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Ballet () is a type of
performance dance Concert dance (also known as performance dance or theatre dance in the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegrap ...
that originated during the
Italian Renaissance The Italian Renaissance ( it, Rinascimento ) was a period in Italian history The history of Italy covers the Ancient Period, the Middle Ages and the modern era. Since classical times, ancient Phoenicians, Magna Graecia, Greeks, Etruscan civi ...
in the fifteenth century and later developed into a
concert dance 300px, Ballet dancers executing ''grand jetes'' during a concert dance performance. Concert dance (also known as performance dance or theatre dance in the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly know ...
form in France and Russia. It has since become a widespread and highly technical form of dance with its own vocabulary. Ballet has been influential globally and has defined the foundational
techniques Technique or techniques may refer to: Music * The Techniques, a Jamaican rocksteady vocal group of the 1960s *Technique (band), a British female synth pop band in the 1990s *Technique (album), ''Technique'' (album), by New Order, 1989 *Techniques ( ...
which are used in many other dance genres and cultures. Various schools around the world have incorporated their own cultures. As a result ballet has evolved in distinct ways. A ''ballet'' as a unified
work Work may refer to: * Work (human activity) Work or labor is intentional activity people perform to support themselves, others, or the needs and wants of a wider community. Alternatively, work can be viewed as the human activity that cont ...

work
comprises the
choreography Choreography is the art or practice of designing sequence In mathematics, a sequence is an enumerated collection of objects in which repetitions are allowed and order theory, order matters. Like a Set (mathematics), set, it contains Element (m ...
and
music Music is the of arranging s in time through the of melody, harmony, rhythm, and timbre. It is one of the aspects of all human societies. General include common elements such as (which governs and ), (and its associated concepts , , and ...

music
for a ballet production. Ballets are choreographed and performed by trained
ballet dancer
ballet dancer
s. Traditional
classical ballet Classical ballet is any of the traditional, formal styles of ballet Ballet () is a type of performance dance that originated during the Italian Renaissance in the fifteenth century and later developed into a concert dance form in France a ...
s are usually performed with
classical music Classical music generally refers to the formal musical tradition of the Western world The Western world, also known as the West, refers to various s, s and , depending on the context, most often consisting of the majority of , , and ...

classical music
accompaniment and using elaborate costumes and staging, whereas modern ballets are often performed in simple costumes and without elaborate sets or scenery.


Etymology

Ballet is a French word which had its origin in Italian ''balletto'', a
diminutive A diminutive is a root word A root (or root word) is the core of a word that is irreducible into more meaningful elements. In morphology, a root is a morphologically simple unit which can be left bare or to which a prefix A prefix is an aff ...
of ''ballo'' (dance) which comes from
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became ...

Latin
''ballo'', ''ballare'', meaning "to dance", which in turn comes from the
Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of ...
"βαλλίζω" (''ballizo''), "to dance, to jump about". The word came into English usage from the French around 1630.


History

Ballet originated in the
Italian Renaissance The Italian Renaissance ( it, Rinascimento ) was a period in Italian history The history of Italy covers the Ancient Period, the Middle Ages and the modern era. Since classical times, ancient Phoenicians, Magna Graecia, Greeks, Etruscan civi ...
courts of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Under
Catherine de' Medici Catherine de' Medici ( it, Caterina de' Medici, ; french: Catherine de Médicis, ; 13 April 1519 – 5 January 1589) was an Italian Italian may refer to: * Anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Italy ** Italians, an eth ...
's influence as Queen, it spread to France, where it developed even further. The dancers in these early court ballets were mostly noble amateurs. Ornamented costumes were meant to impress viewers, but they restricted performers' freedom of movement. The ballets were performed in large chambers with viewers on three sides. The implementation of the
proscenium A proscenium ( grc-gre, προσκήνιον, ) is the metaphorical vertical plane of space in a theatre, usually surrounded on the top and sides by a physical proscenium arch (whether or not truly "arched") and on the bottom by the stage floor ...
arch from 1618 on distanced performers from audience members, who could then better view and appreciate the technical feats of the professional dancers in the productions. French court ballet reached its height under the reign of King
Louis XIV Louis XIV (Louis Dieudonné; 5 September 16381 September 1715), also known as Louis the Great () or the Sun King (), was King of France from 14 May 1643 until his death in 1715. His reign of 72 years and 110 days is the List of longest-reigning mo ...

Louis XIV
. Louis founded the
Académie Royale de Danse Image:Lettres patentes.jpg, 250px, The Academy's founding letters patent The Académie Royale de Danse, founded by letters patent, Letters Patent on the initiative of King Louis XIV of France in March 1661, was the first dance institution establishe ...
(Royal Dance Academy) in 1661 to establish standards and certify dance instructors. In 1672, Louis XIV made
Jean-Baptiste Lully Jean-Baptiste Lully (, ; ; born Giovanni Battista Lulli, ; – 22 March 1687) was an Italian-born French composer A composer (Latin wikt:compono, ''compōnō''; literally "one who puts together") is a person who writes musical composition, ...

