History of Ballet Eras
A Timeless Journey

History of Ballet goes back 600 years and it has been a journey of change, development and new eras. It is fascinating to uncover each of the contrasting times in ballet, so you must discover the 7 distinct eras in ballet history.

Ballet is always growing and moving with the time, trends and culture. Even now, ballet is continuing to move forward with the past eras yet develop new trends too.

Through the centuries, ballet picks up new styles and forms eras that will be made into the ballet history.

The pre-history of Ballet occurred in Italy in the 1400's and after this early beginning in ballet, the 7 eras gradually developed.

I have summarized the 7 eras in a clear, concise and simple way for you to understand more on ballet history.

history of ballet

The History of Ballet eras -

    1. Ballet de Cour (Renaissance)

      This era was all about entertainment.The ballet de cour was performed by aristocrats from the royal courts of Europe.

      'Ballo' (Ballet) was brought in from Italy to France in the 1530's when Italian Catherine Medici married Henry 11 of France.

      Ballet was so popular that by the year 1661, the first ballet school open in France. It was begun by Louis XIV.

      At first, only men were allowed to dance. Women were allowed to join in 1681, but they had to wear floor length gowns.

    2. Opera Ballet (Baroque Peroid)

      This era was called Opera Ballet because throughout the 1600's and 1700's, (until 1789) the dancers also sang and recited poems.

    3. Ballet d'Action (Classical Period)

      This era occurred during the late 1700's and full of expression and performance.

      The dancers did not rely on having elaborate costumes and props, but they expressed their character and emotion through their bodies and faces.

    4. Transition era or Neoclassical-Romanticism

      The early 1800's was the transition from the classical era to the new extravagant Romantic era.

history of ballet

    5. Romantic Ballet Era

      Between the years 1831 and 1848, ballet become very pretty, elegant and graceful.

      The female ballet dancers ruled the Romantic era because of their skill to do pointe ballet.

      The male ballet dancers were not having as much attention during this era.

    6. Russian Imperial Ballet

      During the late 1800's Russia saved ballet. If it wasn't for ballet in Russia, ballet may have died out due to it's unpopularity elsewhere.

      The court of the Russian Tsars was a place where the tradition and skills of the ballet kept going.

    7. Diaghilev Era (Modernism)

      This era was between 1909 and 1929. It was driven by famous Diaghilev who was the leading director of the Ballet Russes.

      Diaghilev developed a new way of ballet, interpreting music and trained leading lights to become legends including Marie Rambert.

      This launched the new era of modernism from emerged into the ballet we know and love today.

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