Ballet is a standard art form today, known and loved by audiences across the world. But how did this beautiful art get its start? When and how did the concept of ballet form? Read this article for a brief history of the origins of ballet.
Ballet is an elite form of dancing that requires much foot muscle movement, and suspension on the toes. There is no singing done in a typical ballet; dance is performed purely to an orchestral accompaniment. Story and plot are conveyed through a dancer’s actions and facial expressions, along with orchestral coloring.
Early ballets in France were known as “romantic ballets.”
Ballet first appeared in Rome during the Roman Pantomime. Roman Pantomime is a Greek tragedy mainly of speaking and dancing, with emphasis on facial and bodily movements to transmit a plot. Ballet, along with other forms of art, disappeared for a time during the Middle Ages. It returned in the “courtly entertainments,” or lavish plays and dances put on for kings and courts in the early years of the Renaissance. Thinkers of the Renaissance hearkened back to Greek ideals in dancing and singing. Ballet first appeared in Italy, at the urging of the Medici family. A sponsored performance, “Le Ballet Comique de la Reine,” made ballet a common appearance in courts across Europe.
Famous contributors to the ballet world include Stravinsky, with his “Rite of Spring,” Profokiev, with “Romeo and Juliet,” and earlier composers of the courtly entertainment and opera who integrated ballet into scenes and between acts. Ballet today is very different from ballet of the past. It is not uncommon to hear ballet to techno music, see dancers in suits and strange dance attire, and watch a ballet that consists of someone speaking, while a dancer dances to their words.
A ballet dance video.Ballet dancers dancing.From the ballet series, "Anaheim Ballet