Southwest Committee Cecchetti Council of America
The Cecchetti Council of America is a nonprofit international educational organization of ballet teachers who have submitted to examination for each level they are qualified to teach. The Council’s activities encompass five regions of the United States which are represented by eighteen committees. Committees are also established in Haiti, Jamaica, and Canada.As part of this new global network, the CCA continues to ensure quality standards in classical ballet training.
The Southwest Committee comprises the dancing communities of Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Kansas, and Arkansas. From early founding members Wanda Jones and Charline Danwill, to the leadership of Karen Drouin, Renata Sanford, Kathleen Tenniswood-Powell, Ph.D., Diana Mallum, Marcia Holliman, Teresa Cooper, Jody Isenhour, and many more, the Southwest Committee is dedicated to enriching their students with the discipline and beauty of the Cecchetti method.
SW Committee Board Members 2019-2021
Cyndi Shailer, LCCA
Angela Ingels, LCCA
Carla Mullendore, T-Member
Eliese Freeman, T-Member
Jody Isenhour, FCCA
Jourdan Jourdan, ACCA
History of the Master
Enrico Cecchetti lived from 1850-1928. He was descended from a family of dancers and was born in the dressing room of the Tordinona Theater in Rome after his mother finished a performance. Although his parents wanted for him a career in business or law, Enrico was determined to be a dancer and finally convinced his parents of his great desire and dedication. Trained in the rudiments of ballet by his father, Enrico was sent for further training to Giovanni Lepri who prepared accomplished dancers. He also studied with two more of his father’s colleagues, Cesare Coppini, who taught at the prestigious La Scala in Milan, and Filippo Taglioni, father of the celebrated ballerina, Marie Taglioni. All of Cecchetti’s teachers had been trained by Carlo Blasis. This early training created a background for Enrico Cecchetti’s method of teaching following the lines of Blasis’ own theory.During his career as a dancer, he performed all over the world and was considered “the first dancer of the world.” He taught at the Imperial Schools in St. Petersburg, Moscow, and Warsaw; at his school in London; and was head of the Ballet Department at La Scala in Milan. As ballet master for Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes, he taught daily classes for both principal and corps dancers. He developed a method of teaching that utilized all the basic steps and ensured the regular and appropriate use of muscles through a formula of daily exercises.
Tamara Karsavina, one of the finest ballerinas of the 20th century, stated that Cecchetti had the keenest sense of training dancers she had ever encountered, that he could identify the exact area where a muscle was not working appropriately and guide a dancer to the correct execution of that movement. Anna Pavlova expressed her gratitude for his training and pointed out that nearly every dancer who had a professional career at that time had been trained by Cecchetti. Led by Vaslav Nijinsky, dancers of the Ballets Russes refused to tour because they did not want to miss their daily classes with Cecchetti. His students realized the value of his training and helped to record his choreographed exercises and teaching tips in the Manual of Classical Theatrical Dancing (Cecchetti Method) and two Allegro books. © By Kathleen Tenniswood-Powell