Ballet is a formalized and perhaps the most beautiful form of dance that exists today. Adorned with grace in gestures and agility in movement, Ballet dancing is a disciplined form of dancing and quite a pretty sight to watch. Theatre lovers have expressed their preference for this form of dancing by their consistent high demand for Ballet tickets.
From Ballizo to ‘Ballet'
“Ballet” is a French word that was officially incorporated into the English language in 1630. The origin of the word, however, is Italian Balletto, coming further from the Latin Ballo or Ballare which simply means ‘to dance'. Some believe that the real roots of the name trace back to the Greek word pronounced as ‘ballizo', meaning ‘to dance or to jump about'. Like its name, the form of dance itself originated from France and England. It was after a while that America and other nations of the world got acquainted with the graceful art of Ballet dancing.
The interpretation of the word Ballet takes various forms. Apart from being a type of dance only, Ballet projects an entire theatrical performance. There is a complete story performed on stage through dancing. Costumes and scenic effects are also commonly used in ballet performances; they provide the required elements for dancers to narrate the story to audiences. Ballet itself is a very expressive form of dancing, performed in a disciplined manner.
The earliest memoirs of Ballet dancing are found in the 15th and 16th century Italian Renaissance courts, followed by the French courts where it was further developed as a dancing and performing art. Seventeenth century saw Louis XIV create the Academie Royal de Musique (aka the Paris Opera) with the exclusive purpose of theatrical ballet. The significant part played by the French notations and descriptions used in Ballet terminologies describe the significance of this ballet company. Ballet became an independent form of art after that.
The Imperial Ballet and the Royal Danish Ballet were formed in 1740s which gave a new boost to the popularity and development of the art of Ballet. By the end of eighteenth century, ballet had progressed into becoming a full-fledge dramatic art at par with opera. The first half on nineteenth century saw the ‘ballerina' to become the most important of all dance performers. An institution rose in the form of ballet masters, coaches and dancers and the art of ballet dominated the performing arts' arenas.
Styles of Ballet
The primitive form of Ballet originating from France and Italy is more commonly known as the Classical Ballet. The styles falling in this category are named either according to the location of their inception or after the name of the creator of the specific training method applied. French Ballet, Russian Ballet and Italian Ballet are the most renowned for the former case, and Cecchetti Method is the prime example of the latter.
Conforming to classical ballet in many forms but with the addition of some fast-paced moves and beats is the Neoclassical Ballet. Focus on spacing and structure of dance is the most striking feature of this style of ballet dancing. George Balanchine is considered to be the creator of the first neoclassical ballet performance in his ‘Apollo' in 1928. Sometime in the late fifties, Glen Tetley also added to the neoclassical style through his experimental combinations of traditional and modern ballet techniques.
Ballet, as it is today
The most modern form of Ballet that is popular worldwide is called Contemporary Ballet. It is influenced by the classical ballet as well as many modern forms of dancing. It revolves around the same strict disciplines of classical ballet, the agility, control and grace, but it allows a far wider room for body lines and movements. This is a departure from previous styles of Ballet. Another feature of modern ballet techniques is that sometimes it is performed barefoot. Having incorporated turn-in of the legs, floor work and many other techniques from current dancing trends, the contemporary ballet has risen up to a distinct level of being graceful and entertaining at the same time.
Many professional dancers, coaches and experts practice the art of ballet today. Proper companies and choreographers prepare ballerinas and ballerinos for performances in theatres and other platforms. Ballet performances are quite popular these days. Those who possess a taste in ballet dancing buy Ballet tickets and attend wonderful performances by talented ballet artists around the world.