How old is ballet dance

Ballet | History, Dancers, Choreographers, Companies, & Facts

Misty Copeland and James Whiteside

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Igor Youskevitch Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Claudio Monteverdi Igor Stravinsky Sergey Prokofiev
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ballet, theatrical dance in which a formal academic dance technique—the danse d’école—is combined with other artistic elements such as music, costume, and stage scenery. The academic technique itself is also known as ballet. This article surveys the history of ballet.

History through 1945

The emergence of ballet in the courts of Europe

Ballet traces its origins to the Italian Renaissance, when it was developed as a court entertainment. During the 15th and 16th centuries the dance technique became formalized. The epicentre of the art moved to France following the marriage of the Italian-born aristocrat Catherine de Médicis to Henry II of France. A court musician and choreographer named Balthasar de Beaujoyeulx devised Ballet comique de la reine (1581; “The Queen’s Comic Ballet”), which inaugurated a long tradition of court ballets in France that reached its peak under Louis XIV in the mid-17th century.

As a court entertainment, the works were performed by courtiers; a few professional dancers were occasionally participants, but they were usually cast in grotesque or comic roles. The subjects of these works, in which dance formed only a part alongside declamation and song, ranged widely; some were comic and others had a more serious, even political, intent. Louis XIII and his son Louis XIV frequently performed in them; the younger Louis was in time regarded as the epitome of the noble style of dancing as it developed at the French court.

Eventually, developments at the French court pushed the arts aside, and the court ballet disappeared. But Louis XIV had established two academies where ballet was launched into another phase of its development: the Académie Royale de Danse (1661) and the Académie Royale de Musique (1669). The Académie Royale de Danse was formed to preserve the classical school of the noble dance. It was to last until the 1780s. By then its purpose essentially had been abrogated by the music academy, the predecessor of the dance school of the Paris Opéra.

Ballet as an adjunct to opera

The Académie Royale de Musique was to become incalculably significant in the development of ballet. The academy was created to present opera, which was then understood to include a dance element; indeed, for fully a century ballet was a virtually obligatory component of the various forms of French opera. From the beginning, the dancers of the Opéra (as the Académie was commonly known) were professional, coming under the authority of the ballet master. A succession of distinguished ballet masters (notably Pierre Beauchamp, Louis Pécour, and Gaétan Vestris) ensured the prestige of French ballet, and the quality of the Opéra’s dancers became renowned throughout Europe.

The growing appeal of ballet to an increasingly broad public in Paris was reflected in the success of opéra-ballets, of which the most celebrated were André Campra’s L’Europe galante (1697; “Gallant Europe”) and Jean-Philippe Rameau’s Les Indes galantes (1735; “The Gallant Indies”). These works combined singing, dancing, and orchestral music into numbers that were unified by a loose theme.

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In the early years the most accomplished dancers were male, and it was not until 1681 that the first principal female dancer, Mlle La Fontaine, appeared. Gradually she and her successors became nearly as well-known and respected as male dancers such as Michel Blondy and Jean Balon. From the 1720s, however, with the appearance of Marie Sallé and Marie-Anne Camargo, the women began to vie with the men in technique and artistry. The retirement of Sallé and Camargo in turn coincided with the debut of one of the most celebrated dancers of all time, Gaétan Vestris, who became regarded in his prime as the epitome of the French noble style; he played an important part in establishing ballet as an independent theatrical form.

History of Ballet - Origin and Evolution

Balletto is Italian diminutive of the ballot, meaning “to dance, to jump about.” Its vocabulary is based on French terminology.

Ballet developed under the aristocratic influence as a formalized form of dance. A formal dance technique is combined with costumes, scenery, and music, as other forms of artistic elements. Ballet integrated dance, music, stage design and poetry to make a dramatic storyline. At first its roll was a virtually component of the opera.