Jean-Baptiste Lully
the director of the Académie Royale de Musique (
Paris Opera The Paris Opera (, ) is the primary opera and ballet company of France. It was founded in 1669 by Louis XIV as the , and shortly thereafter was placed under the leadership of Jean-Baptiste Lully and officially renamed the , but continued to be k ...

Paris Opera
) from which the first professional
ballet company A ballet company is a type of dance troupe A dance troupe or dance company is a group of dancers and associated personnel who work together to perform dances as a spectacle or entertainment. There are many different types of dance companies, often w ...
, the
Paris Opera Ballet The Paris Opera Ballet () is a French ballet company that is an integral part of the Paris Opera. It is the oldest national ballet company, and many European and international ballet companies can trace their origins to it. It is still regarded as ...
, arose.
Pierre Beauchamp Pierre Beauchamp (also Beauchamps (30 October 1631 – February 1705) was a French choreographer Choreography is the art or practice of designing sequence In mathematics, a sequence is an enumerated collection of objects in which repeti ...
served as Lully's ballet-master. Together their partnership would drastically influence the development of ballet, as evidenced by the credit given to them for the creation of the five major positions of the feet. By 1681, the first "ballerinas" took the stage following years of training at the Académie. Ballet started to decline in France after 1830, but it continued to develop in Denmark, Italy, and Russia. The arrival in Europe of the
Ballets Russes The Ballets Russes () was an itinerant ballet company based in Paris that performed between 1909 and 1929 throughout Europe and on tours to North and South America. The company never performed in Russia, where the Russian Revolution, Revolution d ...
led by
Sergei Diaghilev Sergei Pavlovich Diaghilev ( ; rus, Серге́й Па́влович Дя́гилев, , sʲɪˈrɡʲej ˈpavləvʲɪdʑ ˈdʲæɡʲɪlʲɪf; 19 August 1929), usually referred to outside Russia as Serge Diaghilev, was a Russian art critic, pat ...
on the eve of the
First World War World War I, often abbreviated as WWI or WW1, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainmen ...

First World War
revived interest in the ballet and started the modern era. In the twentieth century, ballet had a wide influence on other dance genres, Also in the twentieth century, ballet took a turn dividing it from classical ballet to the introduction of
modern dance Modern dance is a broad genre of western concert dance, concert or theatrical dance which included dance styles such as ballet, folk, ethnic, religious, and social dancing; and primarily arose out of Europe and the United States in the late 19th ...
, leading to modernist movements in several countries. Famous dancers of the twentieth century include
Anna Pavlova Anna Pavlovna Pavlova ( , rus, Анна Павловна Павлова ), born Anna Matveyevna Pavlova ( rus, Анна Матвеевна Павлова ; – 23 January 1931), was a Russian prima ballerina of the late 19th and the early 20th ...

Anna Pavlova
,
Galina Ulanova Galina Sergeyevna Ulanova (russian: Галина Сергеевна Уланова, ; 21 March 1998) was a Russian ballet dancer. She is frequently cited as being one of the greatest ballerinas of the 20th century. Biography Ulanova was born ...
,
Rudolf Nureyev Rudolf Khametovich Nureyev ( ; Tatar language, Tatar/Bashkir language, Bashkir: Рудольф Хәмит улы Нуриев; rus, Рудо́льф Хаме́тович Нуре́ев, p=rʊˈdolʲf xɐˈmʲetəvʲɪtɕ nʊˈrʲejɪf; 17 March ...
,
Maya Plisetskaya Maya Mikhailovna Plisetskaya (russian: link=no, Ма́йя Миха́йловна Плисе́цкая; 20 November 1925 – 2 May 2015) was a Soviet and Russian ballet dancer, choreographer, ballet director, and actress. In post-Soviet times, ...
,
Margot Fonteyn Dame Margaret Evelyn de Arias DBE (''née'' Hookham; 18 May 191921 February 1991), known by the stage name Margot Fonteyn, was an English ballerina. She spent her entire career as a dancer with the Royal Ballet The Royal Ballet is an in ...
,
Rosella Hightower Rosella Hightower (January 10, 1920 – November 4, 2008) was an American ballerina who achieved fame in both the United States and Europe. Biography Rosella Hightower was born in Durwood, Carter County, Oklahoma, the only child of Charles Edgar ...
, Maria Tall Chief,
Erik Bruhn Erik Belton Evers Bruhn (3 October 1928 – 1 April 1986) was a Danish danseur, choreographer, artistic director, actor, and author. Early life Erik Bruhn was born in Copenhagen Copenhagen ( da, København ) is the capital and most popul ...

