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This article is about the dance form. Ballet_sentence_0

For other uses, see Ballet (disambiguation). Ballet_sentence_1

Ballet (French: [balɛ) is a type of performance dance that originated during the Italian Renaissance in the fifteenth century and later developed into a concert dance form in France and Russia. Ballet_sentence_2

It has since become a widespread, highly technical form of dance with its own vocabulary based on French terminology. Ballet_sentence_3

It has been globally influential and has defined the foundational techniques used in many other dance genres and cultures. Ballet_sentence_4

Ballet has been taught in various schools around the world, which have historically incorporated their own cultures and as a result, the art has evolved in a number of distinct ways. Ballet_sentence_5

See glossary of ballet. Ballet_sentence_6

A ballet, a work, consists of the choreography and music for a ballet production. Ballet_sentence_7

Ballets are choreographed and performed by trained ballet dancers. Ballet_sentence_8

Traditional classical ballets are usually performed with classical music accompaniment and use elaborate costumes and staging, whereas modern ballets, such as the neoclassical works of American choreographer George Balanchine, are often performed in simple costumes (e.g., leotards and tights) and without the use of elaborate sets or scenery. Ballet_sentence_9

Etymology Ballet_section_0

Ballet is a French word which had its origin in Italian balletto, a diminutive of ballo (dance) which comes from Latin ballo, ballare, meaning "to dance", which in turn comes from the Greek "βαλλίζω" (ballizo), "to dance, to jump about". Ballet_sentence_10

The word came into English usage from the French around 1630. Ballet_sentence_11

History Ballet_section_1

Main articles: History of ballet and Timeline of ballet Ballet_sentence_12

Ballet originated in the Italian Renaissance courts of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Ballet_sentence_13

Under Catherine de' Medici's influence as Queen, it spread to France, where it developed even further. Ballet_sentence_14

The dancers in these early court ballets were mostly noble amateurs. Ballet_sentence_15

Ornamented costumes were meant to impress viewers, but they restricted performers' freedom of movement. Ballet_sentence_16

The ballets were performed in large chambers with viewers on three sides. Ballet_sentence_17

The implementation of the proscenium arch from 1618 on distanced performers from audience members, who could then better view and appreciate the technical feats of the professional dancers in the productions. Ballet_sentence_18

French court ballet reached its height under the reign of King Louis XIV. Ballet_sentence_19

Louis founded the Académie Royale de Danse (Royal Dance Academy) in 1661 to establish standards and certify dance instructors. Ballet_sentence_20

In 1672, Louis XIV made Jean-Baptiste Lully the director of the Académie Royale de Musique (Paris Opera) from which the first professional ballet company, the Paris Opera Ballet, arose. Ballet_sentence_21

Pierre Beauchamp served as Lully's ballet-master. Ballet_sentence_22

Together their partnership would drastically influence the development of ballet, as evidenced by the credit given to them for the creation of the five major positions of the feet. Ballet_sentence_23

By 1681, the first "ballerinas" took the stage following years of training at the Académie. Ballet_sentence_24

Ballet started to decline in France after 1830, but it continued to develop in Denmark, Italy, and Russia. Ballet_sentence_25

The arrival in Europe of the Ballets Russes led by Sergei Diaghilev on the eve of the First World War revived interest in the ballet and started the modern era. Ballet_sentence_26

In the twentieth century, ballet had a wide influence on other dance genres, Also in the twentieth century, ballet took a turn dividing it from classical ballet to the introduction of modern dance, leading to modernist movements in several countries. Ballet_sentence_27

Famous dancers of the twentieth century include Anna Pavlova, Galina Ulanova, Rudolf Nureyev, Maya Plisetskaya, Margot Fonteyn, Rosella Hightower, Maria Tall Chief, Erik Bruhn, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Suzanne Farrell, Gelsey Kirkland, Natalia Makarova, and Arthur Mitchell. Ballet_sentence_28

Styles Ballet_section_2

Stylistic variations and subgenres have evolved over time. Ballet_sentence_29

Early, classical variations are primarily associated with geographic origin. Ballet_sentence_30

