History of Ballet 2
Floating on the wings of imagination, a journey awaits you in ballet steps among the most beautiful and famous shows. You will meet charming characters, stories that will hold your breath and composers who made a simple court dance into a real phenomenon all over the world.
We hope to make you curious not only to go and see the performances put on, but maybe even to start yourself, under the guidance of a teacher, to learn at least the basic steps, if not to become professional dancers, applauded on the open stage.
Whether you’ve seen pieces of ballet on TV, or gone to performances or even taken a few classes, you’ve probably wondered how and where it came about and who were the most important people who shaped its history.
What is ballet?
Ballet is a graceful form of dance that can tell a story, express the feelings of a character or reflect a piece of music. Even if the dancers perform extremely difficult movements, the best of them do it with a lot of naturalness and lightness, so that they leave us with the feeling that they are floating. Certain ballet steps are so fast that the audience sometimes has difficulty following their movements.
In addition to flexibility, a good ballerina needs discipline and a lot of training. He must be able to do it in such a way that raising one leg above the head seems a completely natural gesture. They must also have rhythm and understand music. Sometimes it takes years of training to perfectly execute certain movements.
If you want to become a professional dancer, the best age to start ballet is between 8 and 10 years old and you have to train six times a week. If you want to do ballet just to improve your flexibility or because you just love it, you can start with just two lessons a week.
How did ballet come about?
The history of ballet begins 500 years ago, in Italy, during the Renaissance. In those days, the Italian nobles entertained their important guests with poetry, music, mime or dance contests. When Catherine de’ Medici married Henry II and became Queen of France, ballet entered the French court.
Over time, the ballet became so popular that even the famous King Louis XIV – nicknamed the Sun King – danced in several performances. He founded the Royal Academy of Ballet. Gradually, professional ballet dancers were hired at the French court.
At that time, women were not allowed to dance in ballet performances. Female roles were also performed by disguised men. Maria Camargo was among the first women to do ballet. At first, the dancers wore masks, brocade costumes and high heels. However, she considered that the clothes worn by women made it difficult to move, so she shortened her skirts and wore flat-soled shoes to be able to perform the jumps.
At the end of the 1700s, the world of dance went through a series of changes due in particular to the choreographer Jean-Georges Noverre. He was of the opinion that dance should be more than just movements pleasing to the eye, and should tell a story. He taught the dancers to use their mime and facial expressions.
The romantic era of ballet began in 1832 with the staging of the performance “La Sylphide”. Women began to play important roles and dance on the spikes in shoes called poentes. The number of steps increased, and the movements became more expressive. Even the topics covered have been changed. Thus, instead of stories about heroes and myths, stories about fairies and folk legends were used.
In the middle of the 19th century, ballet was very popular in Russia. A lot of French choreographers and dancers, including Marius Petipa, went there to work. He is considered the creator of classical ballet.
The modern era of ballet began in 1900, when the Russian Sergei Diaghilev moved to Paris. In 1911 he formed his own ballet company.
In the 20th century, ballet conquered the whole world, and nowadays almost every country has its own ballet school.
We hope that we have made you curious to learn more about the fascinating world of ballet. We leave you in the company of amazing stories and wish you a pleasant reading!