History of Ballet

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The history of ballet began in Italy during the Renaissance. Here, court ballet was a compilation of the arts: dancing, music, painting and poetry. Social court dances became popular, and powerful Italian families, including the de Medici family, tried to outdo others by having elaborate court dances. Often, the plot of the performance centered on the evening's menu. Catherine de Medici wed King Henry of France and staged balletti, the Italian term for dances. By 1581, the French tweaked the Italian versions and danced to a score written especially for the ballet. The first ballet, Le Ballet Comique de la Reine, premiered at Catherine's sister's wedding. Instead of viewing the movement from a traditional stage-audience arrangement, the audience now towered above the dance floor and sat in the galleries, where they easily observed the intricate patterns created by the dancers. The French court ballets used fancy costumes and scenery to establish a loosely linked dance sequences. Royal Dance Moves King Louis XIV founded the Academie Royale de Danse in 1661 and performed for nearly ten years. He commissioned Jean Baptiste Lully, a composer, and choreographer Pierre Beauchamp to devise his company's performances. Here, the history of ballet vocabulary was introduced, and dancers dared to try spectacular jumps and acrobatics with ballet's realm. Early ballet featured only male performers. Women's roles were portrayed by men in masks. But, by 1681, professional ballet allowed women on stage. "The Triumph of Love" was the first ballet including women. Variations on Ballet Through the years, ballet appeared in a variety of forms. Opera ballet presented a balance of singing and dancing. As dancers dared to outperform each other on stage by incorporating fanciful turns and lofty leaps, a more natural style of ballet surfaced. Now, ballet was an emotional mixture

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