All about Ballet: The Establishment of a Dance Form


What Is the Definition of Ballet?


Ballet can be defined as one of the most classical dance styles to existing. Having a form-based solely on French terminology of the body, the ballet was created and practiced as a performing art. Since pioneered by Catherine de Medici of Italy marriage to King Henry ll of France back in the 1500s, the ballet style has undergone many adaptions and carvings but is still referred to as the “foundation” of dance. What is normally considered the definition of ballet is almost always paired with a distinct and specific visual idea and musical existence. In today’s world, this ideology of ballet has been challenged and stripped of its affirmative being by confronting the ever-existing lack that has been continued throughout the years.

What Is Ballet Dance?

Perhaps immediate thought is to bring to conception the pencil-like ballerina female dancer wearing a tutu and performing classically-founded movement to Tchaikovsky or Stravinsky. For so long this has been the ideal vision of the ballet dance definition. But through the years and in current time, the ballet dance description if finally adjusting to more inclusive classics: e.g. dancers of color having the option to purchase pointe shoes in their own skin tone (vs. having to buy pink and dye), ballet companies offer women of color the principle roles after years of seeing only white as the highlight of the storyline. Inclusivity is making its mark within the ballet world. This specific topic touches on the characteristics of ballet. In the beginning, form and perfection were the aims of ballet dancers; the image of thin bodies turning on one leg followed the highest lift of a leg. The time has come to change this representation.

From the romantic period and Mari Taglioni’s premiere en pointe through fifty years of classic ballet works, e.g. The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, Don Quixote, there was little to no chance of what idea of the ballet world and its existence. Not until the 1980s, when William Forsythe created his own take on the ballet movement and formed a way to express through the same classical understandings, but with a much more contemporary feel.

As years continued, the contemporary-ballet essence did as well. The information about ballet dance began to shape its reason when the two genres of movement expression (ballet and contemporary) slowly became merged into one. Thus, creating another outlet for ballet dancing and its way of articulate movement inspiration.

Now, one can look into the ballet information facts and see its foundation dating back from the beginning of Renaissance time and formative alignment and training. Though this happening and practice are very much still present and relevant, the ballet information is evolving with the opportunity to move rather than execute.

What Does Ballet Mean?

What does ballet mean

If you want to get super technical in the grammatical sense of wordage and translation, the French word of ballet comes from the Italian root word Balletto which essentially means “to dance”. Taking the more known path of origin of French terminology to create an entire dance style, ballet has an array of meanings. Most initially, having meaning towards classic technique and proper presence, all performing on stage to tell a story through movement expression. Again, as time unfolded so did the performing art of ballet.

We can now look at American ballet companies and see a diversity of color and origin, rather than the wanted and predicted “vision” of a female ballet dancer. Take the American Ballet Theatre, established in New York City back in 1939, 75 years later they promoted Misty Copeland to principal dancer, making Copeland the first Black female woman to be the principal dancer in the history of ABT. This is not to say that the entire world of ballet is making the effort to change the known and established. In Europe, though there are some companies that hold more diversity than others, there is still a lot of work to equality and respect to be done.

Also to remember, ballet includes the male body and beings as well. Male dancers also hold titles of soloists, corps, and principal roles. As gender roles are another topic to challenge and change in the ballet (and dance in general) world, we must recognize that respect needs to be kept and continued throughout and onto all and every kind of dancer and human being. As dancers, our bodies are our instruments, and the more respect and understanding that surrounds and supports can do more good not only for the individuals but for the entire environment of dance worldwide.

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