The Cecchetti Society is an international organization dedicated to the preservation and promotion of the Cecchetti Method of Classical ballet and is committed to the highest standards of training for dancers and teachers.
The 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. Cyril Beaumont published the Cecchetti theories, beginning in 1922. Beaumont was assisted in the transcription of the manuals by Cecchetti protégés. In 1924 the Cecchetti Society was incorporated as a branch of the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing, with headquarters in London, England.
The Canadian Branch of the Cecchetti Society was founded in 1949 by Betty Oliphant, first ballet mistress of the National Ballet of Canada and co-founder with Celia Franca of the National Ballet of Canada. In 1996 the Cecchetti Society of Canada was federally incorporated as a non-profit organization with charitable status. The Cecchetti Society of Canada is a corporate member of Cecchetti International-Classical Ballet.
The Cecchetti method has been a major part of the professional training programs at Canadian dance institutions such as the National Ballet of Canada and the Royal Winnipeg Ballet.
Students who are very interested in ballet and have the physical facility to perform the examination material are eligible to take the professional Cecchetti Ballet Examinations.
There are two streams of examinations offered by the Cecchetti Society, the Standard Ballet Exams and the Grade Ballet Exams. Presentation Classes are options for both Standard and Grade exams.
The Standard Ballet Exams are a lovely body of work the enables students to develop their classical artistry and sound ballet technique. There are fewer exercises within this syllabus, which allows students the time to place even greater focus and attention on their training. The Standard Ballet Exams are geared specifically to those students who may have certain physical limitations or technical issues that may hinder them from being successful in a Grade Examination. These exams are taken in larger groups and the teacher is in the exam room with them to help conduct the examination.
The Grade Examinations encompass a greater body of work and requires a higher level of focus and greater attention to detail. Due to the exceptionally high expectations for the Grade examinations, they are the ideal choice for those students who are truly passionate about ballet and have the physical facility for the art form. Students are entered into the exam in groups of 2-3 and the teacher is not permitted into the exam room; the Examiner conducts the examination.
The Presentation Class is an exam-like presentation of the work and they follow the same format at the Standard exams. That is, students perform select exercises for the examiner and the teacher is in the exam room to conduct the presentation. Students are not graded, therefore, they do not “pass” or “fail”. They are given feedback from the examiner. The Presentation Class is used in situations where students may feel insecure about an exam but still provides them a goal for training purposes.
Both streams of the Cecchetti Ballet examinations have a clear, linear, systematic build-up through the levels that allows for the development of a sound technical foundation to be established in those students studying in the method. The Cecchetti method is known for its clean lines and having movements free of stylistic mannerisms. In all examinations emphasis is placed on proper classical alignment, co-ordination, sense of line and quality in all movements, performance ability and artistry. The student examinations (Standards and Grades) have an excellent build-up, which prepares students for the pure Cecchetti work seen in the major examinations.
Standard Exams Minimum/Appropriate Age:
Primary 6 years
Standard One 7 years (8 is preferred)
Standard Two 9-10 years
Standard Three 10-11 years
Standard Four 11-12 years
Standard Five 12-13 years
Standard Six 13-14 years
Senior Certificate 15+ years
Grade Exams Minimum/Appropriate Age:
Grade One 8 years (9 is preferred)
Grade Two 10 years
Grade Three 11 years
Grade Four 12 years
Grade Five 13 years
Grade Six 14 years
Major Examinations Minimum/Appropriate Age and Maximum Age
Intermediate 15 years , maximum 18 years
Advanced One 16 years, maximum 18 years
Advanced Two 17 years, maximum n/a
Please note the ages listed above are merely guidelines with the exception of Primary, Standard one and Grade one.
Students will be entered into Primary and Standard One examinations, which will allow their teacher to adequately assess what stream of the Cecchetti examinations would best suit their physical facility and goals for their ballet training.
Students interested in participating in Cecchetti examinations should discuss their options with the studio director and ballet instructor. Students will be entered in the examination stream that is most appropriate for their level and ability and will be entered into examinations at the discretion of their teacher. This is to ensure the examination process is a positive experience for the students.
Students who do participate in the Cecchetti Examinations (Standard or Grade) will receive a personalized exam report with comments and critical feedback from the Examiner to the student. The student will also receive a certificate stating the exam level and the mark received.
The marks awarded for the Standard Exams are as follows:
Standard Not Yet Achieved /Awarded /Awarded with Merit /Awarded with Special Merit/Awarded with Excellence
The marks awarded for Senior Certificate, Grades and Major Examinations are as follows:
Not Awarded /Pass/ Pass Plus/ Commended/ Highly Commended/ Honours
Teachers have the option of entering students for fall (November- December) or spring (May-June) exams. It is the teacher’s choice as to which exam session the students will participate in. With enough students enrolled in the exam session the studio will be able to host the exam session. If there are not enough students to host an exam session several studios may share a day at any given studio.
As a way of assisting teachers and students with the preparation for their exams, the Cecchetti Society offers biannual pre-exam workshops. The exam work is taught by the Examiners of the Cecchetti Society, which allows for greater insight into examination expectations. At the workshops open ballet classes are also offered as well as classes that are complimentary to ballet such as Pilates, Contemporary, Character etc. These workshops are incredibly beneficial to all students, particularly those preparing for examinations.
The Cecchetti method is a strong training system for dancers wishing to pursue a career in dance or for those who simply enjoy dance for its physicality. This holds true largely because the Cecchetti science of classroom practice exacted a co-ordination 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, sixday plan trained jumps of many textures. Most importantly, the solid, un-mannered Cecchetti base enabled the dancer to embrace any choreographic style. The fact that Cecchetti trained dancers can easily embrace and adapt to any choreographic style is vitally important to today’s dancer who must be so incredibly versatile to be successful in the professional dance realm.