What Is the Cecchetti Ballet Method?

From the history to the technique, here's what makes Cecchetti unique

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The Cecchetti method is one of the main training techniques of classical ballet. This method is a strict program that enforces planned exercise routines for each day of the week, carefully considering the laws of anatomy. By combining different steps into predetermined routines, it ensures that every part of the body is worked evenly, according to "The Technical Manual and Directory of Classical Ballet," by Gail Grant.

Each exercise is performed on both the right and the left sides, starting with one side one week, followed by the other side the next week. Classes are regimented and planned, not improvised or dependent on the feelings of the teacher.

Ultimately, the Cecchetti method trains its dancers to think about ballet as an exact science.

Characteristics of Cecchetti

More than other types of classical ballet, the Cecchetti method teaches the flowing of arms between the various positions.

Cecchetti students are taught to think about the movements of their appendages, such as legs and head, as one unit in relation to their full body.

The rigorous technique also focuses on quick feet, crisp lines and seamless transitions between positions.

The Cecchetti method also advocates natural turnout, based on a natural range of motion, rather than teaching dancers to force the turnout of their feet. 

Anna Pavlova is one of the many famous ballerinas who was influenced by the method. 

Who Was Enrico Cecchetti?

The Cecchetti method of ballet is based on techniques developed by Italian ballet master Enrico Cecchetti, who was influenced by the principles of Carlo Blasis.

Blasis was a 19th-century traditional French ballet dancer and theoretician, famous for creating the first published codified technique of ballet. Cecchetti is inspired by these rigorous, strict techniques and theories. 

Cecchetti studied many different styles of ballet, too, and he plucked his favorite elements of each different one to fuse into his own system. He firmly believed that it was more important to execute an exercise correctly one time than to do it over and over carelessly. He guided his students by encouraging quality over quantity.

Cecchetti envisioned ballet to be a strict, clear-cut, pure style of movement with a definite emphasis on body line. 

The Cecchetti Method Today

Cecchetti's system revolutionized ballet dance. The Cecchetti method ended up becoming the standardized model that greatly influences all professional ballet training programs today.

Now, the method and its high standards are preserved by the nonprofit Cecchetti Council of America. The council tests ballet students with specific proficiency tests. It was the first group in the nation to implement such a strict system of testing and accreditation, and the result has been clear: incredible teachers, successful students and countless professional ballet dancers raising the bar on stages around the world.