Erik Bruhn
,
Mikhail Baryshnikov Mikhail Nikolayevich Baryshnikov ( rus, Михаи́л Никола́евич Бары́шников, p=mʲɪxɐˈil bɐ'rɨʂnʲɪkəf; lv, Mihails Barišņikovs; born January 27, 1948) is a Soviet Latvian-born Russian-American dancer, chore ...

Mikhail Baryshnikov
,
Suzanne Farrell Suzanne Farrell (born August 16, 1945) is an American ballerina and the founder of the Suzanne Farrell Ballet at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. Farrell began her ballet training at the age of eight. In 1960, she received a scholarship to ...
,
Gelsey Kirkland Gelsey Kirkland (born December 29, 1952) is an American ballerina. Kirkland joined the New York City Ballet in 1968 at age 15, at the invitation of George Balanchine. She was promoted to soloist in 1969, and principal in 1972. She went on to crea ...
,
Natalia Makarova Natalia Romanovna Makarova (russian: Ната́лия Рома́новна Мака́рова, born 21 November 1940) is a Russian prima ballerina and choreographer Choreography is the art or practice of designing sequence In mathematics, ...
, and Arthur Mitchell.


Styles

Stylistic variations and subgenres have evolved over time. Early, classical variations are primarily associated with geographic origin. Examples of this are
Russian ballet Russian ballet (russian: Русский балет) (french: Ballet russe) is a form of ballet Ballet () is a type of performance dance that originated during the Italian Renaissance The Italian Renaissance ( it, Rinascimento ), a period ...
,
French ballet In the French courts during the 17th Century, ballet first begins to flourish with the help of several important men: King Louis XIV, Jean-Baptiste Lully, Pierre Beauchamps, and Molière. The combination of different talents and passions of these fo ...
, and
Italian ballet Italian ballet is the training methods and aesthetic qualities seen in classical ballet in Italy. Ballet has a long history in Italy, and it is widely believed that the earliest predecessor of modern-day ballet originated in the Italian courts of ...
. Later variations, such as contemporary ballet and neoclassical ballet, incorporate both classical ballet and non-traditional technique and movement. Perhaps the most widely known and performed ballet style is late
Romantic ballet The Romantic ballet is defined primarily by an era in ballet in which the ideas of Romanticism in art and literature influenced the creation of ballets. The era occurred during the early to mid 19th century primarily at the Salle Le Peletier, Thé ...
(or
Ballet blanc A ''ballet blanc'' (, "white ballet") is a scene in which the ballerina and the female ''corps de ballet Image:Wiener Staatsoper Schwanensee Szene Akt4.jpg, 250px, In this scene from ''Swan Lake'', the ''corps de ballet'' is forming a "V" at the fr ...
).


Classical ballet

Classical ballet is based on traditional ballet technique and vocabulary. Different styles have emerged in different countries, such as
French ballet In the French courts during the 17th Century, ballet first begins to flourish with the help of several important men: King Louis XIV, Jean-Baptiste Lully, Pierre Beauchamps, and Molière. The combination of different talents and passions of these fo ...
,
Italian ballet Italian ballet is the training methods and aesthetic qualities seen in classical ballet in Italy. Ballet has a long history in Italy, and it is widely believed that the earliest predecessor of modern-day ballet originated in the Italian courts of ...
,
English ballet English usually refers to: * English language * English people English may also refer to: Peoples, culture, and language * ''English'', an adjective for something of, from, or related to England ** English national identity, an identity and ...
, and
Russian ballet Russian ballet (russian: Русский балет) (french: Ballet russe) is a form of ballet Ballet () is a type of performance dance that originated during the Italian Renaissance The Italian Renaissance ( it, Rinascimento ), a period ...
. Several of the classical ballet styles are associated with specific training methods, typically named after their creators (see below). The Royal Academy of Dance method is a ballet technique and training system that was founded by a diverse group of ballet dancers. They merged their respective dance methods (Italian, French, Danish and Russian) to create a new style of ballet that is unique to the organization and is recognized internationally as the English style of ballet. Some examples of classical ballet productions are: ''
Swan Lake ''Swan Lake'' ( rus, Лебеди́ное о́зеро, r=Lebedínoye ózero, p=lʲɪbʲɪˈdʲinəjə ˈozʲɪrə, link=no ), Op. 20, is a ballet Ballet () is a type of performance dance that originated during the Italian Renaissance ...

Swan Lake
'', '' The Sleeping Beauty'' and ''
The Nutcracker ''The Nutcracker'' ( rus, Щелкунчик, Shchelkunchik, links=no ) is an 1892 two-act ballet (""; russian: балет-феерия, link=no, ), originally choreographed by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov with a score by Pyotr Ilyich Tchai ...

The Nutcracker
.''