Examples of this are Russian ballet, French ballet, and Italian ballet. Ballet_sentence_31

Later variations, such as contemporary ballet and neoclassical ballet, incorporate both classical ballet and non-traditional technique and movement. Ballet_sentence_32

Perhaps the most widely known and performed ballet style is late Romantic ballet (or Ballet blanc). Ballet_sentence_33

Classical ballet Ballet_section_3

Main article: Classical ballet Ballet_sentence_34

Classical ballet is based on traditional ballet technique and vocabulary. Ballet_sentence_35

Different styles have emerged in different countries, such as French ballet, Italian ballet, English ballet, and Russian ballet. Ballet_sentence_36

Several of the classical ballet styles are associated with specific training methods, typically named after their creators (see below). Ballet_sentence_37

The Royal Academy of Dance method is a ballet technique and training system that was founded by a diverse group of ballet dancers. Ballet_sentence_38

They merged their respective dance methods (Italian, French, Danish and Russian) to create a new style of ballet that is unique to the organization and is recognized internationally as the English style of ballet. Ballet_sentence_39

Some examples of classical ballet productions are: Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty and The Nutcracker. Ballet_sentence_40

Romantic ballet Ballet_section_4

Main article: Romantic ballet Ballet_sentence_41

Romantic ballet was an artistic movement of classical ballet and several productions remain in the classical repertoire today. Ballet_sentence_42

The Romantic era was marked by the emergence of pointe work, the dominance of female dancers, and longer, flowy tutus that attempt to exemplify softness and a delicate aura. Ballet_sentence_43

This movement occurred during the early to mid-nineteenth century (the Romantic era) and featured themes that emphasized intense emotion as a source of aesthetic experience. Ballet_sentence_44

The plots of many romantic ballets revolved around spirit women (sylphs, wilis, and ghosts) who enslaved the hearts and senses of mortal men. Ballet_sentence_45

The 1827 ballet La Sylphide is widely considered to be the first, and the 1870 ballet Coppélia is considered to be the last. Ballet_sentence_46

Famous ballet dancers of the Romantic era include Marie Taglioni, Fanny Elssler, and Jules Perrot. Ballet_sentence_47

Jules Perrot is also known for his choreography, especially that of Giselle, often considered to be the most widely celebrated romantic ballet. Ballet_sentence_48

Neoclassical ballet Ballet_section_5

Main article: Neoclassical ballet Ballet_sentence_49

Neoclassical ballet is usually abstract, with no clear plot, costumes or scenery. Ballet_sentence_50

Music choice can be diverse and will often include music that is also neoclassical (e.g. Stravinsky, Roussel). Ballet_sentence_51

Tim Scholl, author of From Petipa to Balanchine, considers George Balanchine's Apollo in 1928 to be the first neoclassical ballet. Ballet_sentence_52

Apollo represented a return to form in response to Sergei Diaghilev's abstract ballets. Ballet_sentence_53

Balanchine worked with modern dance choreographer Martha Graham, and brought modern dancers into his company such as Paul Taylor, who in 1959 performed in Balanchine's Episodes. Ballet_sentence_54

While Balanchine is widely considered the face of neoclassical ballet, there were others who made significant contributions. Ballet_sentence_55

Frederick Ashton’s Symphonic Variations (1946) is a seminal work for the choreographer. Ballet_sentence_56

Set to César Franck’s score of the same title, it is a pure-dance interpretation of the score. Ballet_sentence_57

Another form, Modern Ballet, also emerged as an offshoot of neoclassicism. Ballet_sentence_58

Among the innovators in this form were Glen Tetley, Robert Joffrey and Gerald Arpino. Ballet_sentence_59

While difficult to parse modern ballet from neoclassicism, the work of these choreographers favored a greater athleticism that departed from the delicacy of ballet. Ballet_sentence_60

The physicality was more daring, with mood, subject matter and music more intense. Ballet_sentence_61

An example of this would be Joffrey's Astarte (1967), which featured a rock score and sexual overtones in the choreography. Ballet_sentence_62

