Ballet a look at how it has changed and evolved

Ballet was first created in the 15th century in Italian Courts, during the Renaissance. It was popularized during the 16th century by King Louis XIV of France. He helped to create a standard for the different steps found in ballet. Ballet began infiltrating the Parisian Opera in 1681. Jean Georges Noverre, a ballet master in France during the mid-1700s, began to shift the focus of ballet from the background of an opera to a performance of it's own.

This is an illustration of King Louis XIV dancing

In the early 19th century, the Romantic Movement heavily influenced by the Romantic movement. Giselle and La Sylphide are two of the most famous of the ballets created during this time that are still performed today. These dancers made dancing en pointe and romantic tutus (tutus that are ankle length) popular. In the late 19th century, ballet got a newfound popularity in Russia. This is the period when the most famous ballets, The Nutcracker, The Sleeping Beauty, and Swan Lake were created; all three were choreographed by Marius Petipa and the music was composed by Pytor Ilych Tchaikovsky. This is also the time that the classical tutu, the tutu that people think of when they think of a ballerina, became popular.

The first illustration is done by Edgar Degas, a famous french impressionist during the romantic era of ballet; the second photograph shows a romantic tutu, and the third photograph shows a classical tutu; the fourth photograph shows pointe shoes.

The most influential person in the ballet world during the 20th century in America was George Balanchine. Balanchine was a Russian immigrant who started the New York City Ballet in 1948. He stressed the modern look of a ballerina with long, skinny legs and pretty, pointed feet. His choreography was revolutionary because he stressed what the actual movement was rather than trying to tell a story with his choreography. Gelsey Kirkland and Mikhail Baryshnikov are two of the most famous dancers that danced with him and his company.

The first image is of Gelsey Kirkland and Baryshnikov performing the Nutcracker; the second image shows George Balanchine teaching class.

Ballet is still performed today. Misty Copeland is very famous for being one of the first principal dancers with the American Ballet Theater and for pushing against what a "perfect ballet body" is. Juliet Doherty rose to prominence through social media. Miko Fogarty became popular after premiering in the documentary First Position about the ballet competition Youth American Grand Prix.

The first image is of Misty Copeland; the second image Juliet Doherty, the third image is of Miko Fogarty.
Created By
Grace Weaver


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