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The Beauty of Ballet
The History of Ballet
Ballet originated in the Italian Renaissance period during the 15th century. Dancers provided elaborate entertainment by dancing for guests at aristocratic weddings, which were lavish celebrations.
Women danced in formal gowns as there were no such things as ballet slippers and tutus back then. The audience joined in the dance towards the end of the act.
Ballet began as a type of performance dance in Italy and further developed as a concert dance when its popularity spread into France and Russia.
Where does the word "Ballet" come from?
The word "ballet" comes from the Greek word "ballizo", which means to dance and jump about.
It was later adapted into the Latin word "ballo" meaning to dance, and had an Italian name of "balletto" - a diminutive of "ballo".
In 1630 the word "ballet" was borrowed from the French after its Italian origin and brought into the English language.
A Timeline of Ballet
- 14th Century - Medieval Dance
- 16th Century - Renaissance Dance, Intermedio (Italian court spectaculars with dance balettis), Ballet Comique de la Reine (sometimes called the "first ballet")
- 17th Century - English Country Dance / Contredance
- 18th Century - Baroque Dance, Opera Ballet, Ballet d'Action
- 19th Century - Pre Romantic Ballet, Romantic Ballet, Classical Ballet (Russian Ballet)
- 20th Century - Modern Ballet, Neoclassical Ballet, Post Structuralist Ballet,
Have you ever attended a ballet class?
Glossary of Ballet Steps
The position of the body supported on one leg, while the other leg is extended behind the body with the knee straight.
A position in which the dancer stands on one leg, while the other leg is lifted and turned out with the knee bent at a 90-degree angle.
Meaning "to chase". A slide forwards, backwards, or sideways with both legs bent, and then springing into the air with the legs meeting and straightened.
A jump from one foot to the other similar to a leap. One leg appears to be "thrown" in the direction of the movement.
Pas de valse
A "waltz step" - a travelling step done either straight or while turning.
A controlled turn on one leg, starting with one or both legs in a plié position and rising onto demi-pointe or pointe. The pirouette may return to the starting position or finish in arabesque or attitude positions.
Meaning "bent". A continuous and smooth bending of the knees. This can also be a grande-plié which is a bend into the deepest position.
A jump in which one lands on the leg from which is being pushed off after that leg travels around the other leg lifted to 90 degrees.
Famous Ballet Movies
Name of Movie
The Turning Point
Save the Last Dance
Step Up 2: The Streets
Which is your favourite ballet movie?
Hub about Dancing from Sue Adams
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