Ballerina Feet

Ballerinas Feet.

If you've ever seen ballerinas dance, you know how graceful their movements can be. But what you may not know is that becoming a professional ballerina is a lot of hard work and dedication. In addition to practicing many hours every day, these dancers also have to take care of their feet. Ballerinas have unique feet, which are different from other people's feet. Ballerinas usually have high arches and long toes. This makes their feet very flexible, which is necessary for ballet dancing. Also, foot training begins on the first day of ballet school and continues throughout a ballerina's professional life.

The effect of ballet on the foot

The human foot is a complex structure made up of bones, joints, muscles, tendons, and ligaments. This intricate design allows the foot to support the body's weight and absorb shock when we walk or run. When we put our feet through repetitive motions, such as those required in ballet dancing, we can put stress on these structures and cause injuries.

Dancers are especially susceptible to foot injuries because they often practice for many hours each day. In addition, they typically wear shoes that don't provide much support or cushioning. Pointe shoes, for example, are designed to allow dancers to stand on their toes but offer little protection from the impact of landing jumps and other moves. As a result, ballerinas often suffer from injuries to the bones and joints in their feet.

Despite the risks, ballet can be a healthy activity for your feet if you take some precautions.

  1. First, it's important to choose the right shoes. If you're a beginner, look for shoes that offer support and cushioning.
  2. You can also ask your dance instructor for recommendations. As you become more experienced, you may want to switch to pointe shoes. But be sure to buy them from a reputable store and break them in slowly to avoid injury.
  3. Also important to warm up before dancing and stretch afterwards. This will help reduce your risk of injury.

And if you do start to experience pain in your feet, be sure to see a doctor right away.

Is Ballet Destroying a Ballerina's Foot?

The simple answer is no, ballet is not destroying a ballerina's foot. However, if a dancer does not take care of her feet and stretches properly, she may be more likely to experience injuries.

While it's true that ballet dancers often suffer from foot injuries, these injuries are usually due to overuse or improper shoe fit. With the right precautions, you can avoid these injuries and enjoy a healthy career in ballet.

Ballerina leg injuries.

Typical ballerina leg injuries

Intense physical activity in ballet puts a lot of stress on the feet and legs. As a result, ballet dancers' feet are often injured.

The most common leg injuries are:

  1. Achilles tendonitis is an inflammation of the Achilles tendon, which is the large tendon that connects the calf muscle to the heel bone.
  2. Shin splints are a type of pain that occurs in the lower leg, usually along the shinbone.
  3. Stress fractures are tiny cracks in the bones that can occur from overuse or repetitive impact.
  4. Plantar Fasciitis is an inflammation of the plantar fascia, which is a thick band of tissue that runs across the bottom of the foot. Dancers experience pain and swelling at the base of the heel and the arch of the foot.
  5. Neuromas. The sensation resembles that of being burned or tingling. Numbness and spasms may also be felt. Nerves might become swollen, resulting in permanent scars.
  6. Dancers also often suffer from ankle sprains, which occur when the ligaments that support the ankle are stretched or torn.
  7. Blisters, bunions, and blisters are also common among ballerinas, like all injuries they should be given proper attention, because in consequence they, can develop sinuses and become ulcers.

The best way to avoid foot problems is to take care of your feet. This means wearing the proper shoes, stretching your feet regularly, and keeping your feet clean and dry. It's also important to see a podiatrist on a regular basis so that any problems can be caught early and treated quickly.

Remember! If you experience any pain or discomfort in your feet or legs, it's important to see a doctor right away. These problems can often be resolved with simple treatments, but if they're left untreated, they can lead to more serious injuries.

What pointe shoes are better to choose to protect the feet?

The best way to protect your feet while dancing is to choose the right pointe shoes. There are many different types of pointe shoes on the market, and it's important to find a pair that fits well and provides support for your feet. You may need to try several different pairs before you find the perfect one.

When choosing pointe shoes, it's important to keep in mind the type of foot you have.

  1. If you have a high arch, you'll need a shoe with more support.
  2. If you have a flat foot, you'll need a shoe with less support.
  3. You should also consider the width of your foot when selecting a shoe. Some brands offer wide or narrow widths to accommodate different foot shapes.

Before going on stage, dancers - whether they are soloists or chorus dancers - if necessary, they tape their feet with plaster in the most vulnerable places so that they do not rub them off. Sometimes, though, even these measures do not save the day.

It's also important to break in your pointe shoes before you wear them for a performance. This process can take several weeks, and it's important to do it gradually so that you don't injure your feet. Once your shoes are broken in, they should be comfortable and provide support while you're dancing.

Ballet feet.

In general, to choose the right pair of shoes for ballet, you should read the list of the best pointe shoes 2022 here. There you will also find a detailed guide on choosing the right pointe shoes for you.

How the type of foot affects the dance/ballet career

The type of foot a dancer has can affect their career in several ways.

If a dancer has a high arch, they may be more susceptible to injuries.

Dancers with flat feet may have trouble with pointe work.

Dancers with wide feet may have difficulty finding shoes that fit well.

It's important to consult with a dance teacher or coach to determine what type of foot is best suited for ballet. They can help you find the right shoes and make sure you're performing the exercises correctly.

While the type of foot a dancer has can affect their career, it's important to remember that everyone is different. Some dancers with high arches will never experience an injury, and some dancers with flat feet will excel at pointe work. Ultimately, it's up to the individual dancer to find what works best for them.

Conclusion

So, there you have it. The truth about ballerina's feet. Now that you know more about how ballet affects the foot, you can take steps to protect your own feet. Dance is a beautiful art form that can be enjoyed by people of all ages and abilities. While there are some risks associated with ballet, these can be minimized by taking proper precautions. With the right shoes and regular stretching, you can enjoy dancing without worry. If you experience any pain or problems with your feet, be sure to consult with a doctor so that you can continue dancing for years to come.

The 9 Greatest Choreographers of the 20th century

Famous Choreographers of the 20th century.

