From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Usually, the term "ballet" is restricted to works that follow the conventions of classical European ballet of the 19th and earlier centuries, whose stylistic conventions are rejected by later works termed "modern" or "contemporary dance". However, the cross-pollination of ideas between the traditional ballet companies and dancers and contemporary works has blurred the distinction. Russian, Italian, and American dancers have left their mark by inventing their own style and interpretation of classical steps. The term classical ballet is often used when a strict separation with modern dance and "original" ballet is needed.
Young female ballet dancers get their start by wearing soft ballet "slippers" and they wear these until they are around 11 years old before beginning to wear pointe shoes. Many young dancers take a year or two to wear "broken-in" or "demi pointe" shoes, where the shank is purposefully soft or broken to discourage going 'en pointe', before dancing in bona fide pointe shoes. Men do not dance 'en pointe' as a rule, except as a parody, although a very few men do practise in pointe shoes because of the extra strength it develops.
Although dancers wearing tutus and pointe shoes with hair pulled tightly back in a bun are typically associated with ballet dancing, the footwear and costumes need not be a constant. Depending on the theme of the ballet, individuals may perform in anything from a form-fitting bodysuit to a long, ethereal gown with flowing hair. Since around 1970, when suggested by the theme, some ballets have been staged in which costumes have been disposed of for artistic reasons, the dancers instead performing naked. See also Dance costume.
Since its beginnings in France, ballet has been developed elsewhere throughout Europe, particularly in Russia, Italy, and Denmark. Currently, there are several methods of ballet instruction - for instance, the Russian Vaganova method, the method of The Royal Academy of Dancing, the Cecchetti method - which differ slightly in presentation and execution of the basic steps in ballet.
Areas to fill in:
- Glossary of ballet terms
- Ballet companies
- Famous ballets
- Famous dancers and choreographers
See Dance personalia.
- Famous Ballet Composers