What you need to know
Exams are designed to give teachers and students specific goals to work towards and maintain a level of development consistent with international standards.
How will I know if my child should take the exam?
You will receive a recommendation regarding your dancer mid to late January. We will send out an email notifying you that your packet is ready to pick up at the front desk. You cannot register or book private lessons before receiving the recommendation.
How do I register for exams and book private lessons?
After receiving your recommendation, please follow the instructions on this page for exam registration and private lesson booking (deadline February 1).
Are the exams required?
No, exams are not required but highly recommended for all students. Exams are an important learning tool and an opportunity to get additional feedback and corrections from an outside source; they give the dancers a goal to work towards, and an exam experience outside of their regular classroom environment. If your dancer is hoping to advance to the company level of Southern California Ballet in the future, then progressing through the Cecchetti exam system is required (passing Cecchetti Grade 8 is the requirement for enrollment in the company level).
Will my student still advance to the next level if they do not take the exam?
If your student does not take the exam, then progression to the next grade is by teacher recommendation and is dependent on whether they possess the knowledge and technique needed to move to the next level.
Which classes have exams?
Classes named “Grade 1/2/3” etc. all the way up to “Grade 10,” and the “Standard 1” class, all follow the Cecchetti syllabus and have the option for examinations.
What is the difference between Standard 1 and Grade 1?
The Standard exam is taken before the Grade exam. Standard level takes away the pressure of the Grade exam by allowing all the students to take the exam together as a class and with the teacher in the room, thus preparing the dancers for their Grade exam next year.
Does my dancer need private lessons and how many?
Private lessons are necessary for all the Cecchetti Grade classes (Standard 1 does not require a private lesson) so your dancer can learn her/his solo dance which will be performed during the exam. The number of privates depends on each individual dancer. You will receive this information and advice from your dancer’s teacher in the recommendation packet which will be given out after parent viewing week (Jan. 14-19). Privates are typically 30 minute slots and cost $45 per 30 minutes, and should be booked with the student’s instructor.
How do I schedule private lessons?
Create a Punchpass account:
Buy a "pass" from the front desk:
After creating an account, purchase a "pass" by cash or check in-person from the front desk at SCB. Passes are $45 per 30 minutes, $90 per hour, etc. We will add the pass directly to your customer account, which allows you to book private lessons online.
Book your lesson:
When signed in on Punchpass, you will see your purchased passes under "Active Passes."
Click Calendar or Schedule to view the available lessons. You can filter by instructor if needed. After locating the lesson you'd like, click "Reserve My Spot in Class" to reserve the lesson. You should receive a confirmation email.
Can I cancel a reservation?
If you need to cancel a reservation, you must do so no less than 48 hours in advance. Reservations can be canceled by going to the Punchpass page and scrolling to the bottom section, "Reservations In Upcoming Classes." Click the red "Cancel Reservation" button.
There is a rescheduling fee for missed private lessons.
How far in advance do I need to book the lesson?
Lessons fill up quickly, so it's best to book early. Any reservations must be made at least 24 hours in advance.
With which instructor should I book my student's private lessons?
Private lessons should be booked with the instructor of your student's Cecchetti class. If needed, you can book with another instructor who provides private lessons in your student's Cecchetti grade:
- Kaitie Birkholtz - Std 1, Grades 1, 2, 3, and 4
- Wendy Cormier - Grades 2 and 3
- Sylvia Palmer - Grades 5, 6, 9, 10, and TC
- Suzan Stone - Grades 4, 5, 7, and 8
- Kalena Tano - Grades 1 and 2
How many lessons can I book at a time?
No more than two lessons may be booked at a time in order to ensure that everybody has an opportunity to schedule lessons. If you book more than two lessons at a time, you will receive notification that your additional reservations have been removed.
When are the exams?
Tentative dates (TO BE CONFIRMED ASAP) are May 17–28, 2019
Will my student have to miss school to do the exam?
