Diana Byer: How I Teach CecchettiBy Jenny Dalzell, Dance Teacher
Friday June 1, 2012
Detailed woodwork frames the walls of a cavernous dance studio, housed on the grounds of an early-19th-century Baptist church. It’s the home of Ballet School NY and New York Theatre Ballet, a company dedicated in part to preserving classic ballet and modern dance works, and artistic director Diana Byer uses the Cecchetti syllabus to train her dancers. Though it’s one of the oldest existing systems of ballet pedagogy, she stresses that it is not an antiquated method as teachers continue to breathe life into the training. It’s an ideal syllabus for students who also study modern and jazz dance and perform a wide range of choreography. Its unadorned qualities train students to move strongly and purely, without stylistic idiosyncrasies.