Ballet Dance

Written by Jill Morrison
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Ballet dance is an art form that is performed on stage for live audiences. Ballet technique is very specific and was established hundreds of years ago. Many other styles of dance can be seen in live performances and many were inspired by the art form of ballet. Ballet is the most classic and recognizable style of dance because the steps and technique for ballerinas are so exact.

Elements of Ballet Dance

Though ballet technique is very distinct, ballet dance performances may differ considerably. Dancers will apply their ballet techniques to dances that are created by a choreographer. The choreographer will select certain ballet steps and link them together to form a dance for performance. The choreographer may use a theme for each dance and this will be reflected by the steps, sets, props, music, and the costumes.

Scenery and props are often used to create a specific atmosphere or time period for a ballet performance. For instance, set pieces for the ballet Don Quixote represent the Spanish Renaissance. Elaborate stage settings and costumes were common in the early years of ballet. In many modern ballets, scenery and costumes are minimized to draw more attention to the actual movement. Twyla Tharp and Merce Cunningham are popular modern choreographers who have adopted this method and sometimes do not even use music in ballet performances.

The attire for ballerinas is often as specific as the technique of ballet dance. Black leotards with pink tights are a standard for students taking ballet classes. Ballerinas are required to wear their hair pulled back in tight buns for rehearsal and for performance. Ballerinas are usually costumed in leotards with short tutus or flowing skirts. They typically wear pink tights, with pink ballet slippers or pointe shoes. The colors of black and white are also acceptable for modern ballet tights and shoes.


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