What is Ballet
• an artistic dance form
performed to music
using precise and
highly formalized set
steps and gestures.
• Ballet Can:
– tell a story or
– express a thought or
– magical, exciting,
provoking or disturbing.
History of Ballet
 Italian Courts in the Renasissance,
15th & 16TH Century
 Noblemen and women were treated to
lavish events (weddings)
 Early ballet was participatory
 Attire was fashion from the time
 Formal Gowns that covered legs
and ankles
 In the 16th century, Catherine de
 an Italian noblewoman/interest in
 wife of King Henry II of France
 began to fund ballet in the French
 Her elaborate festivals = growth
of ballet de cour, a program that
included dance, decor, costume,
song, music and poetry
History of Ballet
 17th Century ballet developed as
performance-focused art under
King Louis XIV
 French
Ballet Terminology
 Pierre Beauchamp,
 codified the 5 positions of
feet and arms,
 Kings personal dance teacher
 director of the Dance
 Jean-baptiste Lully, violinist,
dancer, Choreographer, and
composer…….would cast the king
 1661, Louis XIV founded
Academie Royale de Danse, First
Ballet Company
History of Ballet
Popularity throughout Europe
Professional Ballet Troupes toured
18th Century advanced in technical
standards and it became a serious
art form on par with opera
Express character & assist in the
 Jean-Georges Noverre
 Wanted masks removed and
costumes to show off dancers
figures, bring life to the images
 Composition was reformed
Venice was center of dance in
Italian Ballet Techniques remained
dominant until Russia techniques
supplanted them in early 20th
19th Century
• Ballerina most popular
dancer in Europe
• Ballet hero's often played
by a woman
• Shift in social change, new
techniques such as pointe
work that gave the
ballerina prominence on
the stage
• Ballet Boxed toe shoe
invented to support pointe
• Genevieve Gosselin, Marie
Taglioni, and Fanny
Marie Taglioni: 1831
In Zephire et Flore
Early 19th Century
Romantic Movement
Classical Ballet during this movement
which influenced the art, music, and
ballet were known as Romantic
Supernatural world of spirits and
Shows women as fragile and passive
choreographers composed romantic
ballets that appeared light, airy and
Pointe work, became the norm for
the ballerina.
The romantic tutu, a calf-length, full
skirt made of tulle, was introduced.
• Early classical ballets
such as Giselle and La
Sylphide Created during
the romantic movement
Later 19th Century
Russia & Ballet
Recognized tradition of ballet
The female dancers'
classical tutu as it is recognized
today began
– It consisted of a much
shorter, stiff skirt supported
by layers of crinoline or tulle
– revealed legwork and
difficulty in her movements
Russian choreographers and
composers took it to new heights.
– Marius Petipa’s The
Nutcracker, The Sleeping
Beauty and Swan Lake, by
Petipa and Lev Ivanov,
represent classical ballet in its
grandest form.
• The main purpose was
to display classical
– (pointe work, high
extensions, precision
of movement and
• Complicated
sequences that show
off demanding steps,
leaps and turns were
choreographed into
the story.
20th Century Ballet
• Ballet Russes brought Ballet
back to Paris
• Russian choreographers
experimented with movement
and costume, moving beyond
the confines of classical ballet
form and story.
• the ballet The Rite of Spring,
a work so different
(dissonant music, its story of
human sacrifice and its
unfamiliar movements) it used
the audience to riot.
George Balanchine,
• a Russian who emigrated to
America, would change ballet
• neo-classical ballet, a form that
expands the classical form.
• greatest innovator of the
contemporary “plotless” ballet.
Today Ballet is:
 multi-faceted
 Classical forms
 traditional stories and
 contemporary choreographic
Types of Ballet
Story ballets
tell a story.
they contain narrative
action, characters, and
a beginning and end.
The Nutcracker and The
Sleeping Beauty are
famous story ballets
from the 19th century
Types of Ballet
• PBT company dancers
perform in Twyla Tharp’s
plotless ballet,
• In the Upper Room, 2010
Plotless ballets
 no storyline
 utilize the movement of the
body and theatrical
elements to interpret music,
create an image or to
express or provoke
 Choreographer George
Balanchine was a prolific
creator of plotless ballets.
Styles of Ballet
Classical ballet
• Oldest and most
formal/traditional style
originated in Renaissance Italy
and established its present form
during the 19th century
Focuses aesthetics and
– Pointe work, turn-out of the
legs, and high extensions
– Graceful and flowing
– Balance & symmetry
– Emphasis on story ballets
– Elaborate sets and costumes
Classical Ballets
The Sleeping Beauty,
The Nutcracker
Swan Lake.
Types of Ballet
Neoclassical Ballet
• introduced in the 20th
• Uses ballet terminology
but less rigid than
classical ballet
• increased speed, energy
and attack
• manipulation of the
classical form
• asymmetry; an off-balance
• non-narrative; often oneact ballets
• paired down aesthetic—
simple sets and costumes
Neoclassical Ballets
 Apollo
 Serenade
 Cinderella
 Carmen
 Romeo and Juliet
George Balanchine
Frederick Ashton
Types of Ballet
Contemporary Ballet
• influenced first by classical
ballet then by modern dance
you may see:
• floor work
• turn-IN of the legs
• greater range of movement
and body line
• pointe shoes, barefoot, socks,
or anything else the
choreographer wants
• Breaks the rules of classical
and neoclassical ballet
(no strict body line)
• Mikhail Baryshnikov ( worked
with modern dance
• Renowned contemporary
ballet choreographers include
Twyla Tharp, Paul Taylor and
Dwight Rhoden. In
contemporary ballet