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October to December 2014110 Years of the ISTD - The first two faculty histories in a series to mark this anniversary: Modern Ballroom & Cecchetti.




sAlex and Pat Moore



sAlex and Pat Moore

DANCE_469_Features.indd 37 08/09/2014 12:02

On his appointment as Chairman

of the ISTD, Professor Christopher

Bannerman was keen to do full

justice to the long and rich history of

the organisation. Rather than repeat the

general approach found in the centenary

publication 100 years of Dance (2004),

a more detailed history of each faculty

seemed to be a positive way forward.

As a result, I was commissioned in

the spring of 2014 to work on the current

faculty histories, some of which are already

on the ISTD’s website, and to produce new

ones where these did not exist. The initial

possibility was that I write these myself, but

we felt it best for the faculty representatives

to speak with their own voices, with my

guidance, editorial interventions and


Faculty Chairmen either undertook the

task themselves or nominated a researcher

or writer. Over the coming months, 12 new

histories were fully or partially completed.

Some were adaptations of existing narratives;

others were written afresh. The aim for them

all was not only to record the key people and

activities which comprised the ever-changing

work of the ISTD, but also to place this work

within the broader context of the social and

artistic development of dance.

These histories have been produced, in

words and images, by those most directly

involved. They record the wonderful work of

dedicated people over the past 110 years and

it is entirely appropriate that they have been

written and are being disseminated in this

special year. This issue of DANCE features the

first two histories for the Modern Ballroom

and Cecchetti Classical Ballet faculties.

Alexandra Carter

Modern Ballroom Faculty History

Established in 1904 the Imperial Society

of Teachers of Dancing (ISTD) is one of the

world’s oldest and most influential dance

examination boards. Ever since its inception

the ISTD has developed new styles and dance

genres, and today with 12 faculties, no other

dance examination board has the breadth of

genres that the ISTD offers.

Our mission is to educate the public in the

art of dancing in all its forms, to promote the

knowledge of dance, to provide up-to-date

techniques, and to maintain and improve

teaching standards across the globe. The ISTD

is always moving with the times to keep pace

with the latest developments in dance. We

regularly update our syllabi and introduce

new faculties to respond to changes in the

world of dance.

The Modern Ballroom Faculty, as it is

known today, was the earliest of the current

110 Years of the ISTD The first two faculty histories in a series to mark this anniversary

Below: Alex Moore holding up the

number two

Right hand page: Bill and Bobbie


dancesport faculties. Then called the Ballroom Branch, it was

formed in 1924, 20 years after the ISTD was founded.

In the years leading up to the First World War and even

during it, ballroom dancing was very popular indeed. We

learn in Nerina Shute’s prologue to The World of Phyllis

Haylor,1 that ballroom formed an important part of the

lifestyle of fashionable London society. The tango had been

introduced from Argentina and the foxtrot from America

to join the already popular waltz, and then, in the Roaring

Twenties, came the Charleston. There was, however, a lack

of uniformity in the teaching of these dances and so the

first priority of the ISTD’s newly formed Ballroom Branch

Committee was to establish a firm technical structure for the

waltz, foxtrot, tango and quickstep. Under the chairmanship

of Josephine Bradley, MBE (1893–1985) this was achieved

and the resulting analysis formed the basis of the technique

to which we still adhere. Miss Bradley served as Chairman

of the Ballroom Branch until 1947 and in 1966 she received

the ISTD’s Imperial Award in recognition of her outstanding

contribution to the English style of Ballroom Dancing. In her

memory, the Josephine Bradley Award still forms part of the

Faculty’s medal test system.

The new technique was welcomed and quickly accepted

in the UK and overseas. Membership of the ISTD grew apace

and the Ballroom Branch flourished. Children’s examinations

were soon introduced and became extremely popular. Today

they include Under-6 and Under-8 Tests, which enable very

young children to take part and to ‘get their feet on the

ladder’. Children’s work continues to form a major part of

current medal test sessions and competitions.

