Ballet: The Dance that Steals Our Hearts


Ballet is one of the most beautiful displays of art in existence.  It is an expression done with the body, a very limber and graceful one, I might add.

Ballet dancing has been around a long, long time, originating in the 15th Century in Italy, and spreading on over to France, Russia and then all around the globe.  The word “ballet” is French but it is taken from the Italian word, “balletto”.  So, ultimately, the word is French in origin.

Classical ballet as we know it actually got its start royally.  As a young boy, Louis XIV, also known as Louis the Great, King of France from 1643 until his death seventy-five years later, was a ballet dancer.  His love for it led way to classical French ballet.

There’s a lot more to ballet than meets the eyes although what does meet the eyes is exquisite.  It has what is called technique and vocabulary.  Technique, when speaking of ballet, is the basic principal of moving the body in precise ways during ballet dancing.  The way in which the movement is done is quite important in the ballet style of dance and they many vary greatly between the various styles.

Vocabulary is the list of terms used in ballet which is very extensive and somewhat complicated.  A good bit of the terminology is French in nature so that makes it a little more difficult for non-French dancers to learn.  It is imperative that a ballet dancer know the lingo because it constitutes the moves that will be made and determines how they will be done.  There are glossary books which can be referred to and the information is available online as well.

All ballet pieces fall under one of two categories: story ballets or plotless.  Then there are the particular styles of ballet like contemporary, classical and neo-classical.  There are also shoots off of the styles like in jazz based ballet.

Contemporary ballet is basically modern in nature.  It is untraditional and often includes a good bit of floor work and non-conforming measures such as barefoot dancing.  It is generally done at a fairly fast pace.

Classical follows the rules of old and is very balanced, graceful and smooth.  It is done with the legs turned out whereas some contemporary moves are done the legs turned out instead.  Classical often times follows a story line and boasts glamorous and elaborate costumes.

Neo-classical ballet is a mix of both classical and contemporary.  It is basically classical done at a faster pace, without everything being balanced and the same.  It doesn’t usually follow a plot and is often done as a one-scene production.  It is, if you will, classical with a bit of rebellion.

Ballet dancing is a passion of many.  There are those who adore watching it, those who study or teach it…and those who gracefully and skillfully perform it.  Ballet is an art that spills from the soul of the dancer to the heart of those who watch with wonder.

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