Yes, unless your exam is scheduled on Saturday or Sunday. The number of exams that take place and studio availability mean that your child’s exam will take place during the day (sometime between 9am-4pm) before regularly scheduled SCB classes; therefore, doing the exam requires taking a couple of hours off from their school day. The length of your child’s exam depends on the level (lower grades shorter, higher grades longer). The beginning of the week will start with the lower grade exams and progress to the highest grades at the end of the week.
When will I know my dancer’s exam time and date?
After everyone has registered, the information is sent to Cecchetti USA, where they make the final schedule which will be posted no later than three weeks before the first exam.
Is there a fee to take the exam?
Yes. The Cecchetti exam expense includes the cost of bringing an expert examiner who is accredited and certified by Cecchetti USA. It also includes SCB’s administration and set-up costs for the week-long examination process. Specific fees will be in the information packet and depend on exam level.
Day of Exam
What should my child be wearing on the exam day?
Your child will need to be “performance ready” with their attire, as they will be marked on their appearance. Please double-check these expectations:
- Hair in a neat bun with hair net and hairspray used
- Clean tights, leotard, and shoes
- No jewelry or nail polish
When do we need to arrive?
Specific arrival and end times will be included with the schedule. In general, however, please arrive in time to warm up and prepare:
- Grades 1–3 should arrive 30 minutes before their exam time
- Grades 4–6 should arrive 45 minutes before their exam time
- Grades 7–10 should arrive 1 hour before their exam time
Log in to the Customer Portal
Click the green "Find Classes" button on the main dashboard
Select the Cecchetti exam that was recommended in your student's recommendation letter
Click "Add to Cart," confirm that you are enrolling the correct student, and click the "Add" button
Select "Checkout Now"
Click "Accept Enrollment Fees and Continue"
Please look for a confirmation email to confirm completed exam enrollment.
After registering, you are required to pay the exam fee online in the "Billing & Payments" tab in the Customer Portal.
Please pay the exam balance immediately following your enrollment. If you are for some reason unable to complete the payment online, it will automatically be processed with your March tuition payment on March 1.
|Intermediate Major (Grade 8)||$115|
|Advanced 1 (Grade 9)||$135|
|Advanced 2 (Grade 10)||$155|
|Teaching Certificate #1||$140|
|Teaching Certificate #2||$150|
Please follow the instructions in the "Exam Registration" dropdown section on this page.
Book a private lesson
Passes must be purchased by cash or check at the studio.
Our private lesson booking system is new this year! Please follow the instructions in the "Private Lessons" dropdown section on this page.
The examiners that come to us uphold the most precise standards of international principles, and it is a wonderful accomplishment for a child to receive his or her “Certificate” from Cecchetti USA.
The young students that are most successful in the exams are dancing at least two classes per week, or have taken the grade for more than a year. The more time spent on study, the better the result! The children taking Grade 4 or above should be dancing four classes per week to achieve the strength, stamina and finesse for excellent results. The amount of time spent in class has a direct correlation with the standard of the work he or she can produce.
The solo dances that are to be performed in the grade exams only are taught in private lessons. Regular classes do not provide enough time to give the individualized attention required to teach a solo. Private lessons also give the opportunity for correction on technical problems. Privates are typically one half-hour for $45, and can be scheduled at the front desk.
We have been putting the students into the exams for the last 25 years, and have had excellent results (1700+ certificates). Our dancers are stronger, more confident, and they concentrate on the solid basics that are needed at each level. We have seen a big difference in their stage performances, readiness for pointe and national auditions since beginning exams. Graduates have been very successful not only in the dance fields, but in the academic arena as well.
Starting at the Grade 2 level, it is advisable for each student to buy a syllabus and CD (cecchettiusa.org), as ballet does require homework. Once a dancer has passed Grade 5 exam and is 12 years old, we know that she is ready for basic pointe-work. The stronger the dancer, the easier and safer the pointe work for girls and tours en l’air for guys!