The Enrico Cecchetti Diploma
17 September 2019
The making of the film by Diane van Schoor
As Artistic Director of the Cecchetti Legacy Project, I worked with a wonderful team of professionals: Ross MacGibbon, film-maker and producer par excellence; his team and Roland Thompson, accompanist.
Kevin O’Hare CBE, Director of the Royal Ballet gifted the use of the studios to the project and Philip Mosley, Artistic Scheduling Manager, co-ordinated studio space – the beautiful Ashton and MacMillan studios at the Royal Opera House.
I wanted to use dancers from the three English companies, but on comparing schedules, it was unachievable. The dancers from The Royal Ballet were: James Hay, Chisato Katsura and Romany Pajdak and from Birmingham Royal Ballet: Ruth Brill, Laura Day, Brandon Lawrence and Lachlan Monaghan. Their level of commitment just cannot be adequately expressed and our gratitude is impossible to articulate.
Ross persuaded me that it could not be a legacy, heritage project without including what he referred to as ‘gems’ – the background information in Cecchetti’s work. The style of the film was therefore determined to embrace discussion, teaching, coaching and performing. It was a very long journey. However, Romany Pajdak’s quote says it all: “I urge every professional dancer to seek and study the Cecchetti Diploma as a vital means to forward expand and prolong their careers.”
There was still something missing – an introduction which Dame Darcey Bussell graciously provided; an ending with both company directors ‘in discussion’ and the dancers speaking of their experiences studying this work.
The accompanying booklet contains historical information and references to where some of the work may be found in the classical repertoire and remembering that not all viewers will be versed in the knowledge of the Method, there is a short history of Cecchetti and the Diploma. An additional navigational guide allows navigation either via the syllabus or via the Days of the Week exercises. After negotiation with Opus Arte (now part of the Naxos group), they agreed to produce the film. The film has been translated into Italian and due to interest from Opus Arte’s distributors, also into Japanese.
Grateful thanks go to the directors of The Royal Ballet and Birmingham Royal Ballet, the Legacy Group, The Cecchetti Society Trust Chair and Trustees and the generous supporters and donors who fuelled this project from beginning to end.
The Cecchetti Society Trust and the Legacy Fundraising Group are proud to announce the release of The Enrico Cecchetti Diploma.
Perhaps the greatest coup for Cecchetti is the fact that the product is being sold at the Royal Opera House. It is now available priced £99.95 plus postage at: shop.roh.org.uk/products/the-enrico-cecchetti-diploma-dvd-bluray.
It is my hope that the film will be a valuable teaching tool and resource for dancers, qualifying candidates and teachers and that in the words of Dame Darcey Bussell: “I hope it will inspire a future generation of dancers and teachers.”
Diane van Schoor FISTD[CB] FRSA
Photos by Andrej Uspenski