Expressive Ballet: Revolutionary Dance Style

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Diaghilev created a revolution that changed dance history as we know it, with a new style of dance: expressive ballet. Whereas traditional ballet focuses mostly on technique and is designed to showcase each dancer’s idiosyncratic movement quality, Diaghilev’s dancers were encouraged to express more in their dancing. Choreographers were much more creative in amalgamating this expressiveness into their choreography, producing works that the audience fell in love with. Around this time, such works as The Rite of Spring and L'Apres-midi d'un Faune were created by the father of expressionist dance, Vaslav Nijinsky. The former ballet is of course, famous for its easily recognised expressionist features, which lent to amazing productions performed around the globe, to thousands of adoring aficionados. This has the obvious impact on Australia that we can see today; that of ballet producing an emotional effect within the audience; at the end of every ballet, you are left with a cathartic feel. This is felt especially with Australian dancers, as we are perceived to have some of the most expressive, as stated by numerous dance schools around the world, and no doubt by famous choreographers too. Expressionism has been a great thing for Australian dance, and it is a miracle that Diaghilev brought it around to influence us, because it can draw audiences into the feel and emotion of dance, and to leave them with a cathartic feel. In conclusion, Diaghilev’s original Ballet Russes left a vast imprint in Australian Dance History, which has been preserved by the many wonderful choreographers and artistic directors this country has today. There has been a dramatic influx into Australian Ballet, and this is due to the effects of Diaghilev’s bittersweet era. There have been great effects on male dancers, costumes and sets, and last, but far from least, the expressiveness we see in Australian dance today.

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