This article is our attempt to describe the basic agenda for immersing in the 20th century's global choreographic context. What did Balanchine do for classical ballet? Why did Martha Graham prove to be the main face of modern dance? How did Merce Cunningham reform the movement? What is Pina Bausch's dance theater? Here we will explore these and other questions about the really great modern dancers famous of this era.

It will briefly describe the creative biographies of nine equal in importance, but absolutely different in creative handwriting of the greatest choreographers of the 20th century. Each of them is worthy of conversation for more than an hour - but here you can start an inner conversation with all these masters, and continue - for a long time - in theater, books or movies.

Martha Graham

1894-1991, USA

- founder of the modern dance style. She created the contraction-release technique.

Martha Graham.

Contraction:

  • It' s done on an exhalation...
  • A characteristic movement towards the center
  • Rounding of the shapes

Release:

  • On the inhale
  • Moving from the inside out

The contraction-release technique is still considered basic for modern and other styles of dance.

What new things has Martha brought to the choreography and dance:

  • Emotion provokes movement
  • Impulsive nature of movement
  • Use of space by moving on the floor
  • Graphic poses
  • The fabric increases the amplitude of the movement

She was the first to try structuring movements into a kind of system, something that neither Duncan nor Saint-Denis had done before her. As a visionary, she was constantly looking for new ways to dance. Her creative search determined that movement is subject to three basic constants: time, space, and energy. Since, as Martha herself said, she was not interested in dancing and creating productions about non-existent characters and heroes of former eras, she staged and told in her work about contemporary women and people, as well as contemporary issues. Thus, the great Martha Graham was the first to show that non-classical dance can also be intellectual. Without Martha Graham, the entire history of modern dance would have turned out very differently.

In 1926, Martha founded her own troupe – Martha Graham Dance Company – it still exists to this day.

George Balanchine

1904-1983, USA

- founder of neoclassical ballet. He created his own ballet school and professional company in the United States, which is now called New York City Ballet and is the largest company in America.

George Balanchine.

Balanchine's choreography is characterized by:

  • Classical poses, BUT hips, knees and feet turned inward while classical ballet's legs are turned outward
  • Classical movement, but the hips are characterized by forward movement, whereas the classical ballet hips are always tucked
  • Neoclassical passes between poses with hips and knees turned inward

He was born, studied and started working in Russia. But he found his place for art and work when he moved to the United States.

Today, Balanchine's ballets are performed on all of the world's greatest stages. The Balanchine Foundation, which was created after the choreographer's death to preserve the technique and performance skills that Balanchine himself laid down, is very picky about the level and quality of the dancers - they have to be able to dance ballet really well. Although ballet is progressing, Balanchine's performances are still quite difficult to dance.

One-act storyless ballets are the most original part of his oeuvre. Besides, it''s likely that a modern ballet without Balanchine would not exist at all, the kind without specially written music, without 4-hour productions and complicated hierarchies.

Merce Cunningham

1919-2009, USA

- collaborated with John Cage, Robert Rauschenberg, Andy Warhol, and other avant-garde artists. He is sometimes counted among the creators of postmodern dance.

Merce Cunningham.

Characteristic:

  • Using classical poses, but toes do not go outwards and with the addition of non-classical hand or foot positions
  • Combination of classical poses and modern techniques, such as contraction-release
  • Changing planes with the body
  • The dancer's position does not depend on the location of the audience (the dancer can dance with his back to the audience)

He was born, studied and started working in Russia. But he found his place for art and work when he moved to the United States.

Merce Cunningham is one of those who also worked a lot with Martha Graham. However, unlike Martha, he believed that the human body is already beautiful itself, and that each movement is already interesting enough to capture the viewer's attention. With the help of the Theory of Randomness (where the order of movement is determined not by the choreographer, but by the dice) Cunningham sought to break the movement patterns within which dancers were accustomed to exist.

One more striking feature of Cunningham's creativity was his conviction that all the arts - music, dance and scenography - are equal and should not "adjust" to one another. Therefore, all of these arts often "met" already on stage in the choreographer's performances.

Pina Bausch

1940-2009, Germany

- the most famous member of the "dance theater" movement. She created Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch.

Pina Bausch.

Characteristic:

  • Spiral motions
  • Impulse into the spiral - following the hand
  • Speed changes
  • Natural foots position
  • Loose body
  • Muscle relaxation
  • Start of movement on breath

Pina Bausch is one of the most popular choreographers among the masses. The most important theme for her was human relationships. She believed the idea that the dancer should move of improvisation and get inspiration from own experience. She could ask the dancer a lot about his parents, childhood, how he feels in different life situations, what he loves and does not love, what hurts him, his aspirations. The drama of human experiences and relationships was the theme of her art.

After Pina's death, the Pina Bausch Creative Legacy Foundation was founded, which sees its main task as making the Dance Theater's legacy available to the public.

Mats Ek

1945, Sweden

- collaborated with the world's leading dance companies. Mikhail Baryshnikov and Sylvie Guillem have danced in his productions.

Mats Ek.
  • Hands set the movement direction, the movement follows the hands
  • Using classical jumps, but with a loose body and movable arms and legs;
  • Bent knees and pulled feet
  • Ridiculous movements
  • Working with facial expressions

Many consider him a genius who shook the world of the classics by making us look at it in a different way. Others see his art as blasphemous. Mats Ek is one of the most recognizable choreographers of our time. Mats Ek's style of choreography is characterized by its parody and tendency toward the theater of the absurd. He has formed his own choreographic "handwriting", which has grown out of an original symbiosis of classical, modern, and minimalist gestures.

Mats has combined a lot of knowledge with his sensuality, emotion and talent. He keeps the plastics and choreography simple enough, but very effective.

In 2007 he staged Gluck's Orpheus at the Royal Swedish Opera.

William Forsythe

1949, USA – Germany

- one of the main living experimenters in the dance industry. He developed a popular computer program for teaching dance called "Technology of Improvisation”.

William Forsythe.

