The Art of Ballet

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The art of ballet started out as a fun dance for the wealthy and throughout history, has evolved into an elegant, world wide form of structured expression. From its beginnings in European cultures to its now widespread and diverse variations, ballet shows no signs of slowing down in popularity any time soon. Early ballet was influenced by the social dancing of its day, ballroom dancing. This art was born when the ancient Greek and Roman renaissance of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries took place, reviving an interest in all things human and the arts. The word “ballet” derives from the Italian word “balla,” meaning dance. In the Italian city-states of the fifteenth century, many “balli” meaning “dances” were held. The ballis involved specific steps that our generation would classify as ballroom steps. Ballet got much recognition when Louis XIV ascended to the throne of France. He came from an arts school where he studied the arts of fencing, music, and dance. His passion for dance was very serious. So serious in fact, that he established the Academic Royale de Danse in 1661, employing 13 ballet instructors. Another well –known founder of ballet is Jean-Georgeos Noverre, also known as the “Shakespeare of Dance”. He argued for a new, more expressive form of ballet. He created ballet d’action, meaning ballet with out instruments. The Romantic Period played a very important role in the development of women in ballet. This period began in the early eighteen-hundreds. The milestones accomplished within this time period included large female background dancers to accompany the prima ballerina, the lightening of female costumes, and women dancing en pointe. Dancing en pointe, turn out, and the basic five ballet positions exemplify ballet, and are now standard for all ballerinas. The next step on the road to modern ballet is the formation of classical ballet. While the first production of the ballet known as La Sylphide took place in Paris...
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