Theater Arts – Ballet
The ancient Greeks were known to be great warriors and artists. People were known to be blessed with talents
in fields such as theater, painting, sculpturing, and poetry. Theater itself was one field which included
many other arts such as acting, singing, dancing, writing, and poetry. This art was later on reflected in
other countries such as Indian, China and Indonesia. Ballet is a special dance form basically inspired from
Greek and Roman theaters to take its full form in 1400s in Italy and France. Although dance was suppressed by
the churches this art spread to Russia and America with a version of their own. Ballet was driven from the Latin
word “Ballere” which meant dance.
During the renaissance period in Italy, ballet was the product of court pageantry. Domenico da Piacenza was
a well-known artist to have mastered arts. He used to teach the nobles and other people who used to perform in the
court. These court musicians and dancers used to perform on great occasions like weddings. They were later joined
by the ballet De Cour which consisted of dancers who wore elegant costumes and sang beautiful songs. This art was
transferred from Italy to France when Catherine de Medici of France married Henry II of Italy. She made great contribution to
help flourish the art in France.
It was under the rule of Louis XIV, performance art was given great importance as he himself had a liking for it and was responsible to entrench what is known now as Paris Opera Ballet. Jean-Baptiste Lully was the favorite Italian composer of the king. He had a great understanding of the physical movements, musical songs and graceful dance. He made great contribution to ballet which was of utmost importance even after many years. He along with another French writer Moliere created Comedie-ballet. He was responsible to combine Italian and French ballet. French ballet consisted of instrumental music at first and then vocal music was added to it.
In the late 1800s ballet began to be practiced in Russia, America, Denmark, and Paris. Artists who were responsible for this were Marius Petipa, August Bournonville and Jules Perrot. Stories with Middle Eastern touch were also written. Ballets such as The Talisman and Pharaohs’ Daughter became very famous with the people. Many plays of William Shakespeare like Midsummer Night’s Dream, Romeo and Juliet were interpreted through ballets.
The most important feature of ballet is that the thighs rotate in an outward direction from the hips. Performers who are interested in learning this art are expected to undergo very strenuous health workouts. It ends along with getting the high school degree. Some exams are practical and some are theoretical. Ballet incorporates French words which are used to name the movements and steps. The dancers should know French in order to be more familiar. This also means that the terms used for the steps are universal. It’s very important for the artist to have a strong lower body especially the legs and the abs. strong legs are necessary for the en pointe position and strong abs are necessary for turning the body. A dancer can also create an illusion of long or short hands and legs. If the limbs are placed near the back of the body they appear short and when they are brought forward the limbs seem to be longer.
A lot of physics is involved in ballet. The dancer should create an illusion that she or he is opposing gravity. The dancer’s body acts like a parabola or a projectile in the air and gravity works on the center of mass of the body. Like they can act as if they are suspended in air by jumping with their arms and legs suspended and head lowered. But the landing should be carefully done; otherwise the dancer could fall down, hurting one self which would also affect the show. A precaution that can be taken in such cases is to have a shock absorbent floor. Another technique which can be extremely hazardous is the rolling of the foot from toe to heel with knees bend. Such type of training calls for the help of professionals. Despite all these complications involved in performing ballet, it remains one of the most popular performing arts in the world.