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.