The Evolution of Ballet

The Evolution of Ballet

A blog around ballet and its historical and cultural influence.

Ballet is an art form which originated in the court of the Italian Renaissance in the 15th century and developed further in France and Russia as a concert dance form. Ballet is a formalized kind of performance dance, which is based on specific techniques. The ballet originated in Italy during the Renaissance and then became formalized into different styles such as classical ballet and neoclassical ballet. It also encompasses subgenres such as Romantic ballet, folk-dance-inspired ballet, character dance, neoclassical ballet, Ballet metamorphoses, pantomime, story ballets, divertissements from operas or other works, abstract ballets and many others.

Although it is an art form that was created by men for women to perform; today one can find both men and women to perform this art form. Men started performing this art form only in the 20th century. Initially it was performed by amateurs but later shifted towards professionals who were hired by kings as court performers.

Ballet has been influential worldwide due to its enormous popularity. It has evolved into various forms over time but still remains one of the most popular art forms across the globe. The artistic

The Evolution of Ballet

A blog around ballet and its historical and cultural influence.

Ballets Russes

1895 – 1929

The Ballets Russes was a ballet company established in 1909 by Sergei Diaghilev, a Russian art critic, patron and founder of the magazine Mir Iskusstva. Diaghilev commissioned the best choreographers and composers to create new works in a distinct style that would later become known as Ballet Russe. The company’s productions were often based on or inspired by classical Russian folklore and fairy tales that were seen as exotic subjects for Western audiences.

Diaghilev had such an eye for artistic talent that he employed many famous people who not only had an impact on ballet but also on other art forms including Pablo Picasso, Jean Cocteau, Henri Matisse and Coco Chanel. It was during his work with the Ballets Russes that Picasso created his famous painting “The Three Musicians” in 1921 which is now housed at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

The Evolution of Ballet is a blog around ballet and its historical and cultural influence.

Ballet started in the 15th century in Italy. It was an art form that featured dancing and music. The first ballets were performed in large halls where people gathered to watch the performance.

The primary purpose of ballet was to entertain the audience. It was not until the 19th century that ballet became a competitive sport. This was due to the influence of Jean Georges Noverre. He believed that ballet should be more than just entertainment, but also a means of expression.

He created a new style of ballet known as “ballet-d’action”. This type of ballet focused on telling stories through dance movements. This is why we see many plot-driven ballets today.

Welcome to the Evolution of Ballet!

This blog is all about ballet. It features articles and videos on the history of ballet and its cultural significance.

The Evolution of Ballet began in 2010 as a project for a history of dance class at the University of Colorado Boulder. The original site featured a timeline, a list of famous dancers, and a few articles. In its current incarnation it is primarily a blog, written by me (Eddie) – with occasional guest blogs by other historians. I am currently working as an adjunct professor, but have previously worked as an archivist, researcher, and historian.

Please feel free to contact me with comments and questions!

Ballet is a popular dance form that originated in the Italian Renaissance courts of the 15th century and later developed into a concert dance form in France and Russia. It has since become a highly technical form of dance with its own vocabulary. Ballet, as we know it today, began during the Italian Renaissance in the 15th and 16th centuries.

Ballet spread from Italy to France with the help of Catherine de’ Medici, where ballet developed even further under her aristocratic influence. The new ballet style became known as Ballet Comique de la Reine. In 1581, Catherine de’ Medici married King Henry II of France. She brought three Italian artists from Florence to the French court: Giovanni Bardi (a composer), Vincenzo Gonzaga (an Italian dancer) and Bettinis (a choreographer). Those three artists established the Royal Academy of Dance and Music, which would later become the first Paris Opera Ballet.

The origins of ballet are associated with Italian Renaissance courts and France under Louis XIV. Known as “the Sun King” for his role in bringing power back to the French monarchy after the civil wars known as the Fronde, Louis XIV began training at an early age to be an absolute monarch.

Russian Ballet

Russian ballet was founded by Catherine the Great in 1738. It was originally called the Imperial Russian Ballet. It began as a school for the nobility in St. Petersburg. The first ballet performed was Les Petits Riens by Jean Baptiste Lande in 1755. The Imperial Theatre School was founded in 1738 with the purpose of training dancers for the Russian court. In 1885, the school moved to become part of the Imperial Ballet of St Petersburg and became known as the Maryinsky Theatre after Tsar Alexander III’s wife, Maria Feodorovna.

The Maryinsky School was one of the first ballet schools to incorporate classical ballet technique with character dancing and folk dance into their instruction. The school also offered classes in acting, music, costume design, and stage production.


In 1773, Jean Georges Noverre wrote a letter to Empress Catherine complaining about the quality of dancers in Russia. He proposed that Russia needed a national ballet of its own and suggested that he be appointed as Master of choreography for the imperial theatres. He became choreographer for the Imperial Ballet of St Petersburg in 1776 and remained there for 30 years until his death in 1810.

In 1810, Marius Pet

Dancers today are athletic; they are able to do amazing things with their bodies. However, this has not always been the case: there was a time when dancers were seen more as automatons than athletes.

The first ballet was presented in Paris in 1581 as part of a lavish court entertainment for Catherine de Medici. The event took place at the Louvre and featured a group of aristocratic men and women dancing on a stage flooded with water: the ballon d’eau (ballet on water). The ballet was performed by the Queen’s elite courtiers and was choreographed by Balthazar de Beaujoyeulx. The Queen’s Menagerie included dancers from Italy who were dressed in allegorical costumes as characters such as Apollo, Diana, Venus, and Mars. These were the first professional “ballerinas” to perform in France; they were all male, since women had not yet been accepted into professional ballet companies.

A male dancer at this time did not need to be tall or have a muscular build; in fact, it was the opposite. He needed to look small and delicate so that he would appear feminine. A man needed to dance with grace and agility while maintaining his small stature. He also needed to be thin

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