Romantic ballet

Romantic ballet was an artistic movement of classical ballet and several productions remain in the classical repertoire today. The Romantic era was marked by the emergence of
pointe Pointe technique ( ) is the part of classical ballet ballet technique, technique that concerns ''pointe work'', in which a ballet dancer supports all body weight on the tips of fully extended feet within pointe shoes. A dancer is said to be ''en ...
work, the dominance of female dancers, and longer, flowy tutus that attempt to exemplify softness and a delicate aura. This movement occurred during the early to mid-nineteenth century (the
Romantic era Romanticism (also known as the Romantic era) was an artistic, literary, musical, and intellectual movement that originated in towards the end of the 18th century, and in most areas was at its peak in the approximate period from 1800 to 1850. ...
) and featured themes that emphasized intense emotion as a source of
aesthetic Aesthetics, or esthetics (), is a branch of philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about Metaphysics, existence, reason, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of m ...

aesthetic
experience. The plots of many romantic ballets revolved around spirit women (sylphs, wilis, and ghosts) who enslaved the hearts and senses of mortal men. The 1827 ballet ''
La Sylphide ''La Sylphide'' ( en, The Sylph; da, Sylfiden) is a romantic ballet in two acts. There were two versions of the ballet; the original choreographed by Filippo Taglioni in 1832, and a second version choreographed by August Bournonville in 1836. Bo ...
'' is widely considered to be the first, and the 1870 ballet '' Coppélia'' is considered to be the last. Famous ballet dancers of the Romantic era include
Marie Taglioni Marie Taglioni, Comtesse de Voisins (23 April 1804 – 22 April 1884) was a Swedish-born, partially Italian descended ballet dancer of the Romantic ballet era, a central figure in the history of European dance. She spent most of her life in th ...

Marie Taglioni
,
Fanny Elssler Fanny Elssler (born Franziska Elßler; 23 June 181027 November 1884) was an Austrian ballerina of the Romantic Period. Life and career She was born in Gumpendorf, a neighborhood of Vienna en, Viennese , iso_code ...

Fanny Elssler
, and
Jules Perrot Jules-Joseph Perrot (18 August 1810 – 29 August 1892) was a dancer Dance is a performing art form consisting of sequences of movement, either improvised or purposefully selected. This movement has aesthetic and often symbolic v ...

Jules Perrot
. Jules Perrot is also known for his choreography, especially that of ''
Giselle ''Giselle'' (; ), originally titled ''Giselle, ou les Wilis'' (, ''Giselle, or The Wilis''), is a romantic ballet ("w:fr:ballet-pantomime, ballet-pantomime") in two acts with music by Adolphe Adam. Considered a masterwork in the classical balle ...

Giselle
'', often considered to be the most widely celebrated romantic ballet.


Neoclassical ballet

Neoclassical ballet is usually abstract, with no clear plot, costumes or scenery. Music choice can be diverse and will often include music that is also neoclassical (e.g.
Stravinsky Igor Fyodorovich Stravinsky (; rus, Игорь Фёдорович Стравинский, , ˈiɡərʲ ˈfʲɵdərəvʲɪtɕ strɐˈvʲinskʲɪj, Ru-Igor-Feodorovich-Stravinsky.ogg; 6 April 1971) was a Russian composer, pianist and conducto ...

