Young Ballerina

Why Exams?

~ Why should I take examinations? ~

The examining process gives each student a goal to work towards and allows them to achieve it.  It takes discipline to study theory and work hard in class to reach the technical requirements for each grade level.  Achieving goals heightens self-esteem by allowing the dancer to graduate to the next level upon successful completion of the previous grade.  The benefits of using a method which builds from one level to the next is important in developing a well-trained dancer.

Ballet exams are valuable for ballet students because they promote the development of strong technique, artistry, and quality of movement.

~ How can I prepare? ~

Good classroom attendance is key to excellent ballet technique. Being present in class, both physically and mentally, are the key factors with their work ethic.  There are also study links provided below to help the dancer with theory and translations.

~ What can I expect during an exam? ~

Your ballet exam will be led by one or two examiners from the Cecchetti Council of America’s Board of Examiners. Examiners understand that candidates may be nervous and do their best to make them feel as comfortable as possible during the exam.

Most exams start in the center floor with a short introduction between examiners and the candidates. The examiners will first ask the theory questions before the candidates demonstrate the barre work, center work, adages, and enchaînements exercises.

~ What theory questions will be asked? ~

All theory and translations for each grade are contained in the CCA graded syllabus books. Special attention is given to the new theory presented in the beginning of each graded syllabus book. Since the Cecchetti method builds from one level to the next, the examiners may ask candidates theory questions from the previous grade. It is always a good idea to refresh your knowledge of terminology from previous grades. Nervousness is reduced when candidates are well prepared.

~ What is the dress code? ~

Female candidates should wear a solid black leotard with pink tights and ballet slippers. Hair should be worn in a bun; if the hair is too short, it needs to be securely fastened off the face and neck.

Male candidates should wear a fitted white t-shirt, dance belt, black tights and ballet slippers. Younger boys may wear fitted black shorts. Hair must be away from the face.

~ What should I bring into the exam? ~

Most exams only require… YOU!

However, if you use an inhaler, it may be brought into the exam to assure your comfort and safety. Water bottles should not be brought into the examination unless there is a special circumstance or medical condition; permission should be given before entering the examination room. 

You will also need to sign the Release and Waiver form before your dancer may take their exam.  Grade IV students should give their music for their student 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 room.

How long is the exam?

The exam times vary depending upon the grade level. The student level exams range from 45 minutes to 1 hour and 15 minutes.  The professional level exams run from 1.5 hours to 3 hours. These exam times may run shorter or longer depending upon how many candidates are in each exam session.

~ How do I know if I am ready to take my exam? ~

Your ballet teacher will invite you to participate a minimum of 10 weeks from the proposed exam date.  Registration must be completed, and fees paid 9 weeks from the exam. As a reminder the exams are designed to help bolster confidence and the desire for dedication to artistry and technique.  Your teacher chooses dancers carefully.  If he/she decides you are not quite ready know exams happen every month and no doubt you will be invited before long.

~ Is it worth it? ~

Yes!  All dancers are nervous going into exams and or auditions.  All practicing in these scenarios help teach us that proper preparation, dedication and diligence brings forth success.  99% of all dancers exiting their exams are all smiles and giddiness.

~ What if I register and then decide I do not want to participate? ~

Unfortunately, in most cases monies are NOT refunded.  Airplane tickets, hotel rooms, and transport have already been paid for by CCA.  The examiners must still be paid for the immense knowledge and time. If the dancer is injured and or too sick to dance, you may be allowed to reschedule your exam at another time although there are no guarantees.

 ~ How long before we know if we passed? ~

The CCA realizes the excitement and anticipation of receiving exam results in a timely fashion. Results and certificates will be mailed to the sponsoring teacher within one week of the exam.