This dance classic presents a complete beginning course in classical ballet. The founder of this method, Enrico Cecchetti (1850–1928), performed and taught in Russia and with Diaghilev's troupe. By elaborating on a logical progression of exercises, Cecchetti provided dance with an unprecedented unity — balancing the adagio and allegro, re-establishing the notion of "legato," strengthening the arabesque, and developing the exercise of the pliés. Cyril W. Beaumont, a distinguished writer on ballet, has codified Cecchetti's program of study with the assistance of one of Cecchetti's star pupils, Stanislas Idzikowski, and with the approval of Cecchetti himself.
The first chapter defines and illustrates the basic theory of the positions, body movements, and technical terms. Detailed chapters of exercises include "Exercises at the Bar," "Port de Bras," "Centre Practice," "Adagio," and "Allegro." Each exercise appears with a numbered series of instructions, and a table of daily exercises for the week is provided. The text is accompanied by 109 line illustrations, showing positions and movements of the body in detail and offering ballet lovers a perfect guide to the basics of classical ballet.