The Cecchetti Methodby Cyril W. Beaumont

What is the Cecchetti Method of training? It is a rigorous system drawn up with careful regard for the laws of anatomy, and it is designed to endow the human body with all those qualities essential to the dancer...balance, poise, strength, elevation, elasticity, "ballon" and so forth.

These qualities are naturally not the monopoly of the Cecchetti Method; they are the ideal of every school of training. But the Cecchetti Method differs from those other schools in the endeavor to reduce the dancer's training to an exact science, by imposing a formula evolved over years of preparing boys and girls of many nationalities to become dancers, to knead and shape their bodies to bear the strains and trials of public appearance and to fit their muscles and tendons and nerves to respond readily to whatever steps and movements might be required of them by the choreographer.

The imposition of a Spartan unalterable regimen, according to which every day in the working week has its own particular set exercises, is an essential part of the system. This ensures that different types of steps are infallibly practiced in a planned sequence, stretching and contracting each set of muscles in turn and to a carefully calculated degree. Each exercise is executed to the left as well as to the right, beginning one side one week, and the other the next. The cumulative effect of such exercises carried out in the prescribed manner is definite.

Another important feature of the Cecchetti Method is that the student is taught to think of the movement of the foot, leg, arm, and head, not as something apart, but in its relation to the whole body, which develops a definite feeling for line. 

Again Cecchetti laid down that it is more important to execute and exercise correctly once, than to do it a dozen times carelessly. Quality therefore rather than quantity is the guiding rule. The Cecchetti Method is classic in its purity and clear-cut style; it is classic in its strenuous opposition to all extravagance and fussiness of movement; it is classic in its insistence on the importance of line.

The complete Cecchetti Method includes a very full vocabulary of movement, including nearly forty "adages", composed by Ceccchetti himself for the development and maintenance of balance and poise in every conceivable position and in every type of movement, the body being supported on either leg. The eight "Ports de Bras", or exercises to develop the graceful movement and coordination of the arms, are generally admitted to be unsurpassed.

The prime purpose of the Cecchetti Method is that the student shall not learn to dance by trying to imitate the movements executed by his teacher as a model for him to follow, but shall learn to dance by studying and imbibing the basic principles which govern the art; in short, to grow and develop from within out, to become completely self-reliant.  more from Cyril W. Beaumont