With the approach of the Second World War the activities

of the ISTD were necessarily curtailed but where possible,

teachers and examiners continued to develop the knowledge

and understanding of ballroom dancing at home and

overseas. One early ambassador was Phyllis Haylor (1904–

1981), who travelled widely to train and examine the English

style. A member of the Ballroom Branch Committee, she

became a revered teacher, competitive coach, lecturer and a

prolific writer of articles on ballroom dancing for the Dancing

Times. In 1974 Miss Haylor received the ISTD’s Imperial Award

for outstanding services to the profession. In her memory

the Phyllis Haylor Scholarship, which supports further

professional training, is awarded annually.

The ISTD and the Ballroom Branch continued to lead the

world in the development and spread of knowledge of the

fundamentals of ballroom dancing. In 1935 the sought after

standardisation took another leap forward with the recording

by Victor Silvester OBE (1900–1978) of the first Strict Tempo

records, enabling keen dancers all over the world to use music

created especially for them. With his music, books and long

running radio and television programmes Mr Silvester, a

member of the first Ballroom Branch Committee, made a

huge contribution to the world of ballroom dancing. He went

on to serve as Chairman then President of the ISTD.

In 1947 a section of the Ballroom Branch was detached to

specialise in the increasingly popular Latin American dances,

and a Victorian and Sequence Branch was formed.

Also in 1947, Alex Moore MBE (1901–1991) was appointed

as Chairman of the Ballroom Branch Committee. His

textbook Ballroom Dancing (1936) became required reading

for students of ballroom dancing all over the world. In 1948

a technical update by the Ballroom Branch Committee

resulted in the Revised Technique of Ballroom Dancing. This

acclaimed book won instant recognition and, in new editions

and updated, is still in constant use worldwide. A devoted

ambassador for ballroom dancing, Alex Moore travelled

extensively, teaching, lecturing and examining and through

his renowned Monthly Letter Service, helping teachers from all

parts of the world to keep up-to-date. An internationally loved

and respected figure, he served as Chairman

of the Ballroom Branch until 1976, becoming

Chairman of the ISTD and then President

until his death.

Following the retirement of Alex Moore as

Chairman of the Ballroom Branch, Bill Irvine,

MBE was appointed to this position and

led the Committee until 1992. A dancer of

renown, he and his wife and partner Bobbie

had won no less than 13 world titles during

their competitive career. Bill Irvine went on

to become Vice President and then President

of the ISTD.

Throughout the 1980s and beyond,

the development of overseas connections

continued with teachers and examiners such

as Marion Brown and Anne Lingard who both

travelled widely, introducing teacher training

and ISTD examinations in many parts of the

world, particularly in the Far East.

Bill Irvine’s successor as Chairman of

the Ballroom Branch was Anthony Hurley, a

former professional world champion and a

renowned teacher and lecturer who served

in this role from 1992–1994. The update

of the technique, which had been ongoing

was completed during this time and The

Ballroom Technique was published. Following

Anthony Hurley’s resignation, Robert Grover

was elected to the Chairmanship and soon

afterwards the name of the branch was

changed to the Modern Ballroom Faculty.

Also a former world champion with his wife

and partner Barbara, Robert led the Faculty

until his resignation in 2013. He received the

ISTD’s Imperial Award in 1994 and served as

Chairman of the ISTD from 2000–2006.

Robert Grover’s successor as Ballroom

Faculty Chairman was Richard Hunt who has

travelled extensively throughout the world,

developing the overseas work of the ISTD. He

continues to lead the Faculty today.

The Modern Ballroom Faculty Committee

continues to develop and expand the range

of work that we offer to our teachers. For

example, in 2010 the Viennese waltz was

fully accepted as the Faculty’s ‘fifth dance’.

The technique had been revised by the

British Dance Council in 2001 and it is now

a welcome addition to medal tests and

competitions. Another recent addition is the

American Smooth, which became popular

after being featured in the highly successful

television series, Strictly Come Dancing,

discussed below. Following several lectures at

congresses by American experts in this field,

a syllabus was created, and this attractive

dance form is now acceptable in our medal

test system and has become a popular

wedding dance.