Stravinsky
, ). Tim Scholl, author of ''From Petipa to Balanchine'', considers
George Balanchine George Balanchine (; Various sources: * * * * born Georgiy Melitonovich Balanchivadze; ka, გიორგი მელიტონის ძე ბალანჩივაძე; January 22, 1904 (O. S. January 9) – April 30, 1983) was ...
's ''
Apollo Apollo, grc, Ἀπόλλωνος, ''Apóllōnos'', label=genitive , ; , grc-dor, Ἀπέλλων, ''Apéllōn'', ; grc, Ἀπείλων, ''Apeílōn'', label=Arcadocypriot Greek, ; grc-aeo, Ἄπλουν, ''Áploun'', la, Apollō, ...
'' in 1928 to be the first neoclassical ballet. ''Apollo'' represented a return to form in response to
Sergei Diaghilev Sergei Pavlovich Diaghilev ( ; rus, Серге́й Па́влович Дя́гилев, , sʲɪˈrɡʲej ˈpavləvʲɪdʑ ˈdʲæɡʲɪlʲɪf; 19 August 1929), usually referred to outside Russia as Serge Diaghilev, was a Russian art critic, pat ...
's abstract ballets. Balanchine worked with modern dance choreographer
Martha Graham Martha Graham (May 11, 1894 – April 1, 1991) was an American modern dance Modern dance is a broad genre of western concert dance, concert or theatrical dance which included dance styles such as ballet, folk, ethnic, religious, and soci ...
, and brought modern dancers into his company such as Paul Taylor, who in 1959 performed in Balanchine's ''
Episodes Episodes may refer to: * Episode, a part of a dramatic work * Episodes (TV series), ''Episodes'' (TV series), a British/American television sitcom which premiered in 2011 * Episodes (journal), ''Episodes'' (journal), a geological science journal * ...
''. While Balanchine is widely considered the face of neoclassical ballet, there were others who made significant contributions.
Frederick Ashton Sir Frederick William Mallandaine Ashton (17 September 190418 August 1988) was a British ballet dancer and choreographer. He also worked as a director and choreographer in opera, film and revue A revue is a type of multi-act popular theatr ...
’s '' Symphonic Variations'' (1946) is a seminal work for the choreographer. Set to
César Franck César-Auguste-Jean-Guillaume-Hubert Franck (10 December 1822 – 8 November 1890) was a composer A composer (Latin wikt:compono, ''compōnō''; literally "one who puts together") is a person who writes musical composition, music, especial ...
’s score of the same title, it is a pure-dance interpretation of the score. Another form, Modern Ballet, also emerged as an offshoot of neoclassicism. Among the innovators in this form were
Glen Tetley Glen Tetley (February 3, 1926 – January 26, 2007) was an American ballet and modern dancer as well as a Choreography (dance), choreographer who mixed ballet and modern dance to create a new way of looking at dance, and is best known for his pi ...
,
Robert Joffrey Robert Joffrey (December 24, 1930 – March 25, 1988) was an American dancer, teacher, producer, choreographer, and co-founder of the Joffrey Ballet, known for his highly imaginative modern ballets. He was born Anver Bey Abdullah Jaffa Khan in Sea ...
and
Gerald Arpino Gerald Arpino (January 14, 1923 – October 29, 2008) was an American dancer and choreographer. He was co-founder of the Joffrey Ballet and succeeded Robert Joffrey as its artistic director in 1988. Life and career Born on Staten Island, New York, ...
. While difficult to parse modern ballet from neoclassicism, the work of these choreographers favored a greater athleticism that departed from the delicacy of ballet. The physicality was more daring, with mood, subject matter and music more intense. An example of this would be Joffrey's ''Astarte'' (1967), which featured a rock score and sexual overtones in the choreography.


Contemporary ballet

This ballet style is often performed barefoot. Contemporary ballets may include
mime #REDIRECT Mime artist A mime artist or just mime (from Greek , , "imitator, actor") is a person who uses mime as a theatrical medium or as a performance art Performance art is an artwork or art exhibition created through actions executed ...
and
acting Acting is an activity in which a story is told by means of its Enactment (psychology), enactment by an actor or actress who adopts a Character (arts), character—in theatre, television, film, radio, or any other medium that makes use of the ...

acting
, and are usually set to music (typically orchestral but occasionally vocal). It can be difficult to differentiate this form from neoclassical or modern ballet. Contemporary ballet is also close to
contemporary dance Contemporary dance is a genre of dance performance that developed during the mid-twentieth century and has since grown to become one of the dominant genres for formally trained dancers throughout the world, with particularly strong popularity in t ...
because many contemporary ballet concepts come from the ideas and innovations of twentieth-century modern dance, including floor work and turn-in of the legs. The main distinction is that ballet technique is essential to perform a contemporary ballet. George Balanchine is considered to have been a pioneer of contemporary ballet. Another early contemporary ballet choreographer,
Twyla Tharp Twyla Tharp (; born July 1, 1941) is an American dancer, choreographer, and author who lives and works in New York City. In 1966 she formed the company Twyla Tharp Dance. Her work often uses classical music, jazz, and contemporary pop music. Fro ...

Twyla Tharp
, choreographed ''Push Comes To Shove'' for the
American Ballet Theatre American(s) may refer to: * American, something of, from, or related to the United States of America, commonly known as the United States ** Americans, citizens and nationals of the United States of America ** American ancestry, people who self-id ...
in 1976, and in 1986 created ''In The Upper Room'' for her own company. Both of these pieces were considered innovative for their melding of distinctly modern movements with the use of pointe shoes and classically trained dancers. Today there are many contemporary ballet companies and choreographers. These include and his company LINES Ballet;
Matthew Bourne Sir Matthew Christopher Bourne (born 13 January 1960) is an English choreographer. His work includes contemporary dance and dance theatre. He has received multiple awards and award nominations, including the Laurence Olivier Award, Tony Award ...
and his company New Adventures; Complexions Contemporary Ballet;
Nacho Duato Juan Ignacio Duato Bárcia, also known as Nacho Duato (born 8 January 1957) is a Spanish modern ballet dancer Dance is a performing art form consisting of sequences of movement, either improvised or purposefully selected. This movement ...
and his Compañia Nacional de Danza; William Forsythe and
The Forsythe Company The Forsythe Company is a dance company, dance ensemble of eighteen dancers based in Dresden, Germany. It was founded in 2005 by William Forsythe (dancer), William Forsythe following the closure of the Frankfurt Ballet. The ensemble further pursues ...
; and Jiří Kylián of the
Nederlands Dans Theater Nederlands Dans Theater (NDT; literal translation Netherlands Dance Theatre) is a Dutch contemporary dance dance company, company. NDT is headquartered at the Lucent Danstheater in The Hague. In addition to the Lucent Danstheater, NDT performs at o ...
. Traditionally "classical" companies, such as the Mariinsky (Kirov) Ballet and the Paris Opera Ballet, also regularly perform contemporary works. The term ''ballet'' has evolved to include all forms associated with it. Someone training as a ballet dancer will now be expected to perform neoclassical, modern and contemporary work. A ballet dancer is expected to be able to be stately and regal for classical work, free and lyrical in neoclassical work, and unassuming, harsh or pedestrian for modern and contemporary work. In addition, there are several modern varieties of dance that fuse classical ballet technique with contemporary dance, such as Hiplet, that require dancers to be practised in non-Western dance styles.


