The Cecchetti Method was founded by Enrico Cecchetti, renowned dancer, teacher and ballet master. Hailing from a theatrical family, Enrico was born in 1850, in a theatre dressing room and toured with his parents, before establishing his own career as a dancer and choreographer. Despite receiving little formal training, Carlo Blasis, who had a studio in La Scala, Milan, was a major influence upon him.
Cecchetti built on Blasis’ teachings which looked at the proportions of the human body, poised and in movement. One of the joys of learning the Cecchetti method is the opportunity to learn concepts and theories of movement and examine the coordination of arms, legs and head. In addition, there is a focus on the building of physical strength and furthering the masterly technique, particularly in pointe work, which had started to develop in the nineteenth century.
Enrico was the first to create and establish a method of teaching, with a weekly lesson plan, which honed in on the rigorous placement of movement and steps that are held together by anatomic principals. This included a series of exercises incorporating a set of eight ports de bras and a set of temps d’adage and temps d’allegro (adage and allegro combinations) which shaped the foundation of Enrico’s teaching philosophy.
Dancers are instructed through a series of 11 grades (Grade I –VI, Intermediate Foundation, Intermediate, Advanced 1, Advanced 2 and Diploma). Each one is more technically demanding and set to a specified syllabus. In order for the dancer to learn to adapt quickly to any sequence of steps, new ones are included in each lesson.
A Cecchetti-trained dancer combines an expressive style with a confident technique, enabling them to delve into a variety of choreographic styles of dance from contemporary ballet to the classic repertoire.