Characteristic:

  • Working with geometry (line, point, line from a point, semicircle from a point)
  • Working with lines: "drawing" lines with body parts and with the help of joints
  • Working with memory: coming out of the classical/non-classical pose - recalling the pose - returning to the original position

Forsythe's works demand from the viewer a more active emotional and intellectual perception. The avant-garde Forsythe pushed the boundaries of the conventional: as opposed to classical ballet the choreographer gives freedom to the movements of the arms and legs. His main approach to dancers was improvisation, which also aimed to free not only the dancer's body, but also his head.

Ohad Naharin

1952, Israel

- creator of modern dance techniques and improvisation gaga. Since 1990 he has been the director of the Batsheva troupe.

Ohad Naharin.

Characteristic:

  • Dance based on improvisation (sensations are set)
  • Moving and other manipulations of different imaginary objects (cubes, balls, etc.) with different parts of the body
  • Shaking
  • The impulse for movement comes from within
  • Muscles are relaxed

Ohad Naharin is one of Israel's most famous choreographers. Today Ohad Naharin is called a star of contemporary choreography. Naharin is often involved in creating the music for his works. Naharin invites the best stage designers in the country to participate in his productions. He also encourages the dancers with whom he works to open up their own creative resources, giving them the opportunity to improvise. Naharin participates in a number of his works as a performer.

According to the choreographer, the main thing a dancer has to learn is the ability to listen to and understand their own body, and this means much more than obeying the choreographer who tells them how to move. The search for a deep interaction is what gave birth to gaga, both as a choreographic language and as a pedagogical system.

The New York Times and a number of other publications have elevated Naharin to the rank of one of the five best choreographers in the world.

Wim Vandekeybus

1963, Belgium

- one of the representatives of the "Belgian wave" of modern dance. He founded the experimental dance group Ultima Vez.

Wim Vandekeybus.
  • “The Tiger's Leap” (movement behind the hand, and then roll over)
  • Jump tending to parallel with the floor
  • Running in different directions (including back)
  • Emphasized physical strength, brutality
  • Hair increases amplitude

Wim Vandekeibus's art is characterized by radicality and challenging in the beginning of his career and conservatism in the process of evolution. For example, at the beginning of his career the choreographer urged his dancers to go to every performance as if it were their last. His dancers worked on the verge of human limitations: they dodged bricks thrown at them and descended from dangerous heights without safety equipment. Vandekeibus liked to explore the body's reflexes in extreme situations, and the audience loved Wim for his recklessness. Now it is in the past. The productions of recent years are characterized by conservatism and even a derision of former radicalism.

The choreographer says that he never thinks only about choreography, it is just a tool for him to tell about something. It has to be said that together with his company Ultima Vez he does this incredibly successfully and accurately.

Crystal Pite

1970, Canada

- a student of William Forsythe; one of the youngest choreographers to gain international fame. In 2002 she founded the Kidd Pivot dance company.

Crystal Pite.
  • Movement in a spiral with a change of levels and going to the parterre (movement is initiated by the hand)
  • Manipulation ("foreign hand")
  • Slide

In 1990, she made her debut as a choreographer with the British Columbia Ballet. Since then, Crystal Pite has created more than forty works of choreographic art. Pite's choreography is known for its quirky humor and fearless

Conclusion

Hopefully you have been inspired to explore the work of these great choreographers in greater depth and detail.

Without them, there would be no modern choreography as we see it now: experimental, sophisticated, diverse, free, thinking and questioning, exploring movement and the human body.

Types of ballets

Types of Ballets.

Ballet is one of the oldest dance genres, as well as the basis of all choreography.

Ballet is a finished product, and the preparation for it is called classical choreography. Ballet is a prepared performance with a well-thought-out sequence of movements, staged according to a certain story, or even a book. Music, dance, painting, drama, and visual arts come together to build a well-coordinated performance that opens up in front of the audience on the theater stage.

In fact,

the word "ballet" means "dancing" in Italian.

What ballet types are there?

Ballet and classical choreography are classified based on different criteria. We will look at the topic of ballet styles, genres, and techniques in detail below, as well as look at other existing classifications.

Styles of ballet

The most common and comprehensive is the categorization of ballets into styles based on their characteristics and time of origin.

Classical Ballet is the first and basic ballet style. When people say the word “ballet”, they usually mean the classical form.

Classical Ballet Type.

It is characteristic of classical dance:

  • Focusing on the story that the dancers tell through choreography, gestures, and facial expressions (although there are also classic ballet productions without a plot)
  • Classical ballet vocabulary and techniques
  • Performing the ballet to classical music composed by famous authors
  • Strict adherence to rules, techniques, and traditions
  • Literary and plot basis
  • Unity of dramaturgy and music
  • The classical ballet music is performed only by the orchestra
  • The movements tend to geometrical clarity aided by the eversion principle
  • The observance of specific legs position, arms, body, and head, and the precise adherence to the principles of the legs turning, the body verticality, and the isolation of its different parts

Brilliant examples of classical ballet are Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, and Sleeping Beauty.

As mentioned above, classical ballet is also geographically based. So, there are Russian, French, Italian, and English classical ballets. All of them have their own characteristics, traditional techniques and are known all over the world for their ballet "stars".

Ballet in the classical sense of the word is directly related to classical choreography and dance, which is subject to strict regulations and rules. In this regard, classical ballet performances also have a very strict form and vocabulary.

But the main thing is that classical ballet is a sum of laws and a certain mindset that elevates the dance art to the level of a musical and stage performance.

Romantic ballet emerged during the Romantic era, when all European, and later American, culture began to reflect on the self-worth of man and his supreme purpose.

Romantic type of ballet dances.

Romantic ballet is characterized by:

  • Focus on the drama and emotionality of the stories being told
  • The appearance of original music
  • The increased role of music, which helped create the dramaturgy and gave figurative musical characteristics to the characters
  • Opposing the real world to the world of exoticism and fantasy (hence the spread of the mystical women image)
  • Keeping the strictness form and traditions of classical choreography
  • The airiness of movement
  • Pointe shoes and short white tutus appear
  • The cult of the ballerina as a central part of the performance and star ballet dancers appear
  • Active development and use of theatrical special effects (in particular, gaslighting)

The brightest examples are Sylphide and Giselle.