Its origins date back to 15th and 16th centuries and started as entertainment form for aristocrats. Ballet began in the Italian Renaissance courts and spread from Italy to France by Catherine de’ Medici. Later it developed into a concert dance form in France and Russia. King Louis XIV founded the Académie Royale de Musique from which the Paris Opera Ballet developed as the first professional ballet company. In Russia, the ballet started its modern era.

Ballet depended on aristocratic money which had an influence on the music, literature and the ideas and development of ballet. In time ballet became less dependent on royal courts.

In a time there were founded the most popular ballet stages like Royal Danish Ballet, Imperial Ballet of the Russian Empire, The Royal Ballet in London, the San Francisco Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, The Australian Ballet, The New York City Ballet, The National Ballet of Canada etc.

In Renaissance time in Italy ballet was the type of entertainment on aristocratic weddings. Court dancers and musicians collaborated to entertain aristocrats on celebrations. One of the first ballet dancing masters was Domenico da Piacenza. The first ballet was Ballet de Polonaise performed in 1573. Traditional shoes were not yet used, and the costumes were formal gowns.

In Renaissance time in France ballet was more formalized by Pierre Beauchamp. He codified five positions of the feet and arms. Famous ballet dancer and choreographer Jean-Baptiste Lully often cast the King Louis XIV in his ballets. Lully collaborated with Moliére, the French playwright, and the comédie-ballet was created. Lully also created the tragédie en musique genre.

Ballet spread throughout the Europe in Germany, Spain, Poland and Portugal in courts. In Poland King Wladyslaw IV Vasa promoted this dance. Ballet dancers organized into professional ballet troupes and performed for aristocrats as they toured through the Europe.

In the 18th century in France ballet d’action developed. The movements of the dancers were designed to express the story telling and characters. That is how ballet became an essential part of the opera dramatisation. It was included in operas as interludes called divertissements. A big role in this development played French dancer and balletmaster Jean-Georges Noverre and composer Christoph Gluck. Dance, music and scenery were brought together to support the plot. Three formal techniques developed: sérieux, demi-caractère, and comique.

Venice was also a centre of dance. Dancers travelled there for cultural exchange. In Hungary professional ballet troupes performed throughout the country.

In the 19th century, female ballet dancers were more popular. Ballerinas played male roles in the story. Viena became an important center for teaching ballet. Ballet moved away from the just aristocratic audience. Some famous ballerinas experimented with a new formal element of a ballet called pointe technique. In that way, ballerina got the ideal stage figure. Boxed toe ballet shoes were developed and stayed as formal part of ballet code.

In romantic movement ballet choreography became free, light, airy, and ballerinas appeared as fragile beings who could be lifted effortlessly creating the feeling of floating in the air.

At one point folklore became a part of ballet dancing, so folk-style dancing developed.

National ballets were established like National Opera of Ukraine, Hungarian National Ballet, National Theatre Ballet of Prague and Vienna State Ballet.

Russian ballet is thought as traditional ballet and had great importance in the history of ballet. Colonialism had an influence on stories with oriental, Asian and African elements. It also developed in Denmark.

A stiff short skirt worn as a costume, called tutu, became the formal element of ballet. Tutu skirt is supported by crinoline to enable the acrobatic legwork.

In the 20th century, Russian ballet was brought back to Paris because of the exile after the Revolution. In Russia, there was a stagnation on ballet scene. The ideological pressure made socialist pieces. However, there were stunning virtuosity, technical perfection, and strength.

Fokine went to the USA. He was not satisfied with just athletic display and prettiness of ballet. He demanded from ballerinas' expression and research of the history of the story, and use of authentic period costume.

In America ballet was adapted to new media, like television and movies. The theme was rather dramatized than a plot. There was more freethinking than a traditional narrative. Traditional tutu was changed by bias cut to give dancer more freedom of movement.

Neoclassical ballet developed a style between classical and contemporary ballet. Ballet returned to a more simplistic style, against overly dramatized style. The large sets and props were removed allowing the dancers to become the main artistic medium.