Having suffered some loss in popularity

among the general public for some time,

due in part, to the economic situation,

ballroom and Latin American dancing

received a huge boost with the advent of

the television series Strictly Come Dancing,

first broadcast in 2004. Suddenly ballroom

dancing was fashionable again, receiving

tremendous publicity in the media. Many

teachers experienced a marked improvement

in adults attending classes. They particularly

appreciated the increase in men coming

along to learn, encouraged perhaps by the

number of world famous male athletes who

have competed on Strictly.

Today the Modern Ballroom Faculty

aims to continue to support our teachers

and to uphold the high standards set by our

pioneering predecessors who established the

ISTD throughout the world. The highlight of

our year is the annual Grand Finals Medallist

Festival at Blackpool, a modern ballroom,

Latin American and sequence event for which

medallists in schools all over the country

practise throughout the year. The incredibly

high standard of dancing seen at this

glamorous event is continuing evidence that

“the dreams of the founders had been more

than realised”.2

Margaret Connon 2014

“Today the Modern Ballroom Faculty aims to continue to support our teachers and to uphold the high standards set by our pioneering predecessors who established the ISTD throughout the world”

Above: Phyllis Haylor

Cecchetti Faculty History

The Cecchetti Classical Ballet Faculty has a

rich heritage and history. Enrico Cecchetti

was one of the most important influences on

the foundations of modern classical ballet

training. He evolved a method of training

in the 19th century that is as relevant today

as it was when first created. His influence

on British ballet has been far-reaching and

resulted in the creation of The Cecchetti

Society and the Cecchetti Ballet Faculty of

the ISTD. The Cecchetti principles of training

continue to produce outstanding artistic

and technically accomplished dancers,

able to work with today’s directors across a

spectrum of ballet and contemporary dance


Enrico Cecchetti (1850–1928)

Cecchetti was born in Italy in 1850. At the

height of his career as a dancer he migrated

to St Petersburg, where he joined the Imperial

Russian Ballet and created the virtuoso

role of The Bluebird and the mime role of

Carabosse in the premiere of The Sleeping

Beauty in 1890. Cecchetti also taught the

Class of Perfection in the school and worked

with many Mariinsky dancers, including

Pavlova, Karsavina and Nijinsky. In 1909 he

joined Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes as a teacher

and mime artist and travelled with the

company to France and England. His pupils

included Alicia Markova, Ninette de Valois,

Marie Rambert and Leonide Massine. In 1918

he opened a school of dancing in London, at

160 Shaftesbury Avenue.

Cecchetti trained under Lepri, a pupil of

the great Carlo Blasis who had codified the

technique of classical ballet in 1820. Blasis’

ideas were developed further by Cecchetti

who grouped the vocabulary into six sets

of exercises, one for each day of the week.

This work was recorded and published in

1922 by Cyril Beaumont, assisted by Stanislas

Idzikowski and Enrico Cecchetti himself.

Further volumes were compiled by Margaret

Craske and Derra de Moroda. In 1923 he

returned to Italy and accepted the post of

Director of the Ballet School in La Scala,

Milan. He died there in 1928.

British ballet and Cecchetti

Cecchetti’s influence on British ballet

has been far reaching. Ninette de Valois

and Marie Rambert, the two architects of

20th century British ballet, both studied

extensively with Cecchetti. Rambert called

him “the greatest ballet-master of his time”1

and Ninette de Valois wrote in her memoir

“Maestro Cecchetti left a great imprint on the

English School and was my exclusive teacher

for four years. The important aspects of his

teaching will remain a part of the academic

tradition of our English ballet”.2

When Cecchetti retired from his studio in

London his work was handed down through

his disciple, Margaret Craske, to a whole

generation of British artists. Many of these

were to spread his method abroad where

Above left: Anna Pavlova with

Maestro Cecchetti

Above: A lithograph by R. Schwabe

of Maestro Enrico Cecchetti

(donated to the ISTD by Mrs Jane

Box-Grainger in memory of her

Mother, June Hampshire)

