study in greater depth, there are the more technically demanding Grade Examinations. In all the children's work a steady build up and safe practice are of great importance.
The Major examinations for older students and those at vocational schools are soundly based on Cecchetti principles and provide strength and co-ordination, together with a quality of movement which is second to none.
"Maestro Cecchetti left a great imprint on the English School. The important aspects of his teaching will remain part of the academic tradition of our English Ballet."
Dame Ninette de Valois
"If I had my way, I would always insist that all dancers should daily do the wonderful Cecchetti ports de bras. It inculcates a wonderful feeling for line and correct positioning and the use of head movement and Úpaulement which - if properly absorbed - will be of incalculable use throughout a dancer's career."
Sir Frederick Ashton
"The Cecchetti work has given me strength, discipline and co-ordination. It wasn't until I got into the Company that I realised how lucky I was to have had that training."
Enrico Cecchetti was born in Italy in 1850. At the height of his career as a dancer he migrated to St Petersburg, where he joined the Imperial Russian Ballet and created the virtuoso role of the Bluebird and the mime role of Carabosse in the premiere of The Sleeping Beauty in 1890. As well as dancing with the Imperial Russian Ballet Company, Cecchetti also taught the Class of Perfection in the school.
He also taught many Maryinsky dancers, including Pavlova, Karsavina and Nijinsky. In 1909 he joined Diaghilev's Ballet Russe as a teacher and mime artist. His pupils included Alicia Markova, Ninette de Valois, Marie Rambert and Leonide Massine.
In 1918 he opened a school of dancing in London, at 160 Shaftesbury Avenue.
Cecchetti trained under Lepri, a pupil of the great Carlo Blasis who codified the technique of Classical Ballet in 1820. His ideas were developed further by Cecchetti who grouped the Classical vocabulary into six sets of exercises, one for each day of the week. This work was recorded and published in 1922 by Cyril Beaumont, assisted by Stanislas Idzikowski and Enrico Cecchetti himself. Further volumes were compiled by Margaret Craske and Derra de Moroda.
Then in 1923 he returned to Italy and he accepted the post of Director of the Ballet School in La Scala, Milan. He died there in 1928.
The Cecchetti Society was founded in 1922 by Cyril Beaumont, the writer, Ballet historian and critic. The aim was to preserve and promote the work the of 'Maestro', Enrico Cecchetti.
In 1924 the Cecchetti Society became affiliated to the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing which had been founded in 1904. More recently, the Cecchetti Society has become The Cecchetti Society Classical Ballet Faculty of the ISTD.
Branches of the Cecchetti Society have been formed throughout the world and flourish in Australia, South Africa, Canada and the USA, and of course throughout Europe.