Contemporary ballet mixed elements of classical ballet and modern dance. It is not strictly traditional. It has use of pointe technique, as well as floor work and turn-in of the legs. A great influence on this genre had Mikhail Baryshnikov, director of American Ballet Theatre in 1980.

Ballet. 1) Ballet in the 16th and 17th centuries

Dance has always existed, and music has always existed, and even the plot in the dance was often present, but ballet appeared only about four hundred years ago.

He was born in Northern Italy during the Renaissance. The Italian princes loved magnificent palace festivities, in which dance occupied an important place. Rural dances were not suitable for court ladies and gentlemen. Their magnificent robes, like the halls where they danced, did not allow unorganized movement. Special teachers - dance masters - rehearsed individual figures and movements of the dance with the nobles in advance and led groups of dancers. Gradually the dance became more and more theatrical. The term "ballet" itself originated in Italy and meant a dance episode that conveys a certain mood. nine0005

The skill of the early Italian dance teachers impressed the French nobles who accompanied the army of Charles VIII when he entered Italy in 1494, laying his claim to the throne of the kingdom of Naples. As a result, Italian dancing masters began to be invited to the French court. At the same time, there was a need for notation - a system for recording dance. The author of the first known system, Tuan Arbo, began to transmit dance steps with musical signs.

At the invitation of the French Queen Catherine de Medici, the Italian Baldasarino di Belgiojoso (in France he was called Balthasar de Beaujoieux) staged court performances, the most famous of which was called "Circe, or the Queen's Comedy Ballet", was staged in 1581 and is usually considered the first in the history of musical theater with a ballet performance. It, as was customary then, combined music, speech and dance. The plot was borrowed from ancient mythology and became a frame for poetic monologues and dances. And the parts of nymphs and naiads were performed by young ladies-in-waiting. So October 15, 1581 can be considered the birthday of the ballet. nine0005

Throughout the seventeenth century, the genre of court ballet developed mainly in France. At first, these were masquerade ballets, and then pompous melodramatic ballets on chivalrous and fantastic plots, where dance episodes were replaced by vocal arias and recitation of poems.

Louis XIII, King of France, who from childhood was fond of music and dance and received an excellent musical education, was the author of a ballet whose name, thanks to the novel The Three Musketeers, is still on our lips: this is the Merlezon Ballet, first performed on March 15, 1635 year at the Château de Chantilly. The plot was based on adventures during the hunt for thrushes - one of the king's favorite pastimes. His Majesty not only composed the libretto, music, choreography, sketched scenery and costumes, but also played two roles: a bait merchant and a peasant. nine0005

The dance began to turn into a ballet when it began to be performed according to certain rules. They were first formulated by the French choreographer Pierre Beauchamp (1637–1705), who lived and worked during the time of King Louis XIV. Then the performances of the court ballet reached a special splendor.

In his youth, Ludovic himself liked to take part in performances, and he received his famous nickname "King Sun" after playing the role of the Sun in the "Ballet of the Night". In 1661 he created the Royal Academy of Music and Dance, which included 13 leading dancing masters. Their duty was to preserve the dance traditions. Beauchamp was appointed director of the academy. nine0005

He wrote down the canons of the noble manner of dancing, which was based on the principle of turning the legs (en dehors). This position gave the human body the opportunity to move freely in different directions. He divided all the movements of the dancer into groups: squats (plié), jumps (swings, entrecha, cabrioles, jeté, the ability to hang in a jump - elevation), rotations (pirouettes, fouettes), body positions (attitudes, arabesques). The execution of these movements was carried out on the basis of five positions of the legs and three positions of the hands (port de bras). All classical dance steps are derived from these foot and hand positions. nine0005

This Beauchamp classification is still alive today. Moreover, as a result, French terminology has become common for artists all over the world, like Latin for physicians.