Contemporary ballet Ballet_section_6

Main article: Contemporary ballet Ballet_sentence_63

This ballet style is often performed barefoot. Ballet_sentence_64

Contemporary ballets may include mime and acting, and are usually set to music (typically orchestral but occasionally vocal). Ballet_sentence_65

It can be difficult to differentiate this form from neoclassical or modern ballet. Ballet_sentence_66

Contemporary ballet is also close to contemporary dance because many contemporary ballet concepts come from the ideas and innovations of twentieth-century modern dance, including floor work and turn-in of the legs. Ballet_sentence_67

The main distinction is that ballet technique is essential to perform a contemporary ballet. Ballet_sentence_68

George Balanchine is considered to have been a pioneer of contemporary ballet. Ballet_sentence_69

Another early contemporary ballet choreographer, Twyla Tharp, choreographed Push Comes To Shove for the American Ballet Theatre in 1976, and in 1986 created In The Upper Room for her own company. Ballet_sentence_70

Both of these pieces were considered innovative for their melding of distinctly modern movements with the use of pointe shoes and classically trained dancers. Ballet_sentence_71

Today there are many contemporary ballet companies and choreographers. Ballet_sentence_72

These include Alonzo King and his company LINES Ballet; Matthew Bourne and his company New Adventures; Complexions Contemporary Ballet; Nacho Duato and his Compañia Nacional de Danza; William Forsythe and The Forsythe Company; and Jiří Kylián of the Nederlands Dans Theater. Ballet_sentence_73

Traditionally "classical" companies, such as the Mariinsky (Kirov) Ballet and the Paris Opera Ballet, also regularly perform contemporary works. Ballet_sentence_74

The term ballet has evolved to include all forms associated with it. Ballet_sentence_75

Someone training as a ballet dancer will now be expected to perform neoclassical, modern and contemporary work. Ballet_sentence_76

A ballet dancer is expected to be able to be stately and regal for classical work, free and lyrical in neoclassical work, and unassuming, harsh or pedestrian for modern and contemporary work. Ballet_sentence_77

In addition, there are several modern varieties of dance that fuse classical ballet technique with contemporary dance, such as Hiplet, that require dancers to be practised in non-Western dance styles. Ballet_sentence_78

Technical methods of ballet instruction Ballet_section_7

There are six widely used, internationally recognized methods to teach or study ballet. Ballet_sentence_79

These methods are the French School, the Vaganova Method, the Cecchetti Method, the Bournonville method, the Royal Academy of Dance method (English style), and the Balanchine method (American style). Ballet_sentence_80

Many more schools of technique exist in various countries. Ballet_sentence_81

Although preschool-age children are a lucrative source of income for a ballet studio, ballet instruction is generally not an age-appropriate for young children. Ballet_sentence_82

The initial instruction requires standing still and concentrating on posture, rather than dancing. Ballet_sentence_83

Because of this, many ballet programs have historically not accepted students until approximately age 8. Ballet_sentence_84

Creative movement and non-demanding pre-ballet classes are recommended as alternatives for children. Ballet_sentence_85

French method Ballet_section_8

The French method is the basis of all ballet training. Ballet_sentence_86

When Louis XIV created the Académie Royale de Danse in 1661, he helped to create the codified technique still used today by those in the profession, regardless of what method of training they adhere to. Ballet_sentence_87

The French school was particularly revitalized under Rudolf Nureyev, in the 1980s. Ballet_sentence_88

His influence revitalized and renewed appreciation for this style, and has drastically shaped ballet as a whole. Ballet_sentence_89

In fact, the French school is now sometimes referred to as Nureyev school. Ballet_sentence_90

The French method is often characterized by technical precision, fluidity and gracefulness, and elegant, clean lines. Ballet_sentence_91

For this style, fast footwork is often utilized in order to give the impression that the performers are drifting lightly across the stage. Ballet_sentence_92

Two important trademarks of this technique are the specific way in which the port de bras and the épaulement are performed, more rounded than when dancing in a Russian style, but not as rounded as the Danish style. Ballet_sentence_93