Note!

You can also read the piece about Ballet History.

Neoclassical ballet became widespread precisely in the United States, where it was possible to depart from the classical rules and create a completely unique dance.

Balanchine the pioneer of the neoclassical ballet style.

Apollo Musaget is generally considered to be the first neoclassical ballet, and George Balanchine the pioneer of the style. Although one cannot ignore the influence of Isadora Duncan and her free, easy and rule-free dance. She gave art this radically new perspective on the current state of affairs. After such daring oppositions to the classical form of dance, other popular bold, original and innovative dancers, choreographers, and directors emerged.

Neoclassical dance is characterized by:

  • Classical technique enriched with free dance and sports
  • The measured tempo of the music is replaced by rhythmic
  • Absence of scenery
  • The shift of the focus from the plot to the dancer's skill
  • Saturation with complex choreographic elements
  • Lack of sumptuous and colorful costumes
  • Significant reduction in the length of the performance
  • Possible deviations from the classical form of lines and steps

The austere, clear, noble, and transparent form came to the fore in Apollo Musaget, and subsequently in other neoclassical ballets. The classical dance vocabulary, purged of decoration in plot, design, emotion, and gestures, became the ideal base for her.

Today, there are many things that fit the definition of "neoclassical," or more precisely, anything that diverges from the usual image of "romantic ballet".

Modern ballet differs greatly from classical ballet in its bolder costumes and free dance interpretation. Modern ballet does away with tutus and pointe shoes; they are replaced by loose, elongated garments worn by ballerinas to create an airy, sophisticated look. Many dancers begin to go on stage barefoot altogether.

Modern ballet.


Characteristics:

  • The use of gymnastics and acrobatics elements
  • The blurring of genre boundaries, multi-genre
  • New original interpretations of classical ballets
  • Symbolism
  • Rejection of the main postulates of classical choreography: arms and legs positions, complicated twists, and intentional lengthening of arms and legs
  • The freedom of feelings and ideas, the departure from conservatism
  • The movements are based on the natural plasticity of the body which makes it possible to perform complicated movements
  • Experimentality
  • The scenic effects are of much greater importance in contemporary ballet

The movements can be taken from national dances, new trends in plastique, and ultramodern dance styles in contemporary performances. Interpretation is also done in a new way. Many directors try to make the audience look at the classic dance from a different angle. New readings are welcome, and the more original they are, the greater success awaits them.

Ballet methods

It is important for dancers to pay special attention to strengthening the physical parameters of their bodies. Ballet dancers' systematic training is based on scientific research and a historically established system of rules. The main methods of ballet training are the methods of Vaganova, Cecchetti, the Royal Academy of Dance, the French School, Balanchine, and Bournonville. The various methods, while quite independent, can also be complementary.

The Vaganova Method

Vaganova's technique makes it possible to solve several choreographic problems at once: the future professional qualities diagnosis, the choreographic abilities education, the physical form maintenance, and the ballet aptitude evaluation.

Using a scientifically based system for choosing students and her personal experience, Vaganova was able to take the best from the French, Italian, and Russian schools of classical dance and create her own system of teaching.

Agripina Vaganova with her students, training according to the Vaganova method.

The main principle of Vaganova's entire pedagogical activity was the struggle for clean movement performance without embellishment or carelessness, the desire to achieve great expressiveness of movements with little resources. Among the absolutely new principled positions that Vaganova brought into the process of training ballet dancers, it is worth mentioning the following:

  • Back positioning that allows the body to loosen up and become expressive
  • The arm movements have two roles: to create a spiritualized image and to help the dance
  • The positioning of the head and the direction of the gaze, which follows the movements of the arms and the body
  • Distinguishing between big and small poses
  • Careful elaboration of all movements

The teachers and jurors at classical dance competitions still pay the closest attention to compliance with these requirements.

It is worth noting

that modern ballet schools following the principles of teaching according to the Vaganova method are often rebuked by the public for their cruel, demeaning, and overly demanding attitude toward their students. The criticism is not unfounded: there is much evidence of an excessively strict focus on appearance and destructive criticism of ballerinas for allegedly failing to conform to the proportions of a ballerina. This often leads to further anorexia and bulimia among dancers. Teachers and ballet dancers are divided in their opinions. The former argue that ballet form requires desperate and hard work, so there is no room for self-pity in this art. On the other hand, others believe that it is the art of dance that should be taught, not how to shape one's body.

The Cecchetti Method

Cecchetti's pedagogical practice occupied a special place in the ballet art of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Cecchetti, having learned a great deal from Russian ballet masters, synthesized the best qualities of the two different dance schools in his teaching.

Enrico Cecchetti method.

The pedagogical method he developed specifically for Russian pupils was distinguished by its clear systematization: he worked out for each day of the week a certain series of combinations for both adagio and allegro. And each day was built on one dominant pas or type of pas for both parts of the lesson.

Cecchetti's teaching principle had certain advantages. The teacher gave solid skills of dynamic rotations and chiseled stops, steady poses, and clear tempos. Movements of arms, trunk, legs acquired confidence and expression. Cecchetti's class was rigorous, physically demanding, it developed breathing, leg strength, especially the feet. The rapid rotation was achieved by a sharp " force" (simultaneously lifting on half-fingers and transferring the hands from the preparatory position to the pose of rotation) and the requirement to fix the gaze on one point during the rotations.

French School

The French Ballet School is not standardized by a single creator; it evolved from the court ceremonies of French monarchs many years ago and is considered the basis of all ballet dancer training. The French school was the one that developed the terminology of classical dance, which has been preserved to this day.

Smoothness, clarity, gracefulness, and purity of lines are characteristic of the French school of ballet. The épaulement and the port de bras are performed in a more rounded way than in the Vaganova method but less rounded than the Bournonville method. Another distinctive feature is the rapidity of the footwork.