Technical methods of ballet instruction

There are six widely used, internationally recognized methods to teach or study ballet. These methods are the French School, the
Vaganova Method The Vaganova method is a ballet techniqueBallet technique is the foundational principles of body movement and form used in ballet Ballet () is a type of performance dance that originated during the Italian Renaissance The Italian Renaissa ...
, the
Cecchetti Method The Cecchetti method is variously defined as a style of ballet and as a ballet training method devised by the Italian ballet master Enrico Cecchetti (1850–1928). The training method seeks to develop essential skills in dancers as well as streng ...
, the Bournonville method, the Royal Academy of Dance method (English style), and the
Balanchine methodBalanchine technique or Balanchine method is the ballet performance style invented by dancer, choreographer, and teacher George Balanchine (1904–1983), and a trademark of the George Balanchine Foundation. It is used widely today in many of List of ...
(American style). Many more schools of technique exist in various countries. Although preschool-age children are a lucrative source of income for a ballet studio, ballet instruction is generally not an age-appropriate for young children. initial instruction requires standing still and concentrating on posture, rather than dancing. Because of this, many ballet programs have historically not accepted students until approximately age 8. Creative movement and non-demanding pre-ballet classes are recommended as alternatives for children.


French method

The French method is the basis of all ballet training. When Louis XIV created the
Académie Royale de Danse Image:Lettres patentes.jpg, 250px, The Academy's founding letters patent The Académie Royale de Danse, founded by letters patent, Letters Patent on the initiative of King Louis XIV of France in March 1661, was the first dance institution establishe ...
in 1661, he helped to create the codified technique still used today by those in the profession, regardless of what method of training they adhere to. The French school was particularly revitalized under
Rudolf Nureyev Rudolf Khametovich Nureyev ( ; Tatar language, Tatar/Bashkir language, Bashkir: Рудольф Хәмит улы Нуриев; rus, Рудо́льф Хаме́тович Нуре́ев, p=rʊˈdolʲf xɐˈmʲetəvʲɪtɕ nʊˈrʲejɪf; 17 March ...
, in the 1980s. His influence revitalized and renewed appreciation for this style, and has drastically shaped ballet as a whole. In fact, the French school is now sometimes referred to as Nureyev school. The French method is often characterized by technical precision, fluidity and gracefulness, and elegant, clean lines. For this style, fast footwork is often utilized in order to give the impression that the performers are drifting lightly across the stage. Two important trademarks of this technique are the specific way in which the port de bras and the épaulement are performed, more rounded than when dancing in a Russian style, but not as rounded as the Danish style.


Vaganova method

The
Vaganova method The Vaganova method is a ballet techniqueBallet technique is the foundational principles of body movement and form used in ballet Ballet () is a type of performance dance that originated during the Italian Renaissance The Italian Renaissa ...
is a style of ballet training that emerged from
Russian ballet Russian ballet (russian: Русский балет) (french: Ballet russe) is a form of ballet Ballet () is a type of performance dance that originated during the Italian Renaissance The Italian Renaissance ( it, Rinascimento ), a period ...
, created by
Agrippina Vaganova Agrippina Yakovlevna Vaganova (russian: Агриппина Яковлевна Ваганова; 26 June 1879 – 5 November 1951) was a Russian ballet Ballet () is a type of performance dance that originated during the Italian Renaissance ...
. After retiring from dance in 1916, Vaganova turned to teaching at the Leningrad Choreographic School in 1921. Her training method is now internationally recognized and her book, ''The Fundamentals of Classical Dance'' (1934), is a classic reference. This method is marked by the fusion of the classical French style, specifically elements from the Romantic era, with the athleticism of the Italian method, and the soulful passion of Russian ballet. She developed an extremely precise method of instruction in her book ''Basic Principles of Russian Classical dance'' (1948). This includes outlining when to teach technical components to students in their ballet careers, for how long to focus on it, and the right amount of focus at each stage of the student's career. These textbooks continue to be extremely important to the instruction of ballet today. The method emphasizes development of strength, flexibility, and endurance for the proper performance of ballet. She espoused the belief that equal importance should be placed on the arms and legs while performing ballet, as this will bring harmony and greater expression to the body as a whole.


