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Cecchetti Method

Since its beginnings in France, ballet has been developed elsewhere throughout Europe, particularly in Russia, Italy, and Denmark. Currently, there are several methods of ballet instruction - for instance, the Russian Vaganova method, the method of the The Royal Academy of Dancing (UK), and the Cecchetti method (Italian) - which differ slightly in presentation and execution of the basic steps in ballet.

The Cecchetti Method of ballet is a style of classical, theatrical dance based on the teachings of the great Italian ballet master Enrico Cecchetti (1850-1928). Born into a family of professional dancers, Maestro Cecchetti had a distinguished career as a principal dancer on the international scene before becoming a teacher of renown. He taught in Russia, Poland, Italy and England and became the private instructor of Anna Pavlova and many other celebrated dancers.

Cecchetti enlarged upon the Italian tradition of reaching, codified by Carlo Blasis, which maintained the balances and proportions of the human body, poised and in movement. The Cecchetti science of classroom practice exacted a coordination of arms, legs, and head, which produced a wonderful fluidity of movement, particularly in the upper body. This method provides a strong technical base to build upon as one enters the professional world of ballet.

Cecchetti Ballet Terminologies:

    Warm-up: Doing exercises that stretch and loosen the muscles to prepare 
	      your body for dancing.

    Barre: A horizontal wooden hand rail that runs around the wall of a 
            ballet studio.

    Alignment: The lining up of parts of your body to make a balanced and 
               graceful line.

    Posture: The position and carriage of the body.

    Pointe: A position of the foot in which your heel is held up, your big 
            toe is stretched down toward  the ground, your leg is turned 
            out, and your foot is in line with your leg.

    Positions of the feet: Five different positions in which your weight is 
         evenly distributed over your feet no matter what position you body 
         is in, with your legs turned out from the pelvis.

    Port de bras: Carriage of the arms. Set movements of the arms from one 
           position to the other.

    Plié: An exercise in which, standing erect and with back straight,you 
           move down and up with the bend of the knees.

    Demi-plié: A half knee-bend. Nearly every step begins and ends with a 

    Grand plié: A full knee-bend with heels off the floor.

    Elevé:A movement in which you rise up high on to the balls of your feet. 
          A similar position is also referred to as Relevé.

    Coupé: A position of your foot, lifted and held flexed, tight against 
            your ankle.

    Battement: A generic term which describes the various movements in which 
                the leg makes a beating motion.

    Battement tendu: An exercise in which you stretch your foot along the 
            floor and end in a point.

    En croix: In the shape of a cross (front, side, back)

    Degagé:An exercise similar to a tendu that finishes with the foot lifted 
           from the ground in a point.

    Rond de jambes à terre: Circle of the leg, on the ground (`a terre). An 
             exercise in which you mark out a semi-circle on the floor with 
             your pointed foot.

    Balancé: In dance, a term which describes the holding of your body in a 
             stable position.

    Centre Practice: a group of exercises similar to those à la barre but 
            performed in the centre of the room without the support of the 
            barre. These exercises are usually performed with alternate feet 
            and are invaluable for obtaining good balance and control.

    Passé: A movement that resembles a pass.

    Arabesque: A position in which you balance on one straight leg (or bent 
                leg) with the other stretched out behind you.

    Grand Battement:Meaning large beats. An exercise in which you raise your 
            pointed foot high off of the ground keeping both legs straight.

    Allegro: An Italian musical term meaning quick and lively. In ballet, 
              allegro steps are completed in fast tempo without your arms 
              flapping about.

    Petit Allegro: Small jumping and turning steps.

    Glissade: Gliding or sliding steps. A traveling step in which you glide 
           your foot along the floor with your front knee bent and you 
           transfer your weight. During the moment of transition, your legs 
           are fully stretched.

    Demi-pointé: Half point, meaning standing on the balls of your feet.

    Bourrée: A linking step in which you rise up on the balls of your feet 
             (on to your half point) and glide across the floor with quick, 
             tiny steps.

    Pas de Bourrée: A small stepping movement, executed on the balls of the 
          feet or on pointe,in which the you either skim smoothly across the 
          floor or transfer the weight from foot-to-foot three times as a 
          transition into another movement. A pas-de-bourrée consists of 
          bending both legs,extending one, then stepping up, up, down, 
          finishing with bent knees.

    Pas de chat: A traveling step-of-the-cat in which you bring one foot up 
        along you leg to the knee, and transfer your weight to the other 
        leg with a spring in the air,landing with your feet in 5th position.

    Routine: In dance, a term meaning a sequence of steps.

    Marking: Going through the movements of a dance routine without dancing  
             fully, in order to familiarize yourself with the steps before 

    Finale: The concluding part of a performance.

    Grand Allegro: A combination of large traveling steps and jumps.

    Pas Marché: The graceful walk to center stage to take a curtsey or bow.

    Curtsey: A movement by the female dancer (ballerina)that acknowledges 
             the instructor at the end of a class, or an audience at the end 
             of a performance.

    Bow: A movement by the male dancer (danseur noble) that acknowledges 
         the instructor at the end of a class, or an audience at the end of 
         a performance.

    Reverence:A movement,generally made by the sweep of an arm to acknowledge
                the rest of the ensemble cast (corps), the instructor, the 
                choreographer, and/or the orchestra.