Vaganova method Ballet_section_9

The Vaganova method is a style of ballet training that emerged from Russian ballet, created by Agrippina Vaganova. Ballet_sentence_94

After retiring from dance in 1916, Vaganova turned to teaching at the Leningrad Choreographic School in 1921. Ballet_sentence_95

Her training method is now internationally recognized and her book, The Fundamentals of Classical Dance (1934), is a classic reference. Ballet_sentence_96

This method is marked by the fusion of the classical French style, specifically elements from the Romantic era, with the athleticism of the Italian method, and the soulful passion of Russian ballet. Ballet_sentence_97

She developed an extremely precise method of instruction in her book Basic Principles of Russian Classical dance (1948). Ballet_sentence_98

This includes outlining when to teach technical components to students in their ballet careers, for how long to focus on it, and the right amount of focus at each stage of the student's career. Ballet_sentence_99

These textbooks continue to be extremely important to the instruction of ballet today. Ballet_sentence_100

The method emphasizes development of strength, flexibility, and endurance for the proper performance of ballet. Ballet_sentence_101

She espoused the belief that equal importance should be placed on the arms and legs while performing ballet, as this will bring harmony and greater expression to the body as a whole. Ballet_sentence_102

Cecchetti method Ballet_section_10

Developed by Enrico Cecchetti (1850-1928), this method is one known internationally for its intense reliance of the understanding of anatomy as it relates to classical ballet. Ballet_sentence_103

The goal of this method is to instill important characteristics for the performance of ballet into students so that they do not need to rely on imitations of teachers. Ballet_sentence_104

Important components for this method is the emphasis of balance, elevations, ballon, poise, and strength. Ballet_sentence_105

This method espouses the importance of recognizing that all parts of the body move together to create beautiful, graceful lines, and as such cautions against thinking of ballet in terms of the arms, legs, and neck and torso as separate parts. Ballet_sentence_106

This method is well known for eight port de bras that are utilized. Ballet_sentence_107

Bournonville method Ballet_section_11

The Bournonville method is a Danish method first devised by August Bournonville. Ballet_sentence_108

Bournonville was heavily influenced by the early French ballet method due to his training with his father, Antoine Bournonville and other important French ballet masters. Ballet_sentence_109

This method has many style differences that differentiate it from other ballet methods taught today. Ballet_sentence_110

A key component is the use of diagonal épaulements, with the upper body turning towards the working foot typically. Ballet_sentence_111

This method also incorporates very basic use of arms, pirouettes from a low développé position into seconde, and use of fifth position bras en bas for the beginning and end of movements. Ballet_sentence_112

The Bournonville method produces dancers who have beautiful ballon ("the illusion of imponderable lightness"). Ballet_sentence_113

The Royal Academy of Dance method (RAD) Ballet_section_12

The Royal Academy of Dance method, also referred to as the English style of ballet, was established in 1920 by Genee, Karsavina, Bedells, E Espinosa, and Richardson. Ballet_sentence_114

The goal of this method is to promote academic training in classical ballet throughout Great Britain. Ballet_sentence_115

This style also spread to the United States, and is widely utilized still today. Ballet_sentence_116

There are specific grade levels which a student must move through in order to complete training in this method. Ballet_sentence_117

The key principle behind this method of instruction is that basic ballet technique must be taught at a slow pace, with difficulty progression often much slower than the rest of the methods. Ballet_sentence_118

The idea behind this is if a student is to put in a large amount of effort into perfecting the basic steps, the technique learned in these steps allow a student to utilize harder ones at a much easier rate. Ballet_sentence_119

Balanchine method Ballet_section_13

Developed by George Balanchine at the New York City Ballet. Ballet_sentence_120

His method draws heavily on his own training as a dancer in Russia. Ballet_sentence_121

The technique is known for extreme speed throughout routines, emphasis on lines, and deep pliés. Ballet_sentence_122

Perhaps one of the most well known differences of this style is the unorthodox positioning of the body. Ballet_sentence_123

Dancers of this style often have flexed hands and even feet, and are placed in off-balance positions. Ballet_sentence_124

