2 15th & 16th Century HistoryBallet is an art form that has a long, rich history dating back to the fifteenth century.Perhaps a more significant moment in ballet history is the arrival of Catherine de’ Medici of France.She married the King of France and brought with her several Italian dancing masters.Along with the dance masters, she introduced a new type of entertainment to the public, later to be known as court ballet.
3 Early BalletThe “ballets” presented in the sixteenth century were very different from today’s ballets.The court ballets were very much a feast for the eyes. They dazzled spectators with only simply floor patterns and poses.Elaborate costumes were the rule, although they greatly restricted the performer’s movements.Most of these ballets progressed at a leisurely pace and sometimes lasting several hours.The court ballets were performed by and for members of the nobility.
4 Louis XIVThe most prominent of the nobles was Louis XIV ( ), also known as the Sun King. He reigned France from ( ) as king.He would perform many ballets along with orchestrate others.In 1661, he granted permission to several dancing masters to establish The Royal Academy of Dance in France and the development of the court ballet flourished.The academy later became the Paris Opera, which is still around today.
5 Early Ballets (con't)Towards the end of the sixteenth century, with the creation of the proscenium stage (that separated the audience from the performer), ballet began to take on a more serious and theatrical quality.Dancers began to use a “turned out” position (rotating the legs out at the hip joint) in order to move better.A set vocabulary of movements were developed, which included arms and head, positions of the feet, locomotor (moving) and non- locomotor (in place) steps.A rigorous technique was developed, which required dancers to train daily for many hours in order to become truly proficient.Because of the new ways created, the seventeenth century allowed ballet to be recognized as a viable art form.Dance masters vigorously trained dancers to perform with technical proficiency and many ballets were created under this principle.
6 Early Ballets (con't)During the 18th century, ballets turned to more aesthetic appeal.The emphasis that had been placed on technique turned focus to the meaning or message that the movements implied during the ballet.The priority was how the audience would “feel” after viewing a performance.
7 Romantic BalletsThe 19th century produced the Romantic ballet. Dance began to follow a path set forth by the Romantic artist of music, literature, painting and sculpting.The style of art was characterized by an assortment of different elements, including love of nature, violence, tranquility, emotion and power, which the influenced the Romantic ballet.Romantic ballets included mythical characters and places, which created atmospheres of great wonder and excitement.Featured a female dancer.
8 Romantic Ballets (con't) La Sylphide (1832) was the first Romantic Ballet. Choreographed by Filippo Taglioni ( ).Giselle (1841), most famous of the Romantic Ballets and still performed often today. Choreographed by Jean Coralli & Jules Perrot.Giselle tells the story of a woman who dies of a broken heart and comes back as a “wilis” (a mythical spirit figure), not to seek revenge on her lover, but to protect him from the evil wilis.
9 Early Ballet Summary Court Ballets “Turn out” & Set Vocabulary Catherine de’ MediciLouis XIVThe Royal Academy of France“Turn out” & Set VocabularyMeaning or MessageRomantic BalletsMythical charactersFemale dancerLa SylphideGiselle
10 15th – 19th CenturiesFrom the 15th to 19th centuries, there were great differences in the aesthetics of the ballet world. They continued to change into the 20th century.In the late 1800’s, ballet took on a new look, philosophy & aesthetic, which is referred to as “classical” ballet.In the early 1900’s “contemporary” ballets developed.The two styles have remained popular and have shaped the history of ballet aesthetic of modern times.Even though classical and contemporary are very different, the vocabulary stays the same (based on the French language).History of classical ballet can be traced back to the late 1800’s in Russia, where choreographer Marius Petipa ( ) began to create ballets.
11 Characteristics & Features of Classical Ballets Overall “look” of the balletSpectacular scenery usually fills the upstage and side areas of the stage.Dressed in elaborate costumes typical of characters they are portraying.These factors enhance the storyline, which is usually a fairy-tale or fable.For example, The Sleeping Beauty, choreographed in 1890, by Marius Petipa and first performed in Russia, tells the story of the young princess Aurora who is put under a spell by the evil fairy Carabosse.Swan Lake, choreographed by Marius Petipa & Lev Ivanov in 1895, also first performed in Russia, tells the story of a swan, Odette, who is changed to a beautiful woman for a brief period of time by a mysterious sorcerer named von Rotbart. She meets and falls in love with Prince Siegfried. The two can never be together, however, because Odette is under the powerful spell of Von Rotbart. In the end, both Odette and Siegfried realize that they can only be together in the afterlife and they both throw themselves into the lake. This ballet has an uncharacteristically sad ending for a classical ballet, but is one of the most popular ever created.
12 Characteristics & Features of Classical Ballets (con't) MusicSteps to move along with the musicExample: if the music was ¾ time or “waltz” time, the choreographer would follow this rhythm with the movement, paying close attention to the counts, phrasing, accents and crescendos.Large orchestral pieces are common for classical ballets.Use of DancersSimilar from ballet to balletDivided into 3 categories~Principals (leading roles in a ballet)Soloists (who have solo & character roles)Corps de ballet (the remaining members of the company)
13 Characteristics & Features of Classical Ballets (con't) Climax of a balletGrand pas de deux ~ “step of two”.Follows a specific formatBeginning with the entrance of the male and female dancers who perform an adagio (slow duet).After the adagio, a variation (solo) is performed by each dancer. The male usually goes first, followed by the female.Male solo – comprised of difficult and quick movements.After the variations (solos), the two come back together for a final coda (or final movements) to complete the grand pas de deux.The female dancer (ballerina), is the main focus of the duet parts of the pas de deux.The role of the male dancer is to support her in the difficult turns & lifts that are found in most classical ballet repertoires.
