Ballet exams are valuable to students who are serious about ballet because they promote the development of strong technique, artistry, and the quality of movement.
The examination process allows each student to set a goal for themselves and work towards that goal with the hopes of achieving it. It takes discipline to study Cecchetti theory and word hard in class to reach the technical requirements set for each Cecchetti grade. Achieving goals heightens self-esteem by allowing the student to graduate to the next level upon successful completion of the previous Cecchetti grade.
Class attendance is key to excellent ballet technique. Typically students preparing for a Cecchetti Exam take a minimum of two classes per week of the grade they are working on, or they work on a level for two years.
Your Cecchetti exam will be led by one or two examiners from the Cecchetti Council of America's Board of Examiners. Examiners understand that students may be nervous and do their best to make the student feel as comfortable as possible during the exam.
Most exams start in the center with a short introduction between examiners and the students. The examiners typically will begin with theory questions before the students demonstrate the barre work, center work, adages, and enchainments exercises. All of the memorized theory questions can be found at the front of the Cecchetti book that dancers can purchase in the studio store.
All theory and translations for each grade are in the CCA graded syllabus books. Attention is given to the new theory presented in the beginning of each graded syllabus book. Due to the fact that the Cecchetti method builds from one level to the next, the examiners may ask candidates theory questions from the previous grade. Therefore it is always a good idea for students to refresh their knowledge of terminology from previous grades before examination day. Cecchetti books are available for purchase in the studio store.
Female students should wear a simple solid black leotard with pink tights and pink ballet shoes. Hair should be worn in a proper ballet bun; if the hair is too short, it needs to be securely fastened off the face and neck.
Watch this video for an example of a proper ballet bun - Classical Ballet Bun
Male students should wear a fitted white t-shirt, dance belt, black tights and black ballet shoes. Hair must be away from the face.
Exams only require... YOU!
However, if you have a medical condition in which an inhaler is required, it may be brought into the exam with you. Water bottles are NOT permitted in examinations unless there is a special circumstance or medical condition that requires it; permission should be given prior to entering the exam for a water bottle. Grade IV students should give the CD for the choreographed dance to the person playing the music at the beginning of the exam. Starting at the Elementary level, pointe shoes should be brought into the examination.
Exam times vary depending upon the grade and the number of students in each exam session. Student level exams range from 45 minutes to 1 hour and 15 minutes. Professional level exams run from 1.5 hours to 3 hours.
The week following exams the students teacher will meet with the student to discuss exam results.