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Cecchetti Method - film released

Jan McNulty

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Watched this morning. A wonderful insightful film. The opening words summarise my own feelings about ballet pushing physical limits and losing artistry and expression. Such subtlety of line and neat, fast footwork demonstrated. Far more beautiful than the hyperextended 180 tricks we see so much today. The film is worth viewing for the glimpses of all those ballet stars of days gone by. Thank you for making us aware of this, Jan . 

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I loved the film. I did quite a few years of Cecchetti syllabus training and came to love the Advanced syllabus adages, even though I am rubbish at adage. The training is very dance-y - I had one teacher ask me the first time she taught me in an open class - did you have Cecchetti training? 


I have to say, though, that I disagree with the opinions at the beginning, although I understand where they come from. I enjoy the new athletic contemporary ballet style (eg Wayne McGregor's choreography). I think there's room for both. I adore the kind of Romantic (eg 1830s-50s) ballet of La Sylphide, for example,  and there's an interesting connection there to Cecchetti and Bournonville aesthetics. 


We need it all!

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Were it just "opinions" being expressed, all would be well ...


The injuries that ballet dancers can now expect to suffer are appalling.  Steel rods in the neck, in the shin-bones, lining torn off the hip-joint, multiple herniated disks, double-hip replacements in one's mid-twenties (Sarah Kora Dayanova, Yannick Bittencourt at the POB - and this is in the public domain, not an indiscretion) ...  despite central heating, technical clothing, advanced pointe shoes, better hydration and nutrition, better studio-ventilation and "sports" medecine.  and no more cracked floorboards or rusty floor-nails.  None of which we benefited from in the 50s and 60s.


We are dancing far too turned-out, roughly ten to fifteen degrees more than in the 1950s, we are over-crossing the fifth, articulations are being opened beyond the physiological limit ... Nor was the human leg which weighs a couple of stone, ever meant to be lifted and pressed up against the ear a thousand times a day.  And as for the strain Goleizovski-style lifting puts on the men ... 


Dancers are, in the main, now FINISHED at thirty. 


Classical dancing is a language.  It is spoken through interesting STEPS.   


That really should be enough for us - rather than watching Christians being thrown to the Lions.


In the Cecchetti film referred to her, the woman demonstrating the exercices - Muriel Valtat, former RB First Soloist, was 47 years old.


We might all wish to put that in our pipe and smoke it.



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That was fascinating and reiterated a lot of what a ballet teacher I knew said about Cecchiti. She wrote her dance dissertation on him and his techniques and incorporated a lot of it in training her dancers. Also I am thinking about the high number of injuries carried by professional dancers. Surely food for thought?

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I watched this with my son yesterday. It was insightful and poignant somehow in the current climate and  said out loud what I already think about so much of today’s ballet world, dancers and training. 


Muriel Valtat is an absolutely exquisite dancer. She executed the Cechetti enchainments so beautifully. 

It’s interesting that at the age of 12 very soon to be 13, my son’s ballet training as it moved beyond dancing for fun and into the vocational arena has somewhat crushed my sons soul and his love and passion for ballet. Covid didn’t help, it just sped up the realisation.


The nearest thing he has found that conveys how he feels about ballet is Balanchine and the dancers of NYCB.


My son is returning to RAD in September and fingers crossed performing again with EYB, BRB and LCB when the pandemic frees the theatres again. 

There is a lot to be said for the message in this film. It could be a great starting point for a full and open discussion about how far removed ballet is and is becoming from what it was intended to be. I wonder if it will be shown in Vocational schools and companies.


Thankyou @Jan McNultyit was a pleasure.

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I see Julie Cronshaw’s documentary about a week or so from a facebook newsfeed.


It least I did learn something, I always wondered what the days of the week represented, as I have danced several enchainment from them, they feature quite strongly through all the Advance 2 Manuals and Documentation.


After seeing the video, I found another four short youtube clips by Julie covering various tips, sadly the format of all these were the same: Beginning was Introducing Julie, the body being very short was about the subject, and the ending was an advert about the documentary and the website.


After wetting my appetite about the 150+ videos available to watch from the Ballet Secret Code website, I went to investigate only to find there was not contents list and the only way to access them was to pay £65.00 to view them (I assume they will be streamed and you cant down load them).