14 Other information regarding classical ballet CorpsServes partly as the elaborate scenery by standing perfectly still in a pose for several minutes at a time while the principals and/or soloists dance downstage.Costumed exactly alike and execute the same movements at the same time.Movements are usually very linear and their floor patterns give a balanced and symmetrical look to the stage space.PantomimeUsed in ballet to gestureExample – “I love you” – a man would point to himself, put his hands over his heart and open them towards the girl.Often utilized to ensure that the plot remains intelligible to the audience.
15 Other information regarding classical ballet (con’t) Pointe ShoesDesigned for the ballerina to stand directly on the tips of her toes.Professional companies – a ballerina has her shoes made specifically for her.A ballerina usually goes through one pair of shoes per performance.1822 – dancing en pointe was introduced
16 Classiscal Ballet Summary Overall “look” of the balletScenery & costumesStoryline or FableMusic3 types of dancersPrincipals, Soloists, Corps de balletClimax & Grand pas de deuxPatomimePointe ShoesClassical BalletsSleeping Beauty & Swan Lake
17 Contemporary Ballet Evolved in Russia in the early 1900’s Due mainly of a choreographer named Michel Fokine ( )Fokine was the 1st master choreographer of the Ballet Russes, a Russian company developed in 1909 by Serge Diaghilev ( ).Vaslav Nijinsky, Anna Pavlova, Leonide Massine, Enrico Cecchetti, & George Balanchine
18 Contemporary Ballet (con't) For instance, the classical steps of ballet, should be re-shaped and modified to fit the theme of the dance.Also, the movement should give insight to what is on stage, therefore, pantomime used in classical ballets would not be used in contemporary.Fokine felt that the corps de ballet should be more than just scenery and be very important to the ballet.Diaghilev – all aspects of the ballet – movement, music, costumes, and set – should be equally important.Fokine’s choreography would heighten the status of the male dancer in society and possibly the center of the ballet.
19 Contemporary Ballets (con't) Vaslav Nijinsky (1889-1950) Hired to a be choreographer for the Ballet Russes.Presented a truly contemporary form of ballet, so called “taboo” themes in his work.
20 Contemporary Ballets (con't) Similarities to ClassicalSame vocabularyDancers must be highly trained (technically)Outstanding performance qualityUse of music ~ emphasizing meter, counts, phrasing, accents, etc.Differences to ClassicalMusic that is abstractSoft shoes or bare feetNo pantomimeMore freedom with movement in torso, upper body & arms, giving a more “modern dance” flavor.Contemporary ballets usually don’t have a storyline.Movement is the primary focus.
21 George Balanchine ( )Russian choreographer who worked with Ballet RussesMoved to the USA in 1933.One of the greatest innovators and the greatest contemporary ballet choreographers of his time (neo-classical)Eliminated the elaborate sets & costumes and presented the dancer as equals on stage.The Grand pas de deux was usually not seen in his works.Known for his “plotless” ballets that have as their focus the marriage of movement and music rather than a storyline.Two of his most famous “plotless” ballets are ~Concerto Barocco (1941)Agon (1957)
22 George Balanchine (con't) He did choreograph some narrative ballets, the two were his most famous ~The Prodigal Son (1929 & revised in 1950)A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1962)Balanchine’s legacy lives on in many of today’s leading ballet companies, who perform one or more of his hundreds of dances and full-length ballets.Began NYC Ballet in 1948 with Lincoln KirsteinAmerican Ballet Theatre, Dance Theatre of Harlem perform Balanchine’s works on a regular basis.
23 Contemporary Ballet Choreographers Maurice Béjart ( )One of the most recognized in the world.Artistic Director for the Béjart BalletRecognized for his witty and often flamboyant dancesThought dance was a powerful form of communicationWas inspired to choreograph about different cultures, religious and social aspects of dance.Often blurred male & female identities, which became a trademark of his work.Angular yet elegant movements, were also prominent features of his exciting and theatrical dances.
24 Contemporary Ballet Choreographers Matthew Bourne (b. 1960)1995 – London choreographer created a version of Swan LakeHe has received two Tony awards for Direction & Choreography for his version of Swan Lake.Recent projects of choreography & co-directing Disney’s Mary Poppins (2004) and a stage version of Edward Scissorhands (2005).
25 Contemporary Ballet Choreographers Modern Dance Choreographers may also work with ballet companies.1947 – Valerie Bettis ( ) was the 1st modern dance choreographer to set a work on a ballet company (the Ballet Russes de Monte Carlo).1973 – Twyla Tharp (b. 1942) was invited to choreography two dances for the Joffrey BalletDeuce Coupe – music by the Beach BoysAs Time Goes By1976 – Tharp choreographed Push Comes to Shove for the ABT. The dance starred Mikhail Baryshnikov.
26 Contemporary Ballet Choreographers 1980 ~ Mikhail Baryshnikov became the artistic director of ABT and hired Tharp as a resident choreographer for the company.1993 ~ the Joffrey Ballet commissioned four modern & contemporary ballet choreographers to create an evening –length work entitled Billboards.2004 The US Postal Service issues stamps honoring 4 choreographers for their contributions…Martha Graham, George Balanchine, Alvin Ailey & Agnes deMille
27 Contemporary Ballet Summary Evolved in Russia in the early 1900’sDescribe contemporary balletFamous PeopleMichel FokineSerge DiaghilevGeorge BalanchineMaurice BéjartMatthew BourneValerie BettisTwyla TharpMikhail BaryshnikovFamous Ballet Schools & CompaniesBallets and Works of Art performed/created