it has become an integral part of the work of many major

companies and schools all over the world. Most notable

amongst Rambert and Craske’s many famous pupils, and

the most important link through them to Cecchetti, was Sir

Frederick Ashton. He wrote: “If I had my way, I would always

insist that all dancers should daily do the wonderful Cecchetti

port de bras, especially beginners. It inculcates a wonderful

feeling for line and correct positioning and the use of head

movement and épaulement, which, if correctly absorbed, will

be of incalculable use throughout a dancer’s career”.3

The Cecchetti Society and the Cecchetti Faculty of the ISTD

It was at the instigation of Cyril Beaumont, writer, ballet

historian and critic, that the Cecchetti Society was founded in

1922, to preserve and promote the work of ‘the Maestro’. The

first committee comprised such luminaries as Cyril Beaumont,

Margaret Craske, Jane Forrester, Molly Lake, Derra de Moroda,

Marie Rambert and Ninette de Valois. Maestro Cecchetti was

President and Madame Cecchetti was Vice President. In 1923

when Cecchetti moved back to Italy, Cyril Beaumont was

elected Chairman of the Cecchetti Society, a post he held

until his death in 1976. In 1924 the Cecchetti Society was

incorporated with the ‘Imperial Society of Dance Teachers’

(now, the ISTD). Following Cyril Beaumont, the position of

Chairman has been held by: Diana Barker 1976–1990; Mary

Jane Duckworth 1990–1999; Linda Pilkington 1999–2005 and

Elisabeth Swan 2005–date.

The chairmen along with their vice chairmen, committee

members and secretaries have made an outstanding

contribution, leading the Faculty, promoting the work of the

Society and protecting the Cecchetti heritage, whilst also

responding to the changing face of dance. Many members of

the Cecchetti Society have served on the Faculty committees

over the years, offering their time on a voluntary basis

and giving invaluable support to the Society through their

experience and expertise.

The Cecchetti Society is also very honoured to have the

support of a number of esteemed patrons. The current Society

patrons are Dame Monica Mason DBE, David Bintley CBE,

Lesley Collier CBE and Kevin O’Hare.

In the 90 years that Cecchetti classical ballet has been

affiliated to the ISTD it has evolved and expanded and now

provides a very wide range of training and performance

opportunities for children, students and teachers. With

nationally and internationally recognised ISTD examinations

and qualifications, Cecchetti classical ballet is now taught

across Europe and beyond. Branches of the Cecchetti Society

have also been formed throughout the world and flourish in

Australia, South Africa, Canada, Italy and the USA. Together

with the UK, these countries are the founder members

of Cecchetti International Classical Ballet (CICB), working

together to promote the Cecchetti method.

Building on this rich legacy the purpose of Cecchetti

classical ballet today is: ‘Recreational, Vocational, Professional

– a Training for the Future’. To find out more about Cecchetti

Classical Ballet go to

Catherine Hutchon

Alexandra Carter is Professor Emerita in Dance Studies. She is

semi-retired and now lives in Suffolk, where she has returned

to dancing after three decades of academic activity. One of

her own research fields was in the lost recorded heritage

of dance in Britain in the late 19th century. To work on the

continuing histories of dance through the 20th and into the

21st century has been a truly great pleasure.

Copies of ISTD’s 100 years of Dance – a glossy book

celebrating the Society’s first 100 years can be purchased at a

special offer price of £10.00 plus post and packaging. To order

your copy contact the ISTD Shop on +44 (0) 20 7377 1577 (ext.

811) or email [email protected].

“In the 90 years that Cecchetti classical ballet has been affiliated to the ISTD it has evolved and expanded”

BALLROOM ARTICLE REFERENCES1 The World of Phyllis Haylor (ed.

Bryan Allen, commissioned by the

ISTD in 1984)2 Taylor, C. (Major), 1930, ‘Report

of the Proceedings of the Imperial

Society’s Congress held at the

Portman Rooms, London W1 28th

July 1930’, Dance Journal, Aug/Oct.

CECHHETTI REFERENCES1 Rambert, M. (1972) Quicksilver:

Autobiography London: St Martin’s

Press, p1032 de Valois, N. (1957) Come Dance

with Me: A Memoir 1898–1956,

London: Hamish Hamilton, p623 Glasstone, R. (1996) ‘The Influence

of Cecchetti on Ashton’s Work’ in

Jordan, S. & Grau, A. (eds) (1996)

Following Sir Fred’s Steps: Ashton’s

Legacy, London: Dance Books Ltd, p8