Bournonville method

Bournonville's technique is still part of Danish ballet practice. It appeared in European theaters as early as the nineteenth century, but August Bournonville's ballets only became widely known outside of Denmark after World War II.

August Burnonville's choreography is instantly recognizable. It is distinguished by its special style, characteristic only of this master. The secret of the choreographer is hidden in the vocabulary of his ballets, in the techniques and ways of applying binding pas, in the work of his hands with a special charm. The illusion of weightless lightness is the main thing that the choreographer has brought to classical dance.

The method requires the dancer to perform the most difficult movements as if they were by the way as if the dancer himself does not know what his feet are doing, in contrast to the French and Russian traditions, which distinctly highlight the culminating pas.

The Royal Academy of Dance method

The English methodology of teaching classical dance evolved to spread this art form throughout England. The main feature of the methodology is the idea that by learning the technique of simple steps accurately and cleanly enough, it will be easier for the dancer to learn more complex and technical things. Accordingly, this school assumes slow and very careful teaching of simple steps, gradually increasing the level of complexity.

Balanchine method

The Balanchine Method is a method of teaching dancers at the School of American Ballet (a school associated with ballet in New York City) and focuses on very fast movements combined with more open use of the upper body.

Balanchine's method is characterized by intense speed, deep layers, and a strong emphasis on lines. Balanchine ballet dancers must be in good shape and very flexible. The method has many excellent hand positions and excellent and dramatic choreography.

Balanchine-method hand positions (often referred to as "Balanchine hands") tend to be more open, less curved, and often "broken" at the wrist. The layers are deep and the arabesque positions tend to be uneven, with an open hip facing the audience to achieve the illusion of a higher arabesque line. Because of the extreme nature of the Balanchine method, injuries are common.

Balanchine Ballet method.

Today, all of these techniques exist either independently or in combinations in ballet schools around the world. As a result of constant training, the dancer acquires an aesthetically beautiful body position, comprehensively developed and strong muscles, flexible ligaments, and a confident command of the body.

Ballet genres

The genre of the ballet can be:

  • Comic
  • Heroic
  • Folklore

Depending on the presence or absence of a plot, ballet can be:

  • Narrative - a classic narrative multi-act ballet.
  • Unplotted - symphonic ballet, mood ballet, miniature

By the number of acts:

  • Multi-act
  • One-act
  • Miniatures

According to the scripted basis of the ballet, there are:

  • Epic
  • Lyrical
  • Dramatic
  • Mixed (lyrical-dramatic, lyrical-epic, etc.)

Despite the fact that all these styles, genres, and types of ballet have much in common with each other, the fundamental differences in presentation, staging, and dance material still allow us to speak of completely different types of ballet.

Share which type you prefer, are you a fan of classical or contemporary ballet.

Let's discuss together why you can love such a sophisticated and complex art form.

Ballet Movies

Ballet Movies.

We have collected 14 films and 1 series, which will tell you about the life of dancers much better than us. The list includes Hollywood-style feature films, dramas, and documentaries about ballet - the most stylish ballet films that are worth watching.

Enjoy watching!

A Ballerina’s Tale (2015)

A Ballerina's Tale 2015.This is one of the most popular ballerina movies. Misty Copeland's been dancing since she was a kid. However, the teachers of the ballet school thought that at the age of 13 there was no point in starting ballet lessons. Despite the fact that an art-passionate teenager at the age of 15 won a prestigious contest, many openly hinted that the girl can not have a successful career - she has the wrong physique.

In a troupe of 80 people, she considered herself a stranger, and the directors were thinking, not knowing how to work with such a girl. The only way out was to give her a solo part.

The Red Shoes (1948)

The Red Shoes.If you want to enjoy watching a ballet movie, this picture is hardly worth bypassing. "The Red shoes" is a model drama about art as a monster that destroys its children. The film is saturated with long dancing numbers and the participation of Leonid Myasin for authenticity. It still remains an exemplary movie to which all ballet directors are trying to look up to.

Billy Elliot (2000)

Billy Elliott."Billy Elliot" is the story of a boy who wants to be a famous dancer. His father, a miner, because of gender prejudices does not consider dancing a man's pastime and categorically against his son's passion.

In a serious, in a funny way, "Billy Elliot" does not want to tell another boring story of following his dream. But it tells about growing up and normal for every teenager's desire to find the right place in life.





First Position (2011)

First Position.A documentary film about many years of training in ballet classes just for a few minutes on stage. Recently watching documentary films about ballet is more interesting than fiction. Intrigues in them are no less, and the truth of life is much more dramatic than any fictional story.

Good dynamics, interesting protagonists, to the extent of drama and facts. The film is not boring, as can be expected of the documentary.

Ballet 422 (2014)

Ballet 422 (2014).Another documentary tells the story of the debut of the young choreographer Justin Peck. The film tells the ups and downs of the creative process. In 72 minutes, viewers see how one man's idea became a reality.

Darling (2017)

Darling.It is danish film about the relationship between the two ballet dancers. Darling is a world-famous ballerina, Frans is her husband and partner in ballet. Together they plan to stage the Royal Giselle Theatre, where Darling will have the main part. During the first rehearsal, Darling falls in pain - she can no longer dance. The film tells the story of how the ballerina copes with the acceptance of injury, and it is before one of the most important events in the life of any ballet dancer.

The film shows the reverse side of the ballet dancer's life very truthfully. Moreover, the film reveals the crisis of transition from stage activities to teaching - that is, the moment when ballerina can no longer perform on stage.

The Turning Point (1977)

The Turning Point.This film is worth watching at least because it received 11 Oscar nominations and was never awarded, thus becoming one of the most famous losers in film history. Despite this, it is very deeply immersive: secondary roles in it were played by dancers of the American Ballet Theatre. The choreography was created by the famous director George Balanchine.

The Company (2003)

The Company 2003.A new creative season has begun. The promising commonwealth of young dancers gathers again under the wing of Alberto Antonelli, the ingenious director of the troupe, famous for his ruthless exactingness demand for artists. How much tension will the artists have to go through to create an unforgettable spectacle on stage one day?

