Classical dance, cement of the dance
Hi my lovely dancers!
Today, I am going to talk about the pillar of the dance. Do you have an idea? Classical dance of course ! “Old” of more than four centuries, it is the heir to the court dance practiced by the kings and queens of France and Italy. The great ballet masters gradually established its vocabulary. It will be enriched through contact with different generations of choreographers.
The favourite activity of crowned heads
From the Renaissance onwards, the European royal courts began to dance. Italy is a pioneer in the art of dance. Dance masters codified the steps and wrote the first treaties on dance teaching. In France, François I introduced dance to the court. Increasingly complex ballets were choreographed. These were balls in which each participant performed very elaborate geometric figures.
The Triumph of Romanticism
Romantic ballet appeared in the 19th century. It contributes to the evolution of classical technique. Women relegated the dancers to the background. Another revolution: they danced with pointe shoes. Many ballerinas are crowned. A true “star”, Marie Taglioni triumphed in La Sylphide, the romantic ballet par excellence. All the women of the time tried to resemble her and went on a diet in an attempt to copy her slender appearance.
|MARIE TAGLIONI AS LA SYLPHIDE, 1832
In the 19th century, the choreographer Marius Petipa was the author of the great ballets that still make up the classical repertoire. We owe masterpieces such as Swan Lake, The Nutcracker and Sleeping Beauty to this man from Marseille, who lived most of his life in Russia. He gives the academic ballet a rigorous structure and highlights the pas de deux performed by the principal couple of dancers.
|MARIUS PETIPA, 1890
Classical dance is based on several main principles including the en dehors (the legs are turned outwards from the hips) and the five basic leg positions of first, second, third, fourth and fifth, which begin and end the steps.
|THE FIVE LEG POSITIONS IN BALLET, DRAWING BY ANTOINE ANTIN
A ballet class always proceeds in the same way: a series of muscle warm-up and body positioning exercises; then students move to the middle for exercises and sequences (e.g., adage, clearances, pirouettes, jumps, merry-go-round and curtsy).