history of ballet

Topics: Ballet, New York City Ballet, Russian ballet Pages: 5 (1499 words) Published: May 8, 2014


The history of ballet could be traced back before the 16th century when it was first presented in France at the court of Catherine de’ Medici in 1581 (Ballet History, 2012). It was a presentation of movement, music, décor, and special effects initiated and organized by the violinist Balthasar de Beaujoyeux (Ballet History, 2012). The said presentation was entitled Le Ballet comique de la Reine, the highly influenced the English court masque that also showcased the 16th entertainment of dance interludes. In 1588, the first treatise on ballet dancing took place called the Orchésographie of Thoinot Arbeau (1588) (Ballet History, 2012). Ballet continued to evolve in France in the in the 17th century; what used to be a court entertainment turned out later to be divertissements then finally a full blow grand ballet. Ballet became like a subject of obsession among royal families; the emergence of royal interests toward ballet was manifested when groups, like the Royal Ballet Academy (1661), and the Royal Music Academy (1669), were formed for the said purpose (Ballet History, 2012). They both became the Paris Opera and the first National Ballet School in 1672 because there were growing number of male and female dancers wanting to learn the craft and were also given opportunities to perform on stage and in various ballet presentations. Ballet was further developed to influence the establishment of Italian school of ballet; the ballet movements continued to evolve which formed five classic positions of the feet, which form the base for the dancer’s stance and movement as established by Pierre Beauchamps (Ballet History, 2012). The costumes for ballet dancers also evolved from decorated long skirts, and high heels to shortened skirt to the middle of the calf with tights for women and heelless shoes (Ballet History, 2012). In the 18th century, a revolutionary change in ballet was introduced by Jean Georges Noverre herself; she established the principles of ballet d'action, which he described in his Lettres sur la danse et les ballets (1760); his idea of ballet was a presentation aided by music, décor, and dance, then as the performer performs his dance piece, he would interpret his role with matching body and facial expressions. It was also Noverre who introduced the concept of simplifying costumes and this time, minus the mask (Ballet History, 2012). After Noverre’s period, ballet spread further to influence various artists in other areas and places in Europe. Newly developed and brilliant choreography enhanced further the appreciate of the beauty of ballet which focus of performance was emphasized on the beauty and virtuosity of the prima ballerina; to name a few of the known ballerinas of the time Taglioni, Fanny Elssler, Carlotta Grisi, and Fanny Cerrito (Ballet History, 2012). Ballet performances conquered various themes of romantic movements, of conflicts of reality and illusion, flesh and spirit; what used to be performances that reflected mythological subjects became apparently of love stories and fairy tales (Ballet History, 2012). When the Modern Ballet Renaissance came about, Russian Ballet became a powerful influence in ballet stage productions; there had been various performances held in theaters; the need to rigorously train ballet performers opened door to intensify romantic drama on stage; this also newly revived the art, which created more concepts of classic ballets. The likes of Don Quixote, La Bayadère, The Sleeping Beauty, Raymonda, Harlequinade, and restagings of Giselle, Coppélia, La Sylphide, and, with Lev Ivanov, Swan Lake, were among the great performances of the time, which until to date became subject of replications and present-day performances. In the 1900s, ballet was not anymore focused on one part or few part of the world; collaborative ballet lessons and performances became the trend like the Russian company teamed up with Paris for...

Cited: JTracing Ballet 's Cultural History Over 400 Years. (2011). NPR Books. Retrieved on 8 December 2012 from http://www.npr.org/2011/12/16/143775428/tracing-ballets-cultural-history-over-400-years
Ballet History. (2012). Questia. Retrieved on 9 December 2012 from http://www.questia.com/library/music-and-performing-arts/ballet-history
Jenning, Luke. (2012). Apollo 's Angels: A History of Ballet by Jennifer Homans – review. Guardian News and Media, Limited. http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2010/dec/05/apollos-angels-review
Ballet History. (2012). Contemporary Dance.org. Retrieved on 9 December 2012 from http://www.contemporary-dance.org/ballet-history.html
Jacobs, Laura. (2012). The Most Beautiful Language. Wall Street Journal.Retrieved on 9 December 2012 from http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304741404575564630868033648.html
Dunning, Jennifer. (1983). Dance Ballet Today. New York Times. Retrieved on 10 December 2012 from http://www.nytimes.com/1983/08/15/arts/dance-ballet-today.html
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