Art of Dance
Dance is a beautiful form of art that uses the body as its canvas. Classical ballet is a form of theatrical entertainment that originated among the aristocracy of the sixteenth and seventeenth century royal court of France. In its original form it was performed by trained dancers as well as by members of the court themselves. Ballet performances were meant to tell silent stories that were often mythical and majestic. Ballerinas did not use words to tell these stories, but instead relied on mime like acting to convey character, plot, and action. From its earliest days, ballets incorporated a variety of extravagant costumes, scenery, and music. Although ballet dance performance often used courtly ballroom dances, and even folk dances, it was organized around five basic dance positions: first, second, third, fourth and fifth- feet and arms rotated turned out from the body with limbs extended. These positions maximize the visibility of the dancer's movements to the audience and served as the guide lines. The foundations of ballet were firmly established when King Louis XIV created a special dancing academy in order to train dancers for the court's ballets. That school continues to operate today as the school of the Paris Opera Ballet. During the nineteenth century French-trained ballet masters and dancers established vigorous dance companies and schools in Copenhagen and St. Petersburg. During this time Russia's Imperial ballet attracted several of the century's most talented ballet masters. The last of them, and the greatest, was Marius Petipa, who created the great classic works that define the Russian ballet tradition: Le Cosaire, Don Quixote, La Bayadere, Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, and Raymonda. All of these works are still in the repertory of ballet companies at the end of the twentieth-century, more than one hundred years later. Almost all of the great ballet companies of the late twentieth century are descended from the Imperial Russian ballet....
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