Inspire Dance Santa Barbara
El Mercado Center
4141 State Street Suite F-6
Santa Barbara, Ca. 93110

Why Cecchetti Ballet?

Enrico Cecchetti (pronounced ‘checkétty’) was the greatest dancer and pedagogue of his time, truly the Baryshnikov of his day. Cecchetti was born and died in Italy (1850-1928). The Cecchetti Method is one of the great dance training methods of today and it is taught around the globe.

At Inspire Dance Santa Barbara:

The dance training you or your child is receiving is geared to an understanding of the student’s anatomy as it grows, and slowly builds the body to incorporate the technique of dance and flow of movement essential to any great dancer. The student learns to internalize the basic principles of movement, poise, balance, strength, elevation, elasticity, “ballon”, etc., with repetition in various ways. The child moves from one level to the next, accomplishing movements and steps, and building a dance vocabulary. The dancer gradually becomes self- reliant on their knowledge of movement rather than simply imitating any particular style.

Each grade is geared to the child’s age and is respectful of the anatomy of the child. The grades go from Primary and Standards 1 – 7, alongside Grades 1 through 10. Each individual dancer’s progress and maturity is evaluated by the teacher in order to determine the level of exam each student is ready for.

The Standard exams are designed to give the young dancer the experience of being assessed while in a comfortable and safe environment. These exams are done in groups of three to five children, and allow for free movement and choreographic license that can’t be done in the grades. This exam is conducted like a class by the teacher with the examiner taking notes. The children must know the syllabus, ballet terminology, and have good ballet technique that the examiner can see them working on. In many schools the Standard Exams are done the same year as the Grade exams, and sometimes within a few months of one another. IDSB is doing Standard exams before the Grade exams to give all children the benefit of the wonderful work in both classes.

The grade exams are an ongoing process of preparation during the whole year. Only two dancers are examined at a time, and the teacher is not in the room. The children need to know the work of their grade well and have knowledge of the theory and terminology used in ballet. There is no free movement above grade two and there is no choreographic license to do what fits the dancer best.

Why should my child take exams?

Participating in the exam process in ballet gives the child the sense of completion to the hard work they have done. The progress they make will be noted by the examiner, and suggestions will be given for what to work on for the next year. The dancers receive certificates from Cecchetti USA. (We will determine a time for a simple ceremony for giving out the awards.) The children who participate in exams tend to make more progress, pay attention and focus more fully, and become inspired to attain an excellence. One other benefit is that the teacher has the opportunity to assure that she is maintaining consistent standards with her classes.

Do the dancers get a grade?

Yes. In the Primary and Standards the grading system goes from ‘Achieved’, ‘Achieved with Merit’, ‘Achieved with Special Merit’. For the grades: Pass, Pass Plus, Commended, Highly Commended, and Honors.

What is looked for in the exam?

The Standard exams are meant to assess the dancers, not grade them, and therefore levels are achieved without stress. In the Grades exams the simple answer is yes, but Ms. Sean and Ms. Emmy Lou watch carefully to see that the children are well prepared for their exams. The grading system has several components: Technique, Musicality, Knowledge of Syllabus, Theory, Performance Quality, and so on. All these are marked according to what the examiner sees that day. A child may be low in technique but gets high marks for performance and musicality and so the grade evens out. The Cecchetti USA examiners are all teachers and know children and their abilities well. As the dancer reaches the higher levels (Grade 4 and above) special coaching and preparation goes into the exam process, because of the high standards that must be accomplished.

What is the cost?

The cost will vary according to the level and the amount of time needed. For the lower grades it should be anywhere from about $45 to about $65. It is also important that your child participate in the exam workshops. These classes are listed above and will go through the first weeks of March, with a final ‘mock exam’ that you can observe. These classes are designed to focus totally on syllabus, technique, and theory for each standard or grade. There will be a cost for an extra class which we will notify you of when we have the exact classes set.

We do not teach only syllabus in their regular classes because the dancer would become bored after too much repetition of the same patterns. All the dancers in technique classes know the steps for their grade level, and even the patterns, but not the details, nor have they done the work to syllabus music regularly. All this makes a huge difference.

Several references to organizations across the globe:

Cecchetti Societies –

Cecchetti International Classical Ballet – CICB.ORG

Imperial Teachers Society of Dancing – ITSD.org

Cecchetti USA – CecchettiUSA.org

Cecchetti Council of the America – Cecchetti.org

Inspire Dance Santa Barbara has credentialed teachers whom have been members of the Cecchetti USA organization for over 10 years. Each year Inspire Dance Santa Barbara submits groups of dancers for Cecchetti Exams through the Cecchetti USA organization. Questions? Email: info@inspiredancesb.com


For IDSB Monthly Newsletter