The transformation of ballet to pointe
Many people take the modern ballet and the luxury of being able to watch beautiful dancers float across the stage for granted; not taking the time to think about all the reformations it has undergone in its history to take it from a male dominant basic dance form to the ever so elegant female dominant style now referred to as “pointe”. The elegance seen on stage today, however, was not easily earned. Some of the key aspects of this transformation were the changes in costume, technique, and gender dominance. Ballet originated in the early 1400’s and were described by an Italian named Domenico di Piacenza(history of ballet). Men were fully dressed in wigs, blouses, jackets and bloomers. While women wore ornate gowns of many layers, the weight of which was encumbering to stand in, let alone perform in (hit the stage). The reason for the ornate costumes had to do in part with the venues the dancers would be performing in. The performances put on usually accompanied elaborate banquets where each course of the meal was prefaced by a dance called an “entrée” (history of ballet). Costume styles first started to change around the early 1700’s when the French dancer Marie Camargo shortened her skirts to above her ankles (dancing online). This single act of rebellion started the trend that changed traditional ballet as they knew it. The next phase of changes made to the costuming of historical ballerinas was of course, their shoes. The first pair of “ballet shoes” were heeled leather shoes with a big gold buckle. The first person to wear these was King Louis XIV (Reflections). His desire to show off the golden sun buckle on the inside of his shoe led to the development of the common first five positions seen in ballet today (ballet terms). In the 1700’s the soft ballet shoes started to evolve. These were made of leather soles and usually pink silk and fit like a child’s glove. The first pointe shoes were not structured like the ones...
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