History of Ballet in Different Eras

History of Ballet in Different Eras

The history of ballet is separated in diverse famous European periods. Before we jump to those, let us discover first where this dance originated.

When Louis XIV was hailed king, his hobby was strongly supported and encouraged by Italian Cardinal Mazarin. In 1653, as a teenager, he achieved his most memorable feat as a dancer who wore a fancy golden Roman- cut corset and a kilt of golden rays. In 1661, Louis XIV established the Academie Royale de Danse in a room of the Louvre, the world’s first ballet school. At the court, Moliere collaborated with Lully where Moliere was choreographing the steps and Lully was composing the music. There was also another ballet master, Pierre Beauchamps, who worked with them in the interludes of the dramatic parts. Beauchamps was then appointed by Loius XIV as superintendent of the king’s ballets in the Academia Royale de Danse. Now, Beauchamps is considered as one of the renowned “fathers of ballet” where he is also credited for standardizing the initial five foot positions of the dance.

* History of Ballet in the Renaissance Era
It was here that society started to focus on the individual rather than the whole. As a result, it was during this time that the male and female dancers became an “ideal” man and woman, as they are today. During the 1400’s, there were quite a few men who are considered to be the earliest “ballet masters.” Domenico da Piacenza was well known as a dance teacher and choreographer throughout Europe.

* History of Ballet in the 1740’s Era
In 1738, the Russian Monarchy established the St. Petersburg school – the world’s second oldest ballet academy. After about 1735, England started paying a lot more attention to ballet. Italian Gaspero Angiolili and French-Swiss Jean Georges Noverre had not pursued the ballet d’ action on their own. Because of the huge costumes worn by the ballet dancers of the day, it was hard for them to dance, and because they wore leather masks, it was hard for them to act. Noverre pushed to change the conventional costume of ballet dancers. In 1763, Jason and Medea were staged without masks. With the facial expressions of the dancers visible, the “vividly expressive show” was sometimes shocking for the audience.

* History of Ballet in the Pre- Romantic Era
As Ballet entered the nineteenth century, it entered a transitional phase. During the pre-romantic era, male dancers reached their peak. It was during that time that ballerinas first started dancing on the very tips of their toes (en pointe). Italian Marie Taglioni (1804- 1884) became the lady who was traditionally credited with being the first dancer to dance en pointe.

* History of Ballet in the Romantic Era
The Romantic age more or less began with the staging of Giselle. With the reasonably new skill of dancing en pointe improving, the ladies ruled at that time. In Russia and Denmark, however, men advanced alongside women, as the ballet in those countries was still supported by the court of the royalty. The Russians also got on the “ballet bandwagon” in a big way.

* History of Ballet in the Modern Era
After the Russian Revolution ballet was saved by Anatoli Lunacharsky, the first ever People’s Commissar for Enlightenment when he stated that art “creates human types and situations, which we live on from  century to century and which are real to millions of people.” During the 1930s in Leningrad, Agrippina Vaganova made artistic director of the former Imperial Ballet. In 1961, just as Margot Fonteyn was about to retire, the world’s spotlight moved to Russian Rudolf Nureyev (1938-1993). After starting late at the ballet academy in Leningrad, Nureyev made Soviet cultural news for his “impassioned and powerful dancing” and was also noted by the security police as paying far too much attention to the west.