"The Company" was filmed with the participation of the Chicago Joffrey Ballet. When watching it there is a feeling of almost documentary curiosity, although The Company is a feature movie. This film is not so much about the people in the ballet as about the ballet. Therefore, it is obligatory for all fans of ballet art to watch it.

Center Stage (2000)

Center Stage (2000).The main characters are young and confident, incredibly talented and ambitious dancers. They are ready to do anything to achieve success and recognition. Dance is the meaning of their lives, and they spare no effort climbing the Olympus of fame. But in ordinary life, they are ordinary people, with their problems, sorrows and joys, problems and shortcomings. But how do you become a star and still be human?

The White Crow (2019)

The White Crow (2019).A biographical drama about the legendary dancer Rudolf Nureyev and his difficult fate. The film is filled with the political context of the Soviet era, but it does not become less "dancing".

Polina (2016)

Polina.In 2017, the American wide box office released the film "Polina", telling about a Russian ballerina who moved to Paris in the hope of becoming famous. She does not want to engage in classical ballet in conservative and joyless Russia, but in contemporary dance in advanced Europe.

The main character of the film has devoted her life to ballet. She goes through grueling training, and through love difficulties, not without intrigue. The viewers see the story of the evolution of talent, tenacity, and real ballerina, who goes through many difficulties.




Dancer (2017)

Dancer.The film "Dancer" directed by Stephen Kantor tells about the life and work of the famous ballet dancer Sergei Polunin, who became widely known after the release of the clip Hozier - Take Me To Church directed by David LaChapelle.

The film is about the biography of the performer. Polunin was accepted into the Royal Ballet Company of London at the age of 17. Two years later he became the youngest premier in the company's history. However, the film tells not a classic success story, but tells about the emptiness that a person meets on top - and how to start life again, but by its own rules.

Center Stage: On Point (2016)

Center Stage- On Point (2016).It is musical drama about the modernization of classical ballet and the fight against stereotypes in the dance art. The story is about a girl whose talent is darkened by her older sister, a brilliant ballerina. The film shows the young girl's struggle for deserved recognition of her talent and her own dance vision.

The film is not without love stories and typical plot turns. This is another story of a dancer, whose path is accompanied by defeats and victories. But from that should not be considered bad - in this film will be a lot of dance, music and extravaganza, which is sure to please the youth audience.

Black Swan (2010)

Black Swan."Black Swan" is a modern story about ballet dancer Nina (played by Natalie Portman), whose life is changing as she gets the main role in Swan Lake. The film shows well the daily hard work of ballet dancers, tells about the strained relations between “ballet mom” and children-dancer. The life of the main character is inseparable from her professional activities because ballet and getting her starring role in the legendary ballet production - became the meaning of her life.

"Black Swan" should please not only fans of classical dance, but also those who love drama stories about self-reflection, which sometimes leads to schizophrenic tendencies.

But it should be noted that in this tape could not maintain a balance between acting and ballet. There are very visible cuts, understudies, misconstructed classes, the inability of the protagonists to dance professionally. Yes, Natalie Portman is good, but she is definitely not a ballerina and the montage could not disguise it.

Pina (2011)

Pina.The film is not quite about classical ballet, but rather about modern dance - Art Nouveau. But we can't ignore mentioning it in this list. Wim Wenders' documentary is about the legendary German dancer and choreographer Pina Bausch, who passed away in the summer of 2009. While watching the film you understand where this or that "chips" and the movements of the contemporary dance appeared in due time.

Series «Flesh and Bone»

Flesh and Bone.The series, something similar to the "Black Swan": also about paranoia, mistrustfulness, and manic aspiration for absolute perfection, which, as you know, does not happen. There is a lot of dancing - though not as much as one would like - but even more ballet and melodramatic clichés, from which one even enjoys: and the choreographer, without a shadow of shame seducing young dancers, and drugs, and categorical tyranny. In short, behind every performance of Swan Lake, there is always an unpleasant inside.

We are sure that the list can be completed for a very long time!

Please write in comments if you think this list is incomplete because there is no film about the ballet you've watched.

Or let us know if you've had an interesting time watching one of these films.

Feedback will be welcome!

Ballet History

Ballet History.

Ballet is a relatively young art form, with the earliest recorded mention of ballet dating back to the 15th century, or about 400 years ago.

The origins of the term 'ballet' are uncertain, with some sources suggesting it derives from the Latin word 'balle' (meaning dancing) and others suggesting it comes from the French 'balleto.' However, it is clear that ballet originated in a specific place. In the following article, we will explore the history of the development and popularization of this elegant art form.

Origin - 16th century

It is known that ballet originated during the Renaissance in Italy. The first mention of the word "ballet" is attributed to the court dance teacher Domenico da Piacenza. It was he who first proposed to combine several dances into one, perform them with a solemn finale and call them ballet.

The progenitor of classical dance is those forms of dance that were performed by hired dance masters for the nobles and princes at their celebrations. It was at such events that the original choreographic forms, the splendor of the spectacle, and the elements of drama in dance performances were born. Who would have thought that the usual entertainment of sovereigns would over time turn into art that millions of people around the world enjoy today?

A history of ballet.However, as a genre of art, the ballet took shape a little later. As we said earlier, ballet originated in Italy, but the first ballet production of The Queen's Comedy Ballet was presented not in Italy, but in France in 1581. It was staged at the court of Catherine Medici of Italy, wife of the French King Charles VIII. It was she who brought fashion for curious court ballets to France. The production was directed by the famous Italian choreographer and violinist Baltazarini di Beljoyozo from Italy. Since then, the ballet has moved to a professional stage where it occupied a certain place in opera and dramatic productions.


