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Ballet’s Beginnings Domenico da Piacenza ( ), of Italy, wrote a book called De Arte Saltandi ed Choreas Ducendi (On the Art of Dancing and Conducting.

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Presentation on theme: "Ballet’s Beginnings Domenico da Piacenza ( ), of Italy, wrote a book called De Arte Saltandi ed Choreas Ducendi (On the Art of Dancing and Conducting."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Evolution of Ballet Chapter 5 from Learning About Dance textbook by Nora Ambrosio

2 Ballet’s Beginnings Domenico da Piacenza ( ), of Italy, wrote a book called De Arte Saltandi ed Choreas Ducendi (On the Art of Dancing and Conducting Dances). In it he used the word ballo for dance instead of the common word danza. He also choreographed and wrote out many of the earliest known ballets, known as balleti. He is credited with naming ballet.

3 Catherine de’Medici, an Italian aristocrat, was arranged to marry the French prince, Henry II. When she moved to France, she brought with her dancing masters and her love of dance. She put on huge dancing spectacles for the French Court. This is the first record of early ballet being performed in the French Court. The dancers did not wear costumes. There were not tutus, tights, and leotards. They did not even have ballet shoes. They wore their court clothes: Long dresses that covered the ankle and high heels for women. Tights, Balloon shorts, shirts, vests, cloaks, and high heels for men. Their steps were not like traditional ballet steps that we see today. They were made up of court dance steps.

4 The Beginning of Ballet
King Louis XIV (King of France) used dance as a form of power and control. He expected the nobility to know how to dance extremely well. If they could not perform up to his standard, they would lose their rank in the kingdom. King Louis created a vocabulary for dance so that he could ensure that it was taught consistently through out his kingdom. This became the first vocabulary of BALLET. He established the Royale Academie of Danse. This was the first school of dance/ballet. It later became the Paris Opera.

5 Baroque Court Dance Clips
The Majesty of Renaissance Dance Baroque Ballet The Sun King - Man in the Iron Mask clip

6 The Ever Changing Style of Ballet
In the late 1700’s/early 1800’s ballet separated from the Opera and became it’s own art form. Women became the focus of ballets instead of the men. Themes of ballets shifted away from the aristocracy. The world was changing and monarchies were being over thrown in favor of democracies. Pointe shoes (satin slippers with a leather sole) and pointe work was developed. Carlo Blasis codified the basic ballet technique that we still use today. Ballets began to tell stories.

7 Romantic Ballet People wanted to escape the stresses of their daily lives. Music, poetry, dance, and art transported their audiences into worlds of fantasy. Ballets were typically about women who were from other worlds….which is why pointe was invented! The ballerina appeared to float and glide across the stage. Tutus and costumes were now being used. The tutus were long, stopping just above the ankle. One of the most famous Romantic ballets is Giselle. Ballet also began to spread from France to all of Europe. Russia’s ballet program took off, and by the end of the century became the capital of the ballet world.

8 Romantic Ballet Clips Giselle (Act I) Giselle (Act II)

9 The Russian Powerhouse
France’s artistocracy had fallen and ballet began to wane. Russia and Denmark stepped up thanks to their dancing masters, August Bournonville, Enrico Cecchetti, and Marius Petipa. Bournonville and Cecchetti created teaching methods that are still studied and used today. Marius Petipa choreographed many of the most famous Classical ballets – Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, etc. He collaborated with the composer Tchaikovsky to create the ballets. The most famous ballet dancers and choreographers of this era were Russian born and trained.

10 Classical Ballet Classical ballet includes:
Demi characters (who have solos), characters who typically wear traditional clothing, principal dancers (the main male and female characters), and the Core (ballerinas that dance in the large group numbers) All females are on pointe. The tutus are short. Usually tells a fairy tale. Uses pantomime to help tell the story. A pas de deux (the big duet between the principal dancers) – He has a large jumping solo, she has a very difficult solo showing off her pointe work, they have a duet together full of beautiful lifts, and then they have the Coda where they both leap and jump and lift for the big finish.

11 Classical Ballet Clips
Snowflakes - Nutcracker Sleeping Beauty - Pas de deux Little Swans - Swan Lake

12 Neo-Classical Ballet As with all art forms, the 20th Century was one of revolting against the rules. Choreographers began to play with movement outside of the traditional ballet vocabulary. Choreographers were tired of being constrained by the rules of Classical Ballet. They were tired of only creating ballets about fairy tales. Many began to use other stories for their ballet plots. Balanchine used the works of Shakespeare. One of his most famous Neo-classical ballets is Romeo and Juliet. Others used folk tales. Njinsky created Rite of Spring based upon a Native tradition of human sacrifice. Diaghilev worked with the composer Stravinsky to create Firebird and Petrushka based upon Russian folklore.

13 Neo-Classical Ballet Clips
Romeo and Juliet The Rite of Spring Firebird Promo Petrouchka The Dying Swan

14 Contemporary Ballet The revolt continued. The choreographers ditched the idea of having a plot. The movement became more horizontal and included more twisting and curving. It even included floor work. Russia’s monarchy fell and the Communist party took over. Ballet continued to flourish, but many choreographers and dancers defected and came to the U.S. George Balanchine cofounded the New York City Ballet and continued to create Neo-Classical and Contemporary ballets. American Ballet Theater and The Joffrey Ballet were also established in NYC. NYC and Moscow became headquarters for ballet in the 20th Century.

15 Contemporary Ballet Clips
Jewels Promo Push Comes to Shove Dance Theatre of Harlem and Sesame Street

16 Similarities and Differences Between Classical and Contemporary Ballet
Both use a vocabulary of movement that employs the French language Classical ballet always has a storyline; most contemporary ballets focus on the movement Both utilize dancers who are highly trained in their technique and performance abilities Classical ballet appears very symmetrical, with both sides of the stage equally “balanced” by having the same number of dancers on each side executing the same movements. Contemporary ballet does not focus on symmetry, and having a stage that is “unbalanced” is a characteristic of the style Both emphasize a strong relationship to music There is always a pas de deux in a classical ballet; there may or may not be one in contemporary ballet Classical ballet choreography may incorporate pantomime and literal gestures; contemporary ballet never does Female dancers always wear pointe shoes in a classical ballet; they may or may not wear them in contemporary ballet For the most part, dancers in a classical ballet keep their spines erect; dancers in a contemporary ballet curve, twist and bend their upper bodies.

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