Important ballet studios teaching this method are the Miami City Ballet, Ballet Chicago Studio company, and the School of American Ballet in New York. Ballet_sentence_125

Costumes Ballet_section_14

Ballet costumes play an important role in the ballet community. Ballet_sentence_126

They are often the only survival of a production, representing a living imaginary picture of the scene. Ballet_sentence_127

Renaissance and Baroque Ballet_section_15

The roots of ballet go back to the Renaissance in France and Italy when court wear was the beginning of ballet costumes. Ballet_sentence_128

Ballet costumes have been around since the early fifteenth century. Ballet_sentence_129

Cotton and silk were mixed with flax, woven into semitransparent gauze to create exquisite ballet costumes. Ballet_sentence_130

Seventeenth century Ballet_section_16

During the seventeenth century, different types of fabrics and designs were used to make costumes more spectacular and eye catching. Ballet_sentence_131

Court dress still remained for women during this century. Ballet_sentence_132

Silks, satins and fabrics embroidered with real gold and precious stones increased the level of spectacular decoration associated with ballet costumes. Ballet_sentence_133

Women's costumes also consisted of heavy garments and knee-long skirts which made it difficult for them to create much movement and gesture. Ballet_sentence_134

Eighteenth century Ballet_section_17

During the eighteenth century, stage costumes were still very similar to court wear but progressed over time, mostly due to the French dancer and ballet-master Jean-Georges Noverre (1727–1810) whose proposals to modernize ballet are contained in his revolutionary Lettres sur la danse et les ballets (1760). Ballet_sentence_135

Noverre's book altered the emphasis in a production away from the costumes towards the physical movements and emotions of the dancers. Ballet_sentence_136

European ballet was centered in the Paris Opera. Ballet_sentence_137

During this era, skirts were raised a few inches off the ground. Ballet_sentence_138

Flowers, flounces, ribbons, and lace emphasized this opulent feminine style, as soft pastel tones in citron, peach, pink and pistachio dominated the color range. Ballet_sentence_139

Nineteenth century Ballet_section_18

During the early nineteenth century, close-fitting body costumes, floral crowns, corsages and jewels were used. Ballet_sentence_140

Ideals of Romanticism were reflected through female movements. Ballet_sentence_141

Costumes became much tighter as corsets started to come into use, to show off the curves on a ballerina. Ballet_sentence_142

Jewels and bedazzled costumes became much more popular. Ballet_sentence_143

Twentieth century Ballet_section_19

During the twentieth century, ballet costumes transitioned back to the influence of Russian ballet. Ballet_sentence_144

Ballerina skirts became knee-length tutus, later on in order to show off their precise pointe work. Ballet_sentence_145

Colors used on stage costumes also became much more vibrant. Ballet_sentence_146

Designers used colors such as red, orange, yellow, etc. to create visual expression when ballet dancers perform on stage. Ballet_sentence_147

Ballet as a career Ballet_section_20

Professional dancers are generally not well paid. Ballet_sentence_148

As of 2017, American dancers (including ballet and other dance forms) were paid an average of US$14.25 per hour. Ballet_sentence_149

The job outlook is not strong, and the competition to get a job is intense, with the number of applicants vastly exceeding the number of job openings. Ballet_sentence_150

Some dancers earn money by participating in dancing competitions and are awarded with money or high paying contracts. Ballet_sentence_151

Choreographers were paid nearly twice the amount of dancers in 2017. Ballet_sentence_152

Health effects Ballet_section_21

Teenage girl ballet dancers are prone to stress fractures in the first rib. Ballet_sentence_153

Eating disorders are a common stereotype associated with ballet. Ballet_sentence_154

In addition, some researchers have noted that intensive training in ballet results in lower bone mineral density in the arms. Ballet_sentence_155

Criticism Ballet_section_22

Most ballet choreography is written so that it can only be performed by a relatively young dancer. Ballet_sentence_156

The structure of ballet – in which a (usually) male choreographer or director uses (mostly) women's bodies to express his artistic vision, while ignoring, objectifying, or silencing the women involved – has been criticized as harming women. Ballet_sentence_157

See also Ballet_section_23


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