The history of Ballet can sometimes be confusing to understand. The start of Ballet can sometimes be looked upon at the 1581 performances of Ballet Cominque de la Royne in Paris at the Palais du Petit Bourbon. This date makes Ballet one of the youngest performing arts known today. To understand exactly where Ballet came from you need to look at performances that happened before Ballet was called Ballet. The change and development of Ballet after 1581 would include French, Russian and even North America at the beginning of the Twentieth Century.
The earliest of ballet performances were a form of entertainment to the Italian Renaissance courts. The early form of dance included poetry, music, art and dancing and usually would take place in large banquet halls. Performances that took place in front of a banquet meal usually related to the food menu itself.
As the Italian courts further developed Ballet it began to include a score, which was first seen at the “Queen’s Ballet Comedy”. With Ballet being watched from above, the choreography routine was highly emphasized to include elaborate dance patterns accompanied with songs and poetry that were more pleasing to watch from higher elevation. The French ballet was designed mostly for the entertainment of the rich, so high quality performances were always a must. Ballet performances were accompanied by expensive costumes, stage settings and expensive effects to “wow” the audience. Towards the middle of the 1600s the birth of the proscenium stage was born. Professional ballet performers just starting their career in dance were permitted to dance. Concluding the proscenium was the grand ballet that was reserved for the king and courtiers.
During the reign of Louis XIV which was during 1643-1715, ballet reached its peak. The 5 positions of the feet came to light by a French choreographer named Pierre Beauchamp. Ballet with spoken scenes were alternated with dance interludes and were the first of its kind.