Cecchetti method

Developed by
Enrico Cecchetti Enrico Cecchetti (; 21 June 1850 in Rome – 13 November 1928 in Milan Milan (, , Milanese: ; it, Milano ) is a city in northern Italy, capital of Lombardy, and the second-most populous city in Italy after Rome. Milan served as the cap ...

Enrico Cecchetti
(1850-1928), this method is one known internationally for its intense reliance of the understanding of anatomy as it relates to classical ballet. The goal of this method is to instill important characteristics for the performance of ballet into students so that they do not need to rely on imitations of teachers. Important components for this method is the emphasis of balance, elevations,
ballon Ballon may refer to: Places *Ballon, County Carlow (''Balana'' in Irish), a village in Ireland *Grand Ballon, the apex of the Vosges Mountains in France *Ballon, Charente-Maritime, France *Ballon, Sarthe, France Other *Ballon (ballet), the appear ...
, poise, and strength. This method espouses the importance of recognizing that all parts of the body move together to create beautiful, graceful lines, and as such cautions against thinking of ballet in terms of the arms, legs, and neck and torso as separate parts. This method is well known for eight port de bras that are utilized.


Bournonville method

The Bournonville method is a Danish method first devised by
August Bournonville August Bournonville (21 August 1805 – 30 November 1879) was a Danish ballet master and choreographer. He was the son of Antoine Bournonville, a dancer and choreographer trained under the French choreographer, Jean Georges Noverre, and the ne ...

August Bournonville
. Bournonville was heavily influenced by the early French ballet method due to his training with his father,
Antoine Bournonville 200px, Antoine Bournonville Antoine Bournonville (19 May 1760 – 11 January 1843) was a French ballet dancer a choreographer, active in the Royal Swedish Ballet and the Royal Danish Ballet and eventually ballet master in the latter. He is consi ...

Antoine Bournonville
and other important French ballet masters. This method has many style differences that differentiate it from other ballet methods taught today. A key component is the use of diagonal épaulements, with the upper body turning towards the working foot typically. This method also incorporates very basic use of arms, pirouettes from a low développé position into seconde, and use of fifth position bras en bas for the beginning and end of movements. The Bournonville method produces dancers who have beautiful ''ballon'' ("the illusion of imponderable lightness").


The Royal Academy of Dance method (RAD)

The Royal Academy of Dance method, also referred to as the English style of ballet, was established in 1920 by Genee, Karsavina, Bedells, E Espinosa, and Richardson. The goal of this method is to promote academic training in classical ballet throughout Great Britain. This style also spread to the United States, and is widely utilized still today. There are specific grade levels which a student must move through in order to complete training in this method. The key principle behind this method of instruction is that basic ballet technique must be taught at a slow pace, with difficulty progression often much slower than the rest of the methods. The idea behind this is if a student is to put in a large amount of effort into perfecting the basic steps, the technique learned in these steps allow a student to utilize harder ones at a much easier rate.


Balanchine method

Developed by
George Balanchine George Balanchine (; Various sources: * * * * born Georgiy Melitonovich Balanchivadze; ka, გიორგი მელიტონის ძე ბალანჩივაძე; January 22, 1904 (O. S. January 9) – April 30, 1983) was ...
at the
New York City Ballet New York City Ballet (NYCB) is a ballet companyA ballet company is a type of dance troupe which performs classical ballet, neoclassical ballet, and/or contemporary ballet in the European tradition, plus managerial and support staff. Most major ...
. His method draws heavily on his own training as a dancer in Russia. The technique is known for extreme speed throughout routines, emphasis on lines, and deep pliés. Perhaps one of the most well known differences of this style is the unorthodox positioning of the body. Dancers of this style often have flexed hands and even feet, and are placed in off-balance positions. Important ballet studios teaching this method are the
Miami City Ballet Miami City Ballet is an American ballet companyA ballet company is a type of dance troupe which performs classical ballet, neoclassical ballet, and/or contemporary ballet in the European tradition, plus managerial and support staff. Most majo ...

Miami City Ballet
, Ballet Chicago Studio company, and the
School of American Ballet The School of American Ballet (SAB) is an American classical ballet Classical ballet is any of the traditional, formal styles of ballet Ballet () is a type of performance dance that originated during the Italian Renaissance in the fiftee ...
in New York.


Costumes

Ballet costumes play an important role in the ballet community. They are often the only survival of a production, representing a living imaginary picture of the scene.


Renaissance and Baroque

The roots of ballet go back to the Renaissance in France and Italy when court wear was the beginning of ballet costumes. Ballet costumes have been around since the early fifteenth century. Cotton and silk were mixed with flax, woven into semitransparent gauze to create exquisite ballet costumes.


