History of Ballet - Where, When & Who Invented Ballet | Move Dance

History of Ballet

By Move Dance on 15th May 2024

Ballet is the art of expressing emotion through graceful movement with unbelievable technique. From your first trip to the ballet to stepping on pointe in a  ballet leotard, history, and passion are at the heart of ballet dance. Ballet has transformed in many ways and we want to dive deeper into the history of ballet dance! In the article, we will investigate where ballet originated from, who invented ballet, and how it has transformed into the graceful movement we know today.

The Birth Of Ballet:

So, where did ballet originate? History shows that ballet began in the Italian Resistance in the 15th Century. During this time ballet was a source of court entertainment at grand events. The King of France, King Louis XIII and his son Louis XIV even took part in these performances. King Louis XIV went on to establish two ballet academies in France. Next, the history of ballet dance takes us to the 17th century. The Académie Royale de Musique, started to train professional ballet dancers however they were known as the dancers of the opera, only accompanying opera music with their movements. At this time, most dancers were male and it wasn’t until 1681 that the first female principal dancer was named.

The Classical Era:

Our brief history of ballet leaps us into the 19th century, when ballet started to tell a story so ballet such as Giselle became popular. Pointe work became a constant of ballet performances, adding to the hard technique of ballet we know today. From here, the history of ballet timeline takes us to the 20th century which saw the rise in popularity of Swan Lake and other classical ballets. The Imperial Ballet School in Russia started to train ballet dancers and famous choreographers such as Serge Diaghilev brought a classical style that pushed the boundaries of ballet to a modern style. So, the 19th & 20th centuries were profound moments shaping the history of ballet.

Ballet Costumes:

It’s not just the movement that has changed during the history of ballet but also the  ballet costumes. When ballet was invented, dancers wore heeled shoes to dance and it wasn’t untilt the 17th century the switch to ballet shoes took place. Before the 20th century, dance skirts were over the knee and heavy which made it hard for dancers to perform. Skirts were shortened to above the knee to show off dancers' pointe work as the hard technique weaved it’s way into performances.

Ballet Today:

Today, ballet continues to push the boundaries of art and technique, dancers pointe work has become ever more technical and dancers go beyond limits to achieve a graceful routine. Ballet has also changed within society, embracing diversity and inclusivity. Furthermore, the ballet core trend has allowed ballet to slip into fashion, solidifying its prominent position in society.

Thank you for reading where ballet originated and who invented ballet in our brief history of ballet. Want to go further than ballet, read our history of dance blog to dive into different dance genres. Preparing for a show? See our top tips on looking after your tutu or shop dance tights

Move Dance Team