Beauchamp divided dances into three main types: serious, semi-character and comic. Serious dance (a prototype of modern classical dance) demanded academic strictness of performance, beauty of external form, grace - even on the verge of affectation. It was a "noble" dance, it befitted the characters of tragedies - kings, gods, mythological heroes. Semi-characteristic - combined pastoral, peisan and fantastic dances, in which the forces of nature or personified human passions appeared on the stage. The dances of the furies, nymphs and satyrs also obeyed his laws. nine0005

Finally, the comic dance was remarkable for its virtuosity, allowing exaggerated movements and improvisation. It was needed for the grotesque and exotic dances found in the comedies of the theater of classicism.

Thus began the formation of ballet, which developed by the eighteenth century from interludes and divertissements into an independent art.

Soon the Paris Opera was opened, the ballet master of which was the same Beauchamp. Under his leadership, a ballet troupe was formed from some male dancers. Women appeared on the stage of the Paris Opera only in 1681. Mademoiselle Lafontaine became the first professional dancer, performing in Lully's opera-ballet Triumph of Love. She was soon nicknamed "the queen of the dance". nine0005

Opera-ballets by the composer Lully and comedies-ballets by the playwright Molière were staged in the theater. At first, courtiers took part in them, and the performances almost did not differ from palace performances. The already mentioned slow minuets, gavottes and pavanes were danced. Masks, heavy dresses, and high-heeled shoes made it difficult for women to perform complex movements. Therefore, men's dances were distinguished then by greater grace and grace.

Dancers who performed serious dances wore a dress with a wide skirt, from under which the toes of the shoes were slightly visible. The skirt was held on reed hoops, this design was called a "basket", in French - "pannier". Dancers in serious ballets wore brocade cuirasses and short skirts on reed frames, which were called "barrels". Shoes for both men and women were high heels. In addition, they wore round masks that covered the entire face - gold, silver, other colors, depending on the nature of the character. nine0005

In semi-characteristic ballets, the costumes were lighter, but attributes that characterize the dance were added - sickles for peasants, baskets and shovels for gardeners, thyrsos and leopard skins for bacchantes. In Molière's comedy The Imaginary Sick, for example, pharmacists and doctors danced on the stage with assistants who had huge clysters in their hands. The costume for comic dances was not so strictly regulated - the director trusted the artist's imagination.

At the same time, a whole system of symbols was born, which reached its apogee at the beginning of the twentieth century. If an artist, for example, stroked his forehead with the edge of his hand, implying that he had a crown on his head, this meant "king"; folded his arms crosswise on his chest, which means "died"; pointed to the ring finger of the hand, where the ring is usually worn, - “I want to get married” or “married”; began to make wave-like movements with his hands, which means that he "sailed on a ship." nine0005

Formed in France, the new ballet genre spread throughout Europe and returned to Italy. All major cities had their own theatres, choreographers and performers in the seventeenth century. By the eighteenth century, the style of performance characteristic of Italian dancers had developed, differing from the refined manner adopted at the French Royal Academy of Music and Dance, by technical virtuosity and, at the same time, by greater immediacy.

The struggle between the French and Italian schools in classical ballet continued almost until the beginning of the twentieth century. In the seventeenth century, a ballet appeared in the Netherlands - and there, earlier than in France, professional dancers appeared on the stage. In the late seventeenth and early eighteenth century, English ballet theater flourished. In 1722, the first court theater in Denmark was established, where professional dancers participated in Molière's comedies and ballets. nine0005

Ballet came to Russia in the second half of the seventeenth century. Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich, inviting Ukrainian learned monks to Moscow, did not yet know what they had in their luggage - a tradition borrowed from the Poles to stage performances on soulful topics with students of monastic schools and religious schools. In these school dramas, written in ponderous verse, in which the characters uttered endless monologues, interludes of a playful nature were often inserted. In the Kyiv school play "Action about Alexei, the Man of God", staged in 1673, there was an interlude with dances - the guests danced at the main character's wedding. nine0005

