Dance is beautiful, an art. It is an expression of aestheticism and elegance. The present dance culture is the result of its evolution since time immemorial. Among the whole lot of dance-forms today, stands the very graceful and the nimble footed ‘Ballet Dance’.
Originated in the Italian Renaissance courts of the 15th and the 16th centuries, Ballet gradually evolved into a much sought after concert dance form in France and Russia. A highly technical dance, Ballet has its vocabulary hinged on French terminologies. It is a form of dance in which dancers (known as Ballerina) execute many limber movements often telling a story, expressing a mood or mere reflecting a piece of music.
Elegant costumes are an eye catching aspect of ballet dance. Female ballet dancers wear tutu (a skirt) with attached bodice. Tutu is basically of two types: the Romantic tutu is soft and bell-shaped, reaching the calf or ankle; the Classical tutu being short and stiff, projecting horizontally from the waist and hip. As of male dancers, they generally wear skin-fit tops and tights and sometimes a dance belt.
With this dance starting off under aristocratic influence, the early Ballet dancers were noble amateurs. Since then, the world has seen several stylistic variations in ‘ballet’ resulting in its various forms today.
ROMANTIC BALLET: Romantic Ballet took its form in an era during the early to the mid-19th century and gave prominence to profound emotions to deliver an aesthetic experience. The plots were romantic and concentrated mostly around spirit women (sylphs, wilis and ghosts) who dominated hearts of mortal men. Romantic era stands witness to prominent ballet dancers like Marie Taglioni and Fanny Elssler.
CLASSICAL BALLET: With the traditional ballet style and its vocabulary as the base, classical ballet dance has attained different forms subjected to their areas of origin such as French ballet, Russian ballet or Italian ballet. The classical ballet is associated with definite training methods normally named after their creators. The Cecchetti method, for example, is named after the Italian dancer Enrico Cecchett. There is a classical ballet technique named The Royal Academy of Dance method which is the fusion of Italian, French, Danish and Russian traits.
NEOCLASSICAL BALLET: It is the adapted style of classical ballet technique with the variation that neoclassical permits more flexibility in the use of abstract. With your choice of plot, music (generally neoclassical e.g. Stravinsky, Webern), costumes or scenery, this dance form has lesser formalities to hold on and widens up more scope for architecture and themes of choreography. Today ‘Modern Ballet’ is also gaining popularity which emerged as an offshoot of Neoclassism, its innovators being Glen Tetley, Robert Joffrey and Gerald Arpino.
CONTEMPORARY BALLET: It is a form of dance that opens up the doors for any style of work made utilizing ballet technique. Contemporary ballet touches on a range of aesthetics, embracing pedestrian, modern, jazz or ethnic forms so long as the base of classical ballet is apparent. It is also very flexible as far as exploration and experimentation is concerned. Mostly themed around ideas and innovations of the 20th century modern dance, contemporary ballet may sometimes include mime and acting too usually set to music (typically orchestral and occasionally vocal).
Ballet dance enhances the flexibility of the body and is a good way to get in shape. The elegance with which the dance is performed is something worth beholding. So, for those who truly appreciate dance, Ballet is a must watch.