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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Meaning of Cecchetti Grades/Levels


TheCryptkeeper

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My 13 year old daughter has been in gymnastics and various other types of dance (ballet, jazz, tap, hip hop) for several years. However, the studio where she was at was part of a city recreation program where she received five hours a week total for all these different types of dance. Earlier this year she decided she wanted to pursue classical ballet seriously, so we enrolled her in a ballet school where they teach the Cecchetti Method. She is currently in grade 4. What does grade 4 exactly mean and what level should a 13 year old be at that has aspirations of possibly becoming a professional ballet dancer? Starting in January, in addition to being enrolled in this smaller private studio, she will also attend The Orlando Ballet School. Between both schools she will receive 7 1/2 hours a week of ballet training and 1 1/2 hours per week of modern. Is this too much for a 13 year old with her background and goals? Thanks.

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That sounds about right for a young teen entering the Cecchetti Method for the first time. Grade IV is the highest grade of "basic training" before you enter the Professional Grades. Here's a link to the Cecchetti Council of America site for a brief overview of the syllabus and curriculum:

 

http://www.cecchetti.org/main.php?smPID=PH...g_syllabus.php&

 

7.5 hours is okay, but she's going to tell you she needs more! She'll probably be right. More than a few 13s take 2 1.5 hour classes per day, plus specialized class in pointe, character, etc., but that may not be possible with the rest of life whirling around her, especially academic school.

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Dear Cryptkeeper,

 

May I add a question to the remarks of our Fearless Leader Mel? I wonder why you are choosing to split up the training locations of your daughter. Location? Not enough time at the Cecchetti school? If the curriculum of her main school is Cecchetti, but she is taking some classes at Orlando, there may be discrepancies of style which are somewhat confusing to a new-ish student. I know Teresa Crawford at Orlando to be a kind and intelligent teacher; perhaps you could approach her and ask her opinion, or at least her advice as to what your daughter could look out for in terms of those differences. I also do think that if she is really serious, as she gets stronger she will want and need more than 7.5 hours; I agree with Mel that one to three classes a day is more like it, with at least one technique a day, plus pointe and as she goes on, character, variations, partnering, etc. And as the mother of a child who does a lot of this stuff, it does mean there isn't much time left for anything else! So think carefully before you let her get drawn into it...ballet has a way of entrancing our children:-)

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]

 

Unfortunately, my daughter is only able to take two classes three hours per week at the school using the Cecchetti method. The teacher is very good and hardworking, and there are only four girls in her class, so she gets much personal attention. My thoughts were to let my daughter finish the year with her and take her level four exam. We just pulled my daughter out of the city run program, which was very difficult since I have been very involved as a volunteer there.

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Thanks, mcrm55, "An educated consumer is our best customer" as Syms' Stores was fond of saying. And that goes throughout the entire ballet world. It also has a way of hypnotizing parents!

 

Fearless Leader,

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Thanks for the information. This is all rather new to me. But just to clarify, as of January, the Orlando Ballet School will be her primary ballet school (at the Patel Conservatory in Tampa) as the other studio is small and only offers classes at her level twice a week. Do you think that the two styles will create problems? Or is it better for her since she will have more practice time? The Cecchetti classes happen to meet on the days when she doesn't have class at the Orlando Ballet School.

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At 13, she might just be sophisticated enough to learn the differences between the two curricula. My advice is to wait and see. If she's not confused, then no problem. Cecchetti will certainly not do any harm, as long as it is being taught correctly.

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