In addition, Russian diplomats and merchants, when they were abroad, visited theaters and willingly went to ballet performances - there it was not difficult to understand foreign speech. And the ballet of that time was the brainchild of not only the choreographer, but also theatrical mechanics. Fantastic characters rode outlandish chariots, the scenery changed with incomprehensible speed, some heroes fell through the ground, others flew from heaven. How can you not get excited! It was the chariots that became almost the main participants in the first Russian “Ballet about Orpheus and Eurydice”. nine0005

The story of a singer who goes to the underworld in search of his dead wife was among the favorites of seventeenth-century composers. Perhaps a ballet by the German composer Heinrich Schutz was staged in Moscow. Little information about him has been preserved - for some reason, contemporaries especially remembered the pas de trois of Orpheus with two pyramids. The choreographer, apparently, literally understood the words of the Greek myth that Orpheus's singing made trees and rocks move. Chariots, decorated in the form of fountains, castles and pyramids, were common in ballet performances by French and Italian troupes. Perhaps the pyramids of the first Russian ballet moved on wheels. Or maybe they were dancers in costumes that looked like a pyramid. The truth is no longer known. nine0005

Who was the director - history is silent. She retained only the name of the theatrical mechanic Nikolai Lim, who agreed to take part in the performance - he himself was a "professional military man", an officer in the engineering troops. Perhaps he became the first Russian choreographer - in any case, it was he who performed the part of Orpheus in the pas de trois with pyramids. Lim, apparently, was a Scot who emigrated to France and received a military education there, and for an officer then the study of court dances was mandatory. The dancers were, apparently, from the youth that pastor Johann Gregory recruited for the court troupe among the inhabitants of the German Quarter. nine0005

The first ballet performance in Russia took place in 1673 in Preobrazhensky. Then there were a few more - almost no information about them has been preserved. And after the death of Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich, theatrical performances ceased for a long time - until the beloved sister of Tsar Peter Alekseevich Natalya became interested in dramaturgy, and Peter himself decided to build a theater in Moscow - where the Historical Museum is now. In 1702, the tsar hired the Dutchman Jacob Kokkiy and his two sons in the Moscow theater. But things did not work out - the Dutch did not know how to teach dance art and only complained that there were no suitable performers. nine0005

D. Truskinovskaya

History of Russian Ballet

Despite the fact that mankind learned to dance almost at the same time as walking, it took several long millennia for ballet to turn into that complex and refined art that we admire today.

A fashionable hobby of European royal courts, ballet came to Russia only in the 17th century, and a hundred years later it took shape in its own school and imperial troupe. Since then, the fame of Russian ballet has been steadily growing: today, perhaps, there is not a single stage in the world where its representatives have not shone. nine0005

The History of Russian Ballet Gala, which was presented in the program of the 12th season of Dance Open, was an attempt to recreate the living fabric of time and pay tribute to the memory of great compatriots and foreigners who created amazing art - choreography. Of course, it is absolutely impossible to remember everyone within the framework of the concert, but we tried to mention many of those without whom the star of Russian ballet would not have shined so long and brightly.

1738 Finally, the dream of the dance master of the St. Petersburg Land Gentry Corps Jean-Baptiste Lande has come true. Yielding to his petitions and persuasion, Empress Anna Ioannovna issues a decree on the creation of "Her Imperial Majesty's own dance school. " >>> nine0005

6 boys and 6 girls from the families of palace employees start their studies right in the halls of the Winter Palace. Thus was born the first official ballet school in Russia - and only the second in the world, after the French one. After another 4 years, another empress, the brilliant Elizaveta Petrovna, establishes the Russian imperial troupe. This is how professional ballet appears in Russia.

Frenchman Charles (Carl) Didlot was the first to think of making the imperial ballet “the best in the world”. He managed not only to raise the Russian troupe to a level equal to the European one, but also to give a powerful impetus to its further development. >>>

It was not easy, the Frenchman was known as an extremely harsh teacher. “Often, Didelot chased a dancer backstage, who, as a precaution, ran away from the stage in the opposite direction and hid from him. