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Highlights Of History Of Classical Ballet

1. What were the origins of ballet, and at what point in time?

The origins of ballet are said to be the Renaissance courts of Italy around the year 1500. It was started as a form of entertainment for Noblemen and women. Later, it was introduced to France by Catherine de Medici, a noblewoman from Italy, when she married French King Henry II.

2. Who was Catherine de Medici, and what was her influence in the arts?

Catherine de Medici was a noblewoman from Italy who married the French King Henry II. She was a great lover of arts, and in the 16th century, she began to fund ballet in the court life of France. Her love for extravagant festivals played a great role in encouraging the growth of the dance moves in the early French court.

3. Which was the king of France who used to perform himself and decided that dancers needed formal training?

King Louis XIV. He loved ballet and was a passionate dancer who would perform many roles from time to time, including the Sun King in Ballet de la Nuit. His great love for dance moves resulted in the elevation of ballet from a pastime activity to a more professional endeavour that required formal training.

4. What was the name of the first school of ballet? Where? When? Who established it?

The first school of dance, Académie Royale de Danse, was located in Paris. The school was founded through the initiative of King Louis XIV of France in 1661.

5. Who was Jean George Noverre, and what was his perspective on ballet? When? What is Ballet d’action?

Jean George Noverre was a French dancer and ballet master who is credited with bringing major reforms to ballet as a form of art. He believed that ballet was in itself a form of art and that it should contain movements and expressions that revealed the relationships between characters. Consequently, in the mid-1700s, he introduced Ballet d’action, a dramatic form of ballet that brings together music, dance, and scenery to support the plot of a narrative.

6. Which two ballets are most prominent from the Romantic Period? When? Name two or three factors that define the Romantic Movement.

The Romantic Period began in the early nineteenth century, centring on romantic ideas of art. La Sylphide and Giselle are two of the most famous ballets during this period. The features which defined this period are:

• Women took centre stage, with men taking supporting roles

• The author and choreographer took separate identities

• Specially written music instead of pastiche was now used.

7. When did point work begin? What were they trying to achieve by dancing on point?

Point work began during the Romantic Period in the early Nineteenth Century. This dancing style involves supporting one’s weight and dancing on the tip of one’s toes to give the illusion of floating and weightlessness.

8. Who was Marius Petipa? From where? When? What did he do?

Marius Petipa is known as the father of classical ballet. He was born in France, where he progressed into a principal dancer, but later moved to Russia in 1847 after signing a one-year contract with the St. Petersburg Imperial Theatre. He, however, remained there for the rest of his life. During his stay, he managed to produce over 60 ballets, earning the position of choreographer in 1862 and later becoming the chief choreographer in 1869. This work formed the bedrock of modern-day classical ballet in Russia.

9. Who was Sergei Diaghilev? Where? When? What did he do?

Sergei Diaghilev was a Russian art critic and promoter. E is credited with revolutionizing ballet by integrating other forms of art, such as drama, painting, and music, with those of ballet. E founded the Ballets Russes, a ballet company, in 1909 while living in Paris. This dance school went against the norm by defying classicism and embracing innovation through virtual art and music.

10. Who was George Balanchine? Where? When? What did he do?

George Balanchine was born in Russia before moving to America. E was a choreographer and dancer and was also a co-founder and director of the New York City Ballet. He co-founded the company with Lincoln Kirstein in 1946. During his career, he composed more than 465 works, and almost every ballet company in the world has performed his work.

Works Cited

“A Brief History of Ballet – Illustrated by Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre.” Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre,

“Sergei Diaghilev.”, A&E Networks Television, 18 Jan. 2016,

“George Balanchine.”, A&E Networks Television, 8 July 2014,



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