Portal:Ballet

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Ballet

Ballet (French: [balɛ]) is a type of performance dance that originated during the Italian Renaissance in the fifteenth century and later developed into a concert dance form in France and Russia. It has since become a widespread, highly technical form of dance with its own vocabulary based on French terminology. It has been globally influential and has defined the foundational techniques used in many other dance genres and cultures. Ballet has been taught in various schools around the world, which have historically incorporated their own cultures and as a result, the art has evolved in a number of distinct ways. See glossary of ballet.

A ballet, a work, consists of the choreography and music for a ballet production. Ballets are choreographed and performed by trained ballet dancers. Traditional classical ballets are usually performed with classical music accompaniment and use elaborate costumes and staging, whereas modern ballets, such as the neoclassical works of American choreographer George Balanchine, often are performed in simple costumes (e.g., leotards and tights) and without the use of elaborate sets or scenery.

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Ballet technique is the foundational principles of body movement and form used in ballet. It is an important aspect of ballet performance because ballet (especially classical ballet) puts great emphasis on the method and execution of movement. The techniques found in classical ballet are a framework for many other styles of dance, including jazz and contemporary ballet.

Aspects of ballet technique include body alignment and posture, turnout (rotating legs outward at the hips), toe pointing, pulling up, and ballon (exhibiting the appearance of gravity-defying lightness during leaps). Pointe technique is the part of ballet technique concerned with dancing on the tips of fully extended feet. Ballet technique is largely consistent throughout the world, though there are minor variations among the different styles of classical ballet. Together with stylistic differences, these variations produce an aesthetic and physicality of performance that is unique to each style.

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Taglioni in a lithograph of 1839
Marie Taglioni (23 April 1804 – 22 April 1884) was a ballet dancer of the Romantic ballet era, a central figure in the history of European dance. She was one of the most celebrated ballerinas of the romantic ballet, which was cultivated primarily at Her Majesty's Theatre in London, and at the Théâtre de l'Académie Royale de Musique of the Paris Opera Ballet. She is credited with (though not confirmed) being the first ballerina to truly dance en pointe..

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Tutu by Edgar Degas
Credit: Tutu by Edgar Degas

A ballet tutu is a skirt worn as a costume in a ballet performance, often with attached bodice. It might be single layer, hanging down, or multiple layers starched and strutting out.

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Billy Elliot the Musical is a stage musical with music and lyrics by Sir Elton John. It began as a movie of the same title in 2000. The story is set in Durham, England during the 1980s miners strike. Billy (the son of a miner) has to undergo various hardships after discovering a love of dance. He eventually wins a place at the Royal Ballet School and the film ends with a view into the future, where we see the adult Billy (Adam Cooper) performing the lead role in Matthew Bourne's production of the ballet Swan Lake.

The stage musical opened in 2005 at the Victoria Palace Theatre in London's West End, costing an estimated £5.5 million. An Australian production opened at the Capitol Theatre, Sydney in 2007 and a Broadway production opened at the Imperial Theatre, New York City in 2008. A new production is planned in Seoul, South Korea. In London, the dream sequence in Act II features Barnaby Meredith, a graduate of the Royal Ballet School, who danced with Dutch National Ballet prior to joining the cast of the musical. The New York production features Stephen Hanna of the New York City Ballet.

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