As some of these videos may be of interest I emailed them with the following extract:


Is there anything in the videos not covered by the 2020 release of the Cecchetti Advanced 2 Syllabus DVD from the Faculty of Cecchetti within the ISTD, as me and my teacher are working through that at the moment, prior to that we were using the old 2003 syllabus documentation supported by the video downloads from Cecchetti Ballet Inc of Australia.

I also have “The Enrico Cecchetti Diploma” DVD video’s of 2019 which has formed a really useful reference source for me.


Disappointingly I haven't had a reply to my email, it almost feels like there isn't any urgency, similar to the experience I had with the ISTD releasing the new Cecchetti Advanced 2 DVD, is this just part of the culture now ?

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  • 4 weeks later...

I finally got a reply from Julie Cronshaw last week, apparently my email ended up in her spam folder.


To be fair we exchanged several emails not only about her streaming collection of 150 video on the Cecchetti Method mostly on the exercises allocated to each day of the week, but also including Barre.

We spoke about the collection I have spanning Advanced 1, Advanced 2 (Australian), Advanced 2 2020 release, Diploma 2019, and of course the changes in the recent Advanced 2 syllabus, I know Julie is not in favour of the new tweaks or the newly added over complicated additional exercises, I guess I am as it tend to be a bit less formal and quite dancey.


I haven't checked if Julie has published the finished video collection list yet, but she did attach a rough version of the list for me.


Much of our conversation was on Ballet Mime, as I had seen one of her youtube clip that featured elements of ballet mime, and I was interested as to if that was included in the video collection, which is not specifically but it is touched on with various named poses in a set book called the Manual which forms part of the syllabus.


However Julie has another website called TheCecchettiConnection.com its quite a useful list of resources in that, she references a book called "Mime in Ballet" by Beryl Morina unfortunately it didn’t have an ISBN number which I found later  ISBN: 9780953935802 . What I didn’t realize was just how expensive that book was (Amazon new £1290.00 used £995.00), The book is 144 pages with typically 4 photographs illustrating various mime poses, I did managed to find about 30 pages of the book photographed on youtube, but they were of poor quality.

I mentioned I would much prefer to see a video clip of the usage of a piece of mime rather than an illustration.

I mentioned I once bought a RAD Mime DVD, which was put together as a conversational piece between three ladies, whilst it illustrated various pieces of mime, is wasn't a very useful tool as a quick lookup reference.

Julie said “ A video reference library of the mime gestures is a fantastic idea and very important if we are to save mime from extinction in the ballet.”, I just hope she takes the suggestion on board and adds it to her collection of resources.


The emails I received from her, were so full of interesting content and enthusiasm, I really enjoyed them. I was really impressed by the responsiveness of her replies, the one that sticks out in my mind was, when I sent her a reply last Wednesday after my evening Cecchetti class, It was 20.46, I had a detailed reply from Julie at 21.26, that was impressive by anyone standard.


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11 hours ago, sunrise81 said:

Is that book really worth that much!? We have a copy of it at home....found in a charity shop for my daughter!!!

I've checked the price of the book on several site and they are similar, for me its not worth it, of the pages I can see, it shows the illustration of the poses but not its precise usage. I would much prefer a video dictionary of ballet mime.

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12 hours ago, Michelle_Richer said:

... she references a book called "Mime in Ballet" by Beryl Morina unfortunately it didn’t have an ISBN number which I found later  ISBN: 9780953935802 . What I didn’t realize was just how expensive that book was (Amazon new £1290.00 used £995.00),



Yikes! It was £25 when it was published and I thought that was a touch pricey when I bought mine.


There is a copy in the British Library. I don't know if it available for an inter-library loan (I have no idea how that works), but if you're in London, you could probably have a look at it in the reading room (again I have no idea how that works).

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2 hours ago, Michelle_Richer said:

I've checked the price of the book on several site and they are similar, for me its not worth it, of the pages I can see, it shows the illustration of the poses but not its precise usage. I would much prefer a video dictionary of ballet mime.

Worth keeping an eye on it until a copy at a sensible price turns up if it's of interest. Those hyper inflated prices are some sort of scam I don't understand.

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