Ballet training is the basis for success in most areas of dance, so a strong emphasis is placed on ballet
technique in all phases of the professional dancer's education. Caston's Ballet Academie is a Cecchetti
school (member, Cecchetti Council of America). The Cecchetti (Italian) method is a series of graded classes
designed to train the young ballet dancer for professional ballet work. Though not all students are presented
for Cecchetti Exams, the curriculum approved by the CCA is a general guide for all ballet classes. Jazz and
Tap are included in the regular program of classes until the Elementary level, at which time students may
elect to take separate classes.
This Italian dancer and ballet master (1850-1928) was born in Rome, son of Cesare Cecchetti and Serafina
Casagli. He studied with Giovanni Lepri, who was a pupil of the great Carlo Blasis, and made his debut at La
Scala, Milan, in 1870. He toured Europe as a premier danseur and made his debut at the Maryinski Theatre,
St. Petersburg, in 1887. He accepted the position of second ballet master at the Maryinski Theatre in 1890 and
two years later became instructor at the Imperial School. His pupils included Pavlova, Nijinsky, Karsavina,
Fokine, Preobrajenska, Kchessinska and Egorova. In 1902 he left for Warsaw, where he became director of the
Imperial School, and in 1905 returned to Italy. Returning to Russia, he opened a-private school and later
became the private tutor of Anna Pavlova, touring the world with her. From 1909 to 1918 he was the official
instructor to the Diaghilev Ballet Company. From 1918 until 1923 he had a private school in London. He then
returned to Italy and became ballet master at La Scala in 1925. He devoted the rest of his life to teaching and
perfecting his teaching methods.
The Cecchetti Method is:
1.A disciplined system designed with careful regard to the laws of anatomy, thus preparing dancers' bodies to
bear the strains and trials of public performance.
2. The embodiment of qualities essential to the dancer - balance, poise, strength, elevation, elasticity, and an
artistic sense of quality.
3.An establishment of carefully orchestrated exercises unique to each day of the week to ensure that different
types of steps are practiced in a planned sequence.
4. Classic in its purity and clean-cut style, it enables dancers to respond to the demands of different
5.An emphisis on the importance of using the entire body to establish a feeling for line.
6. Focused on instruction by studying and absorbing the basic principles which govern the art, rather than by
mere imitation of an individual's teaching style.
7. A balance between the daily practice of both Cecchetti's set exercises and each teacher's new sequences.
Other Ballet instructional methods and techniques
The Imperial Dancing Academy connected with La Scala in Milan was opened in 1812. Its greatest period
began when Carlo Blasis, Italian dancer and teacher, became its director in 1837. Blasis published two
textbooks, Treatise on the Art of Dancing and Code of Terpischore, in which he codified his teaching methods
and all that was known of ballet technique. These books form the basis of our modern classical training.
Blasis trained most of the famous Italian dancers ot the era, and his pupil Giovanni Lepri was the teacher of
Enrico Cecchetti, one of the greatest teachers in the history of ballet. It was Cecchetti who brought the
Italian School to its peak. The Italian School was known for its strong, brillianttechnique and the virtuosity
of its dancers, who astonished the audience with their difficult steps and brilliant turns.
(French: Méthodes [may-TAWD])
Academic ballet as we know it today came into being in the year 1661, when King Louis XIV of France
founded the Académie Royale de Musique et de Danse. Although individual Milanese dancing-masters had
been renowned since the fifteenth century, the permanent Imperial Dancing Academy connected with La
Scala Theatre was not opened until 1812. The Academy at Milan influenced Paris and especially Russia
through the rules of education drawn up by Carlo Blasis, who became director of the Academy in 1837 and
rapidly made it the centre of ballet activity.
By the middle of the nineteenth century the ballet centres of the world had shifted from Paris and Milan to
St. Petersburg and Moscow. The Russian School first derived its technique from France but by the middle of
the nineteenth century it had acquired an international aspect through the influence of international artists.
From the beginning of the second half of the nineteenth century Russian ballet was dominated by Marius
Petipa, a Frenchman, and Christian Johannsen, a Swede. Then in 1874 Enrico Cecchetti, the last great
exponent of the Italian School, arrived in Russia. These three men working on generations of Russian
dancers developed Russian ballet, making it as much a system as Italian or French ballet. Actually the French
method is in the greatest proportion in the Russian School.
The Russian School was founded in St. Petersburg in 1738 by the French dancerJean-Baptiste Landé. The
French influence continued under such great teachers as Charles Le Picq, Charles Didelot, Christian
Johanssen, Jules Perrot, Arthur Saint-Léon and Marius Petipa.
In 1885 Virginia Zucchi, a famous Italian ballerina, appeared in St. Petersburg and created a sensation with
her forceful and brilliant Italian technique which differed from the soft, graceful elegance of the French
technique prevalent in Russia until then. Other Italian dancers such as Enrico Cecchetti arrived in Russia
and continued to astound the Russians with their amazing dexterity, brilliant pirouettes, tours and fouettés.
The Russian dancers rapidly absorbed everything the Italians had to teach and incorporated it into the
Russian system. Thus, the Russian School of Ballet is a development of the French and Italian Schools.
During the 1 920s the Russian ballerina and teacher Agrippina Vaganova developed a planned instructional
system which later became known to the whole world as the Vaganova system. This svstem has become the
basic method of the entire Soviet choreographic school.
Taken from ABT online dictionary.