Leicester Ballet


About Deirdre Lee

Deirdre Lee trained at the Royal Ballet School in London on the dancer’s course.  A foot injury prevented a ballet career and after working in the commercial and straight theatre she retrained and qualified as a Cecchetti Classical ballet teacher in 1994 with Eve Leveaux at Derby Academy of Classical Dance.  Post qualification she spent three months at the National Ballet School in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

After freelance teaching for some years, she founded her own school, “Grace School of Dance” in Leicester in 2003.  In 2007 she gained her Licentiate and Certificate of Dance Education in Cecchetti Classical Ballet.  Deirdre is a qualified ISTD Natural Movement teacher and is currently teaching ISTD Modern Theatre Faculty work.

In 2008 Deirdre was awarded a grant from the Diana Barker Memorial Fund enabling her to study the Enrico Cecchetti Diploma, which she is currently working on with Eve Leveaux.


The Influence of Maestro Enrico Cecchetti on the development of early British Ballet.

The History of the Cecchetti Method and the Cecchetti Society Classical Ballet Faculty (ISTD)

The Cecchetti Society was founded in 1922 to promote and keep alive the teaching method of Enrico Cecchetti (1850-1928), a celebrated Italian virtuoso dancer and teacher – Maestro Cecchetti teaching and method of training had a profound impact on the foundation of British Ballet.

The two great women pioneers of early British Ballet, Marie Rambert and Ninette de Valois, both studied extensively with him founding, respectively, the first British Ballet Companies, Ballet Rambert (now the contemporary dance company Rambert Dance Company) and the Royal Ballet Company.

His method helped to shape the classical schooling of both their enterprises and it was handed down to the British Choreographer, Frederick Ashton for the stage, who created the British Style of the Royal Ballet.  In a letter, in July 1984, to Richard Glasstone, the writer, teacher and celebrated teacher of the Cecchetti Method in England,  Ashton says  “I have always had the greatest respect for the Cecchetti Method … I always insist that all dancers should daily do the wonderful port de bras, especially beginners.”

Reference “Theatre Programme”, A Tribute to Ashton and Cecchetti, November 12th 2000.
Extract from Frederick Ashton’s Letter to Richard Glasstone, 16th July 1984.

In 1923, the Cecchetti Society became affiliated to the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing (ITTD) founded in 1904.  As Cecchetti work was training for professional dancers and students, the Cecchetti Society involved a series of graded and class examinations for pre-vocational and recreational children and vocational students.