The Origins of Classical Ballet

By: Nadya Petronas


The art of ballet dance is actually very old. It takes a disciplined and athletic body to perform the beautiful movements that tell us a story. Performances usually take place in a theater. Many young girls fantasize about becoming stars in the ballet world. In actuality it takes a lot of hard work and many years if they make it at all.

Many people think that ballet originated in France, due the ballet steps that all have French names, such as the plie. However, ballet can be traced back to Italy during the Renaissance period of the 1400s. While this was really just a precursor to the classical ballet, the dances performed in Italy during this time led to the further development of ballet in France. The first ballet company arose in France and was called The Queen's Ballet Company.

As the years passed the beautiful dances began to be performed in gorgeous and complicated costumes, and intricate sets and props were introduced. Royalty fell in love with the ballet as it became more popular. The costumes became more elaborate and within a few hundred years dancing on toes began. Since there were no block toe shoes yet, the dancers could only hold a pose for a few seconds at a time.

In the 1800s the romantic style of ballet was ushered in, thanks in part to the ballet La Sylphide. La Sylphide made much use of the toe dancing technique and brought about many changes to ballet. Many people wonder where the traditional tutu came from, and that can be accredited to the ballet Giselle, where the ghostly spirits all wore the tutu.

All romantic ballets focused on women and this encouraged women to take on increasingly to become ballerinas. They grew up in Russia, Denmark and even the United States. While ballet prospered in other nations, it started declining in France. The decline could be because ballet was seen as being very other worldly with mythical steps.

As the 20th century advanced, ballet definitely became more representative of how humans actually move. This was due in part to the popularity of other dance forms. These changes continue today, as ballet often includes other dance styles when it's performed.

Some ballets today have even gone so far as to combine another style of dance into the ballet. In 1944 a ballet was introduced called Fancy Free that used jazz dance with the ballet steps to create a revolutionary ballet, and it was well received.

With time, ballet has evolved and changed in many forms. While connoisseurs of the traditional ballet have remained steadfast, the new avatars have also. A well executed ballet by professionals continues to enthral audiences despite the fact that most of us cannot even dream of performing most of the steps and moves of a ballet dancer.

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About the author: Nadya Petronas is the proprietor of Ballet @, the best place on the internet when you're searching for the latest knowledge, accurate up to date advice and commentary to do with Ballet. For questions or comments about this article why not visit: www.balletat.com/articles
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