CECCHETTI METHOD
 

 

History

 

Born in Italy in 1850, Enrico Cecchetti was a brilliant virtuoso dancer who went on to become the leading teacher of his generation. As guest artist with the Imperial Russian Ballet, he created the role of The Bluebird in 'The Sleeping Beauty'; as a teacher in Russia his many famous students included Pavlova and Nijinsky. Then, with Diaghilev's Company, he worked with Rambert and de Valois, the founders of British Ballet, and with Alicia Markova. The studio Cecchetti opened in London was later taken over by Margaret Craske who passed on the Cecchetti Method to numerous British dancers and teachers, including Nora Roche, who taught at the Royal Ballet School for many years. The method was recorded and published by Cyril Beaumont and is now taught world-wide. 
The Cecchetti method was vital in the development of Classical Ballet in the United Kingdom and contributed heavily to modern day British teaching methods. Enrico Cecchetti and his wife opened a ballet school in London in 1918, and his pupils included some of the most influential names in British Ballet, many also influencing ballet throughout the world.
Dame Marie Rambert was a former pupil and colleague of Cecchetti and she also established a professional ballet school teaching his methods. This led to the formation of the UK's first ballet company, which survives today as the country's oldest established dance company, although it is now known as Rambert Dance Company and specialises in contemporary dance. The school also remains and is known as the Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance. Dame Ninette de Valois was a colleague of Cecchetti during her professional career with the Ballets Russes. She established The Royal Ballet in London, with many of the companies early dancers being pupils of Cecchetti. The Cecchetti method was also favoured by de Valois when she formed the Royal Ballet School. Phyllis Bedells, another Cecchetti pupil, would also play an important role in the teaching of ballet in Britain, as a founder member of the Royal Academy of Dance, which today is the worlds largest Classical Ballet teaching organisation.
The British writer and dance historian Cyril W. Beaumont was a close friend of Cecchetti and, in 1922 he collaborated with Cecchetti to codify the technique into a printed syllabus, The Cecchetti Method of Classical Ballet, which has become the foremost reference for Cecchetti method teachers worldwide. Cecchetti also gave Beaumont permission to established the Cecchetti Society to maintain the method and ensure that it would be passed on to future ballet teachers in its original form. Branches of the Cecchetti Society were subsequently established around the world, most notably in Australia, South Africa, Canada and the USA. The original Cecchetti Society still exists in Britain, although it was absorbed into the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing, which continues to maintain the Cecchetti method as a separate entity from its own Imperial Classical Ballet syllabus.
Today, the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing promotes the Cecchetti method as a syllabus-based series of dance examinations, which are taught by registered teachers around the world in both pre-vocational and vocational dance schools. The syllabus is a progressive series of graded and vocational graded examinations, which are accredited by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, the government appointed regulator of qualifications in England and Wales.