Do you know who invented ballet? The answer to this question isn't just one person. The dance's history is loaded with different people who perfected certain forms that make ballet the art form it is today.
During the Renaissance, an early form of ballet was practiced in Italy. Court ballet was a conglomeration of dancing, music, painting, and poetry. Social court dances became so popular that the rich and famous tried to outdo one another when it came to arranging parties. The de Medici family, spurred by daughter Catherine's delight for the dance, staged multiple court dances and can be credited with introducing a passion for ballet, not the exact answer to the question "who invented ballet?".
Italian court dances were held during banquets, and many times, the action of the dance related to the main course of the meal. Dancers wore elaborate costumes.
Catherine de Medici married King Henry of France and staged balletti, the Italian term for dances. The French fine-tuned ballet but cannot really credited as the answer to "who invented ballet?". When Catherine's sister married in France, the first full-length ballet premiered following the ceremony. The French are also responsible for adjusting the traditional stage-audience seating arrangement. The audience sat in the galleries above the dance floor. From this viewpoint, the complex movements came to life in vibrant patterns.
French court ballets featured dance sequences connected by a small plotline. The purpose of the ballet was to entertain the rich and famous. Dancers wore beautiful costumes, the stage was set with detailed scenery and stage effects emphasized important elements of the dance.
King Louis XIV took interest in ballet and, in 1661, he formed the Academie Royale de Danse. For nearly ten years, the King danced in the ballet troupe. At the Academie, ballet vocabulary was defined and expanded as dancers dared to add impressive jumps and amazing acrobatics to the ballet.
The roots of Romantic ballet spread across Europe and eventually established itself in Russia. Like their European counterparts, ballet was meant as a means of entertainment for royalty. Russian ballet was available to anyone. Even the poor could afford a ticket in the rayok, or paradise gallery.
Full-length story ballet consisting of combined set dances and mimed scenes grew in popularity. Swan Lake is a well-known example of the Russian style. In the early 1900s, Russian ballet companies sparked interest in ballet in the United States and Western Europe while performing there.
The history of ballet includes bits and pieces of the regions that originated and expanded the dance. However, the answer to "who invented ballet? is that no single person or culture can be credited with its development.
The history of ballet dance is an object lesson in the effectiveness of cultural melting pots.
Where did ballet originate? No one place has a singular claim on the art form.
American ballet history hasn't been long-lived, but it has made a big impact.
Ballet terms come in a hodge-podge of different languages and can be hard for the neophyte to follow.