Mid 17th - 18th centuries

The classical dance form continued to evolve about a century later, with the coronation of Louis XIV in France on June 7, 1654. Louis XIV was not only a fan of ballet, but also participated in productions himself, performing in the "Cassandra Ballet" at the age of 12 in 1651. He earned the nickname "Sun King" for his role as the Rising Sun in "The Royal Ballet of the Night". In 1661, Louis XIV established the Royal Academy of Dance to preserve dance traditions, with 13 of the best dance masters appointed to the Academy. Pierre Boschant, a royal dance teacher, was appointed director and later defined the five main positions of classical dance.

Louis XIV made the ballet stand out during his reign as a separate form of performance, different from balls. It was then that the division of dancers into amateurs and professionals appeared.

Fact!

 

Before 1681 only men danced in ballet. The first ballerina was the legendary dancer La Fontaine.

Then costumes and music were more important during performances than the dance technics. Girls danced in high heels wearing heavy dresses and masks. The costume of a man, although it was a little lighter (hence the greater grace and ease of movement), was still far from the clothes in which you could dance easily and freely.

The first to free the dancers from the shackles of these inconvenient costumes was a real reformer in the world of ballet art - the French ballet master Jean Georges Nover. He banned masks and gave the actors the opportunity to wear light suits that did not stiffen movement. Each innovation made dance more meaningful, and dance technique - more complicated.

Towards the end of the 17th century, court ballet achieved some success: it was fully funded by the authorities, which used it to exalt their own greatness. Gradually, the ballet completely separated from the opera and turned into an independent art.

One of the successful followers of Noverre became Jean Doberval, who in 1789 staged the ballet "Futile Precaution". A simple story about the unhappy love of a young peasant and a village girl was presented on stage. The absence of stories about the adventures of the gods, majestic masks and corsets made the production natural, and the dance free.

Dance class in opera 1872. Edgar Degas (1834-1917).

Romanticism - late 18th - early 19th centuries

The strongest influence on ballet was the direction of romanticism, which erupted in the late 18th century. In a romantic ballet, the female dancer first began to wear pointe shoes. Maria Taglioni was the first to do so, completely changing the previous ideas about ballet. In the ballet "Sylphide" she represented a fragile creature from the other world. The success was overwhelming.

Romanticism brought into the ballet the image of an incorporeal spirit - a ballerina who hardly touches the earth. In the same period, the roles of dancers are changing. Men turned into moving statues, which existed only to support the ballerina. Then the rising stars of female ballet completely and successfully overshadowed men.



Ballet history fact!

 

By the way, this situation was slightly corrected by the rise of the Nijinsky star from the Russian Ballet in the early 20th century. By this time, traditional for us ballet costumes, choreography, stage sets, props had already developed, in a word, everything had become almost what it is now. Eventually, it was a Russian ballet that started the revolution in ballet art.

Over time, the peak of the popularity of romantic ballet had already passed, and Paris, as the center of classical dance, began to fade away.

Russian ballet and its influence on world classical dance

The popularity of classical dance in Europe had an impact on ballet in Russia.

Ballet History Timeline.The first ballet school in Russia was opened in 1738 (now the Vaganova Academy of Russian Ballet). At the same time, Peter I made dancing the main part of court etiquette, so the court youth was obliged to learn dancing. Thus, for example, the dance became a compulsory lesson in the Schlyakhet Cadet Corps in St. Petersburg. Since then, cadets have started to participate in ballet dances.

The dance instructor in the corps was Jean-Baptiste Lande. He understood that the nobility would not devote their lives to the art of dance. Therefore, in September 1737, Lande filed a petition in which he justified the need for a new special school where girls and boys of simple origin would be trained in choreography. Soon, such permission was given. From that moment on the training and development of dancers, for whom the ballet was a real profession, began.

At the beginning of the 19th-century Russian ballet art reached creative maturity thanks to the work of French ballet master Charles-Frederic-Louis Didlot. Didlot strengthens the role of the corps de ballet, the connection between dance and pantomime, asserts the priority of female dance. Russian dancers have brought expressiveness and sublimity to the dance.

The music of the legendary composer P. Tchaikovsky was the impetus for a new stage in the history of Russian ballet. Swan Lake, staged to Tchaikovsky's music in 1877, gave rise to the fact that music for ballet began to be taken seriously. It was in the composer's work that the romantic ballet became established. Tchaikovsky paid special attention to music, transforming it from an accompanying element into a powerful instrument that helps the dance to subtly capture and reveal emotions and feelings. Before that, music was considered just an accompaniment to dance.

Ballet Swan Lake as a revolution of Russian classical dance.

20th century

The beginning of the 20th century is characterized by an innovative search, the desire to overcome stereotypes and conventions of the academic ballet of the 19th century. One of the main innovators of this period in Russia is Sergey Diaghilev. In 1908, the annual performances of Russian ballet dancers in Paris began, organized by Diaghilev. The names of dancers from Russia became known throughout the world. But the first in this row is the name of the incomparable Anna Pavlova. Also, under his leadership in 1911, the ballet company was first organized.

Anna Pavlova.
Diaghilev's seasons - especially the first ones to include the ballets Firebird, Petrushka and Sacred Spring - played a significant role in popularizing Russian culture in Europe and helped establish a fashion for everything Russian. Thus, the passion of Europeans for traditional Russian costume gave rise to the new fashion. It was then, under the influence of Russian artists' skill, that the western ballet took a second breath.

In 1929 Diaghilev died. Over time, his troupe broke up. One of its members - George Balanchine - was developing ballet in the USA and founded the New York City Ballé company. He became one of the most influential choreographers of the 20th century. In his dances, Balanchine strove for classical completeness of form, for impeccable purity of style. In many of his works, there is virtually no plot of any kind. The choreographer himself believed that the plot in the ballet is absolutely irrelevant, the main thing being the music and the movement itself. Today Balanchine's ballets are performed in all countries of the world. He had a decisive influence on the development of twentieth-century choreography, not breaking with tradition, but boldly renewing it.




Another protege of Diaghilev, Serge Lifar, led the Paris Opera Ballet Company and for a long time was the most influential figure in French ballet.

