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Ballet is the name given to a specfic dance form and technique. Dance works choreographed using this techique are called Ballets and may include; dance, mime, acting and music (orchestral and sung). Ballets can be performed alone or as part of an opera. Ballet is best known for its virtuoso techniques such as pointe work, grand pas de deux and high leg extensions.
Domenico da Piacenza is credited with the first use ot the term ballo (in De Arte Saltandi ed Choreas Ducendi) instead of danza (dance) for his baletti or balli which later came to be known as Ballets. The first Ballet per se is considered to be Balthasar de Beaujoyeulx's Ballet Comique de la Royne (1581) and was a ballet comique (ballet drama). 1851 also saw the publication of Fabritio Caroso's Il Ballarino, a technical manual on ballet dancing that helped to establish Italy as a major centre of ballet development.
History of ballet
- 16th Century: Baletti, ballet comique
- 17th Century: Court ballet, Ballet d’Action, opera ballet
- 18th Century:
- 19th Century: pre romantic ballet, Romantic ballet, Russian ballet / Classical ballet
- 20th Century: Modern ballet, Neoclassical ballet, Post-structuralist ballet
see also: History of ballet | Ballet timeline
Since its beginnings in the Italian court dances of the late 14th century ballet technique has been developed throughout Europe, Russia and the United States. Consequently there are several methods of ballet technique which differ slightly in the presentation and execution of the standard ballet vocabulary. These methods inculde the:
- American Ballet
- Danish Ballet
- French Ballet
- Italian Ballet
- Russian Ballet
- English Ballet
main article: ballet technique
Dancing en pointe is the action of rising to 'tips of the toes' whilst performing steps from ballet technique. Also known as pointe work, it is mostly performed using hard toed pointe shoes but can be performed using soft toed ballet shoes. A development of the Romantic ballet period pointe work was developed by Marie Taglioni who danced the full length of the La Sylphide en pointe in 1832. Pointe work has now become a fundamental ballet technique for female ballet dancers (ballerinas). While pointe work is usually practiced and performed by female dancers some roles in ballets call for the male dancers to perform en pointe.
main article: en pointe
Pas de deux
Ballet pas de deux (step / dance for two) is a duet in which ballet steps are performed together. Grand pas de deux refers to a duet in which a male and female dancer perform together and features supported leaps, lifts, and pirrouttes. pas de trois are trios and pas de quatre quartets.
Pas de dueux, trois and quatre can be indiviual works or part of a larger ballet (but are often performed out of context) and are usually danced by principal, solo and guest artist of a ballet company.
main article: pas de deux
Seminal (important) ballets include:
A Ballet company is group of dancers who perform ballets. Famous ballet companies include;
- Ballets Russes
- The Royal Ballet
- New York City Ballet
- American Ballet Theatre
- Paris Opera Ballet
- Mariinsky Ballet (also know as the Kirov Ballet)
- Bolshoi Ballet
main article: Ballet company
Seminal artists involved with ballets include:
Jean Dauberval, Sergei Diaghilev, Robert Joffrey, Louis XIV, Jean-Baptiste Lully, Catherine De Medici, Marie Rambert, Ninette de Valois
Frederick Ashton, George Balanchine, Pierre Beauchamp, Mikhail Fokine, Lev Ivanovich Ivanov, Serge Lifar, Kenneth MacMillan, Leonide Massine, Vaslav Nijinsky, Bronislava Nijinska, Jean-Georges Noverre, Jules Perrot, Marius Peitpa Jerome Robbins, Filippo Taglioni, Anthony Tudor
Fanny Cerito, Anton Dolin, Fanny Elssler, Suzanne Farrell, Lucile Grahn, Carlotta Grisi, Pierina Legnani, Louis XIV, Alicia Markova, Vaslav Nijinsky Rudolf Nureyev, Anna Pavlova, Marie Taglioni, Karen Kain
Thoinot Arbeau, Carlo Blasis, August Bournonville, Enrico Cecchetti, Raoul-Auger Feuillet, Nicolai Legat, Domenico da Piacenza, Pierre Rameau
Jacques Offenbach, Igor Stravinsky
designers and scenographers
Léon Bakst, Christian Bérard, Georges Braque, Marc Chagall, John Craxton, Salvador Dali, André Derain, Barbara Karinska, Barry Kay, Pablo Picasso, Pavel Tchelitchev, Maurice Utrillo
see also: Dance personalia