Where Did Ballet Originate

Have you wondered, where did ballet originate? A journey through time gives the answer. Graceful ballerinas traipse across the stage, standing on pointe and pirouetting fancy patterns. A lot has changed since the Renaissance, when court dances spurred the beginnings of ballet. 

Renaissance Italy
During the Renaissance in Italy, court dancing gained popularity. The wealthy families held feasts and parties. Dancing was a natural part of the celebration. But in an effort to outdo another family, the dancing became more and more elaborate. The dancing, a precursor to ballet, was a combination of music, painting, and poetry.

One of the wealthiest Italian families, the de Medici clan, pushed dancing to the extreme. Elaborate costumes gained the party-goers attention as loosely-written plotlines tied together the dance scenes. However, Italy is not the primary answer to the question "where did ballet originate?"

French Crème de la Crème
A de Medici daughter, Catherine, married France's King Henry. The couple staged balletti, or dances, quite often in the royal palace. When Catherine's sister married, a French ballet was written for the event.

The French developed the proscenium stage, and now, ballet earned a new respect. The audience towered above the dance floor and sat in galleries, where they could easily take note of the intricate patterns formed by the dancers.

King Louis XIV had a strong interest in ballet and formed the first dance academy in 1661. Ballet terminology was devised and introduced at the school. Now, dancers not only learned and fine-tuned technique, they also added jumps and acrobatic moves.

Russian Influences
Eventually, the dance found its way to Russia, and the form gained new interpretations. In the 19th century, Russian dancers worked to preserve the integrity of the dance. With the evolution of full-length ballet, a new form of storytelling evolved. Set dances, coupled with mimed scenes, made for an evening of entertainment well worth the price of admission.

Where did ballet originate? European and Russian influences shaped the dance into the form the dance takes today.

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