Cecchetti Method

What is Cecchetti Method? Well, we could talk about that all day, and likely even longer, but here’s a short synopsis. You see, legendary ballet master of the Ballets Russes Maestro Enrico Cecchetti (1850-1928) created a Method of ballet training, which he called The Days of the Week. His method is such that each day focuses on a particular set of steps, with a specific quality. Monday for example focuses on Aplomb (standing in the vertical.) Tuesday focuses on Epaulement (opposition) and so on. And looking closely at the steps focussed on each day will reveal underlying principles to strengthen any dancer. There are predominantly six physical principles, principles to strengthen a dancer both physically and artistically, whilst lessening risk upon the body.

What are Physical Principles?

Physical Principles are universal and based on natural law. They are easy to understand, easy to apply, and can therefore be grasped by anyone who wants to study ballet or other methods of dance. You do not have to be Cecchetti trained, nor do you need to know who Cecchetti was, or what he did. But much like any fountain of knowledge, it doesn’t hurt to go to the source of that fountain – for information is often somewhat cleaner (and clearer) at the source.

One by One, Day by Day, these simple principles reveal themselves as elemental to the study of ballet technique….but that is not all.

Any dancer can rediscover these physical principles and use them to improve all aspects of their technique and performance. By understanding how these principles work (and how your body works) even the most difficult exercises become accessible.  And this is a training that respects the body. Rather than risk irreparable injury, the goal of Cecchetti Method is to strengthen a dancer’s technical and artistic knowledge, whether they’re dancing professionally, for exercise, or simply for fun – it will carry you through your artistic development and, if done right, strengthen and look after your body long into maturity. To simplify, in the long run your body will reward you for your hard work, rather than punish you for it.


Julie Cronshaw, Director of Ballet’s Secret Code:

“Back in 2010 I was discussing two essential principles of ballet technique: aplomb and épaulement, when I had a sudden insight. I realised there are six basic, physical principles which underline ALL Classical Ballet and that these are revealed through the Method and daily classes of Maestro Enrico Cecchetti!”

Julie Cronshaw completed the three year Teacher’s Training Course at England’s Royal Ballet School in 1986 before pursuing a career dancing professionally in Germany, the USA and Russia. She founded Highgate Ballet School in London, in 1995 and over the subsequent two decades worked with master teachers in the UK and abroad, researching and dancing her way through all aspects of the Cecchetti Method. Eventually she gained the Enrico Cecchetti Diploma (a performance exam) in 2009 and then the ISTD Fellowship for teaching, in 2010.

In 2008 she became a founding member of the Auguste Vestris Society, based in Paris, a not-for-profit teaching organisation, and has guest taught extensively for the society and across the world from France and Italy, to Poland and Japan.

She has written articles for the Auguste Vestris and international Cecchetti societies. Some of these articles can be found on her resource website for all things Cecchetti: http://www.TheCecchettiConnection.com

“Discovering that 6 simple, universal physical principles can transform how you dance, even as an experienced, mature dancer and teacher, has been the driving force behind the making of the film. They continue to inspire me, and motivate my students, in every ballet class I teach, and I hope they will be just as useful and inspirational for anyone else who discovers them!”


George Massey, Co-Director, Co-Writer, Cameraman and Editor of Ballet’s Secret Code

George Massey is a filmmaker, author and musician who studied ballet in London. He received a full scholarship to the American Academy of Ballet in New York, where he continued his dance training before continuing work as a writer and filmmaker. One of his scripts was entered into a Film London screenplay competition and won, gaining him funding to make a short animated film. The film beat 42 others in competition, was screened at the BFI and Bafta, and was advertised on London Tonight. His second short, originally intended as a TV pilot, won an audience award at the BFI.

As a published author, George’s writing includes the novel ‘Safe as Houses in the Ballpark World’ and the children’s novel ‘Trick or Treat’ both available on amazon. In addition, he has sold two songs to television.

George credits being cast in two Star Wars films (he played various different Droids in The Last Jedi and A Solo Story) down to his ballet training. He says he was cast because of his ability to dance and therefore mimic the actions required. For now though, he is mostly interested in making films.

“I’ve long professed that there is a science to art,” George says. “There’s a science to filmmaking too. For example, the ideas you have for a film may be deemed as artistic, however, to understand cinematography, lighting, editing and so on, these are technical skills. To play guitar is a technical skill. Once mastered, you can be creative but there’s still an underlying science required to achieve your goals. You also want to achieve your goals without injuring yourself in any serious way. A guitarist for example can develop carpal tunnel syndrome, and damage their hand and wrist if they play guitar incorrectly. They may be excellent on guitar, and play beautifully, but if their technique is incorrect, they may only have ten years or so as a professional before their hand becomes too painful to play. However, if they learn the right method of play, meaning, if they learn how to improve whilst protecting themselves, then they can improve indefinitely and enjoy being a musician for life. Ballet is no different, except that with ballet your body IS your instrument. One of the most insightful comments I ever heard from a ballet teacher was, well, it was during a ballet class I took many years ago, and this teacher said to me “I teach my students the philosophy of No Pain No Gain. But the problem is, whilst some pain IS good for you, some pain is bad, and bad pain can damage you for life. It’s very difficult to teach a dancer the difference between good pain and bad pain.” Those were quite harrowing words, for even I wasn’t sure if I knew the difference between good pain and bad pain when it comes to dance. What pain is good for you and what pain is bad for you? Those are questions every dancer should surely be given the answers to. Having danced for more than half my life, I witnessed a number of teachers who had permanent injuries, some of whom could barely walk. I thought to myself ‘Why am I doing these classes? Am I going to end up like that?’ It sounds cruel to say that, but it was a strange dichotomy. I loved their classes, but was the ultimate reward for all of my hard work going to be a pair of crutches? No dancer wants that as their reward. Now, with Julie, it’s fair to say that she isn’t like that. She teaches six days a week, still demonstrates and has all the strength and agility of a teacher half her age. She explained to me that she puts it down to having learned Cechetti Method, a method that’s very clear on what’s good for you VS what’s bad. She also had a very strong desire to make a film about it, to both protect dancers but also to elevate the art-form – or at least to restore important aspects of the art-form that may have been lost over time. And to be clear, Julie loves ballet. I mean, she LOVES it. She has so much respect for it, and what it is at its core. She studies it and writes about it and talks about it and teaches it. And of course she dances it as well. Ballet has been her whole life. That enthusiasm is one of the reasons I was onboard to make the film. Anyway, when she told me her ideas, she certainly knew what she wanted to convey, but she didn’t know where to start. I read an essay she’d written about Cecchetti Method and said to her ‘This is your film.’ It certainly gave us a strong outline for where to begin, so we expanded that essay of hers into what became Ballet’s Secret Code. It took years to make actually, partly because you’re dealing with complex ideas. My goal was to take these difficult concepts but make them easily digestible for any viewer, whether the viewer is a ballet dancer or not. Overall, exploring science in art was already an interest of mine, so to explore science in dance, especially ballet, was a project I instantly connected with and felt was well worth bringing to life. I’m glad we made it.”