The second half of the 20th century

In the 1950s, the dramatic ballet was in crisis. Strengthening the entertainment and pomp of performances, choreographers made futile attempts to preserve the ballet genre. Until the end of the 1950s, there was a breakthrough. Choreographers and dancers of a new generation revived the forgotten genres - one-act ballet, ballet symphony, choreographic miniature. And since the 1970s, ballet troupes have emerged that were independent of opera and ballet theaters. Their number is constantly growing, among them, there are studios of free dance and modern dance. But today the academic ballet and the school of classical dance are still relevant.

FAQ

Contemporary ballet history where it started?

Ballet history started in Italy in the 15th century. It is the time of first mention of the word “ballet”. But the starting point is 1581, the year of the first ballet production The Queen's Comedy Ballet.

Who were the 8 main figures who influenced the history of ballet?

  1. Catherine Medici;
  2. Louis XIV;
  3. Jean Georges Nover;
  4. Jean Doberval;
  5. Jean-Baptiste Lande;
  6. P. Tchaikovsky;
  7. Sergey Diaghilev;
  8. George Balanchine.

What is the history of ballet?

  • 16th century – the origin of ballet, first ballet production.
  • Mid 17th century – appearing the division of ballet dancers into amateurs and professionals.
  • The end of 17th century – ballet is favourite authorities form of art, it funded by authorities.
  • 18th century – abandoning lavish costumes, the dance becomes freer and more professional, start of Russian ballet.
  • 18th - early 19th centuries – the era of romanticism in ballet, the female dancer first began to wear pointe shoes.
  • 1877 – to the music of Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake ballet was staged.
  • the beginning of the 20th century is characterized by an innovative search, Sergei Diaghilev's ballets are becoming popular throughout the world.
  • In the 1950s, the dramatic ballet was in crisis.
  • And since the 1970s, the rebirth of ballet as we know it today begins.

What monarch reigned during the rise of professionalism in ballet history?

Professionalism in ballet emerged in the 18th and 19th centuries. During this time, several monarchs reigned in various countries where ballet was popular, including:

  • King Louis XIV of France, who was the patron of the Paris Opera Ballet and played a significant role in the development of ballet as a professional art form.
  • Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom, who was a patron of the Royal Ballet and supported the development of classical ballet in England.
  • Tsar Nicholas I of Russia, who was a patron of the Imperial Ballet in St. Petersburg and played a significant role in the development of Russian ballet.
  • King Ludwig II of Bavaria, who was a patron of the Munich Opera Ballet and supported the development of ballet in Germany.

It's worth noting that while these monarchs played important roles in the development of professional ballet, the rise of professionalism in ballet was also influenced by a variety of other factors, including the growth of theaters and opera houses, the increasing popularity of ballet as a form of entertainment, and the efforts of dancers, choreographers, and other professionals to establish ballet as a respected art form.

Ballet Moves for Beginners

Ballet Moves for Beginners.

Are you dreaming about a career as a ballerina or just want to try classical dance for yourself? These simple (ha-ha) exercises will help you understand what ballet is and is it fits you.

Are you ready? There are 9 ballet movements that tone the muscles of the whole body. Let's go.

PLIÉ

Plié in the first position is one of the basic elements of ballet. Stand in the first position and start bending your knees slowly until your knees are over your thumbs. Hold on to this position for a second and then return smoothly and quickly upwards. Complete the movement in the first position.

Plié should be performed in all 5 main ballet positions. There are two types of pliés: demi and grand.

GRAND PLIÉ

The Grand Plié also performs from the first position, but unlike the Plié, you sit much lower, tearing your heels off the floor.

RELEVE

Releve is a basic movement that almost all newcomers learn. To perform a simple releve, take the first position and hold the ballet barre with one hand. Tension the caviar muscles and pull up to be on your socks. Transfer all the weight to the part of the foot that is under your fingers. This position is called the demi-pointe. Then gently fall down.

Try to do single-leg releve as well. This exercise is good for strengthening the back surface of the hip and calf.

Over time, you try to connect the plié and the releve. First, make a plié and then climb up in the releve using the strength of your feet on climbing.

BATTEMENT TENDU

Battement tendu is an exercise in which the working leg is either pulled aside and then returned, or bent and unbent. There are several different types of battement with which you can practice the ability to correctly move your leg back to the original position, bend and stretch the leg, pull it out and lift it to any height in any direction and at any speed.

JETE

In this exercise, the working leg moves in three directions: forward, to the side, back and again to the side. But the sock is detached from the floor every time. The leg is raised to the position in which it will make from the other about 45 degrees. After making the whole chain of movements, repeat the jete from the other leg.

ROND

Push your right foot forward without tearing your sock off the floor. Smoothly, drawing a semicircle, move it to the side and then back. Return to the original position, repeat 6 times with each foot.

FONDU

Lower into the demi-plie by bending the supporting left leg and leading the sock to the right of the ankle stone. Unbend the supporting leg and pull the right one forward. Return to its original position. Repeat the movement by pulling the right foot to the side, but then lower into the demi plié, leading the right foot behind the shin with the left foot. Straighten the supporting leg by pulling the right foot back. Move the side again and return to the original position. Perform the exercise 4 times from each leg.

SAUTE

Saute is a jump with no position change. It is convenient for learning the mechanics of jumping with novice students. Its study is started separately, with pauses before each jump. Saute consists of three main points: half-sitting (preparation for the jump), the jump itself and landing (half-sitting). The jump is made by jumping with the pushing of heels from the floor.

During the jump, the legs in the air are stretched in the knees to the limit, toes are stretched too, and the body is straight, no tension, the legs in the air retain the given position. When landing after the jump, the socks touch the floor first, then the whole foot is lowered and a half-squat is made evenly on both feet. Keep the body straight.

ADAGIO

Get in the fifth position. Push your right foot forward as in a battement tendu, but then raise it, straight, to the parallel with the floor. Go back to the fifth position and also through the battement tendu lift the foot to the parallel with the floor to the side. Then make the same move back, again to the side and return to the original position. Repeat with the other leg.

So, are you ready to wake up the ballerina inside of you?

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