Seventeenth century

During the seventeenth century, different types of fabrics and designs were used to make costumes more spectacular and eye catching. Court dress still remained for women during this century. Silks, satins and fabrics embroidered with real gold and precious stones increased the level of spectacular decoration associated with ballet costumes. Women's costumes also consisted of heavy garments and knee-long skirts which made it difficult for them to create much movement and gesture.


Eighteenth century

During the eighteenth century, stage costumes were still very similar to court wear but progressed over time, mostly due to the French dancer and ballet-master
Jean-Georges Noverre Jean-Georges Noverre (29 April 1727 19 October 1810) was a French dancer and balletmaster Image:Edgar Degas - The Ballet Class - Google Art Project.jpg, 250px, Edgar Degas' The Ballet Class (Degas, Musée d'Orsay), painting of the ballet master J ...

Jean-Georges Noverre
(1727–1810) whose proposals to modernize ballet are contained in his revolutionary ''Lettres sur la danse et les ballets'' (1760). Noverre's book altered the emphasis in a production away from the costumes towards the physical movements and emotions of the dancers. European ballet was centered in the
Paris Opera The Paris Opera (, ) is the primary opera and ballet company of France. It was founded in 1669 by Louis XIV as the , and shortly thereafter was placed under the leadership of Jean-Baptiste Lully and officially renamed the , but continued to be k ...

Paris Opera
. During this era, skirts were raised a few inches off the ground. Flowers, flounces, ribbons, and lace emphasized this opulent feminine style, as soft pastel tones in citron, peach, pink and pistachio dominated the color range.


Nineteenth century

During the early nineteenth century, close-fitting body costumes, floral crowns, corsages and jewels were used. Ideals of Romanticism were reflected through female movements. Costumes became much tighter as corsets started to come into use, to show off the curves on a ballerina. Jewels and bedazzled costumes became much more popular.


Twentieth century

During the twentieth century, ballet costumes transitioned back to the influence of Russian ballet. Ballerina skirts became knee-length tutus, later on in order to show off their precise pointe work. Colors used on stage costumes also became much more vibrant. Designers used colors such as red, orange, yellow, etc. to create visual expression when ballet dancers perform on stage.


Ballet as a career

Professional dancers are generally not well paid. As of 2017, American dancers (including ballet and other dance forms) were paid an average of US$14.25 per hour. The job outlook is not strong, and the competition to get a job is intense, with the number of applicants vastly exceeding the number of job openings. Some dancers earn money by participating in dancing competitions and are awarded with money or high paying contracts.
Choreographer Choreography is the art Art is a diverse range of (products of) human activities Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of primates, characterized by bipedality, opposable thumbs, hairlessness, and in ...

Choreographer
s were paid nearly twice the amount of dancers in 2017.


Health effects

Teenage girl ballet dancers are prone to
stress fracture A stress fracture is a fatigue-induced bone fracture caused by repeated stress over time. Instead of resulting from a single severe impact, stress fractures are the result of accumulated injury from repeated submaximal loading, such as running or ...
s in the
first rib The rib cage is the arrangement of ribs attached to the vertebral column and sternum in the thorax The thorax or chest is a part of the anatomy of humans, mammals, other tetrapod animals located between the neck and the abdomen. In insects, ...

first rib
.
Eating disorder An eating disorder is a mental disorder defined by abnormal eating behaviors that negatively affect a person's health, physical or mental health, mental health. Only one eating disorder can be diagnosed at a given time. Types of eating disorders ...
s are a common stereotype associated with ballet. In addition, some researchers have noted that intensive training in ballet results in lower
bone mineral density A scanner used to measure bone density using dual energy X-ray absorptiometry Bone density, or bone mineral density (BMD), is the amount of bone mineral in bone tissue A bone is a Stiffness, rigid tissue (anatomy), tissue that constitutes pa ...
in the arms.


Criticism

Most ballet choreography is written so that it can only be performed by a relatively young dancer. The structure of ballet – in which a (usually) male choreographer or director uses (mostly) women's bodies to express his artistic vision, while ignoring, objectifying, or silencing the women involved – has been criticized as harming women.


See also

*
Ballet glossary Because ballet Ballet () is a type of performance dance that originated during the Italian Renaissance in the fifteenth century and later developed into a concert dance form in France and Russia. It has since become a widespread and highly te ...
*
List of ballets by title__NOTOC__ The following is a list of ballets with entries in English Wikipedia. The entries are sorted alphabetically by ballet title, with the name of the composer (or the composer whose music the ballet is set to) and the year of the first perform ...
* Dance and health *
Western stereotype of the male ballet dancer During the 15th century, ballet was a way to show a person's position in society. Since the early 19th century, the western world has adopted a view of male ballet dancers, or ''danseurs'' as weak, Effeminacy, effeminate or Homosexuality, homosexua ...


References


Further reading

* * * * Darius, Adam (2007). ''Arabesques Through Time''. Helsinki: Harlequinade Books. * * * *


External links

* {{Authority control