Ballet History and Vocabulary GOAL: TO DEEPEN YOUR KNOWLEDGE OF BALLET HISTORY AND GEORGE BALANCHINE.
Where did Ballet begin? *Ballet originated as court dances (mainly Pas de Boureesand balances/waltzes) in Italy, but quickly migrated to France where they further developed steps and gave them names (which is why all the ballet terms are French). The dances were for royalty, and only for men. *King Louis XIV, who ruled France during the late 1600s, and his nobles, took part in the ballets given at his court. *In 1661, the Sun King, a name he acquired from a role he danced in high-heeled shoes with large guilt buckles complete with shining sun rays, founded the Royal Academy of Dance, which later became the Paris Opera Ballet, the first professional instruction for ballet.
… *It was his outward pointing of toes to show off his shiny shoe buckles laid the foundation for the five basic ballet positions set down by ballet master Pierre Beachamps. It should be noted that up until 1681 all female roles performed at Royal Academy of Dance were danced by young men. This was supposedly a strength issue. Enormous headdresses, full heavy skirts and weighty corsets were thought incapable of being carried by the frame of a woman. * It was not until the performance of Le Triomphe de l'Amour in 1681 that the first female dancers performed professionally.
… Around 1830 the ballerina arose as the central part of a ballet, which was previously dominated by men. Pointe?? Marie Taglioni, the first ballerina to dance La Sylphide in Paris 1832, was also rumored to be the first ballerina to dance on her toes in ballet slippers, creating the first pointe shoe.
How did Ballet get to America? *Russian influence of choreographer George Balanchine that brought ballet to America. The now world-famous New York City Ballet was cofounded by Balanchine, who worked for Diaghilev's Ballets Russes as a young man, and who was invited to work in the United States by a wealthy patron of the arts, Lincoln Kirstein. *Kirstein knew little about ballet and Balanchine knew just as little about America. Balanchine moved towards the creation of plotless ballets where the motivation was movement in response to music rather than to a storyline. His ballet Jewels, which he choreographed in 1967 was the first evening-length ballet of this type.
Who is George Balanchine? 1904-1983 St. Petersburg, Russia Balanchine created over 400 works including dances for Broadway, Hollywood movies, operas, the circus and the ballet. His range of choreography spanned the neoclassical (Agon, The Four Temperments, Symphony in Three Movements) to the story ballet (The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, Coppelia) to the romantic (Vienna Waltzes, Jewels, Symphony in C). In 1933 at the invitation of Lincoln Kirstein, he came to America and co-founded The School of American Ballet in 1934 and the New York City Ballet in 1948.
Jewels by Balanchine http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0VCDfThwTaY