BALLET FROM THE BEGINNING
The art of ballet was established and preserved over many years, and took many people and Eras to create the technique and art we know today.
III. 17th Century
IV. 18th Century
V. 19th Century
* Dancers and Ballets
VI. 20th Century
Ballet was not created with rules and points, the art of ballet was created over 500 years ago and is still being changed and improved upon today. There have been over 100 ballets choreographed in the world. Early in the art of ballet, the ballets were stories of Greek myths, later the stories involved more fantasy creatures and had stories from faraway lands, and now there are so many different types of stories. The ballet technique was created by people and passed on by common knowledge and by books that were written to guide a dancer through training and performances. Although the world of ballet is small, it has produced many well-known stars that will never be forgotten. There are also many choreographers, musicians, and artists that have contributed to make the art of ballet what it is today. The art of ballet was established and preserved over many years, and it took many people and eras to create the technique and art we know today. Ballet, coming from the Italian word ballo, meaning dance, was not developed over a few years or a few decades (Castle 48). Ballet originated in Italy in the 15th century during the Renaissance. The wealthy rulers of Florence and other major Italian city-states promoted the arts and had competitions in giving fancy entertainments that included dancing. The dancers were nobles of the court who danced for their rulers for entertainment (World). In 1463, Domenico da Piacenza wrote a treatise on dancing and the development of grace, rhythm, and memory. Catherine de Medici married the future King Henry II of France and introduced Italian dancing to the French court (Minden 292). Many people moved from Italy to France to be with Catherine and to be her servant. Balthasar de Beaujoyeulx was one of the many to move in 1555. He was her servant and dancing master. Beaujoyeulx’s first ballet, running for over five hours, was Ballet Comique de la Reine. It was performed in Paris in 1581 at a royal wedding. Beaujoyeulx made the costumes and scenery extraordinary to impress the audience because dance technique at the time was very limited. Dancing masters taught European courtiers how to dance, but they also wrote manuals to preserve steps that could be performed (World). Thoinot Arbeau published a manual on steps, rhythms, and notation in 1588 (Minden 292). Although the technique was improving, the ladies continued to wear long, heavy dresses which made it difficult to see the new steps. However, the male dancers’ clothes allowed them to move freely (World). Court entertainment soon became very popular throughout England and all around Europe. In the 17th century, ballet required more skill and practice, which was the beginning of professional dancers. Ballet Comique de la Reine helped make France the center of ballet, and so did King Louis XIV. He ruled France from the mid 1600’s to 1715, and during his reign he promoted ballet and enjoyed dancing himself (World). The King participated in the Ballet de la Nuit as the role of Apollo in 1653, and became known as the Sun King himself (Minden 292). The Royal Academy of Dancing was founded by Louis in 1661, as well as the Royal Academy of Music, later known as the Paris Opera. The profession of ballet began when the Paris Opera established a dancing school with serious training (World). At the theater of the Palais Royale the successful ballet, Molière’s, Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme, was performed with dances by Pierre Beauchamp (Minden 292). Beauchamp is known for defining and naming the five basic positions of the feet in ballet. Jean-Baptiste Lully, the composer of the music in the ballet Le Bourgeois...
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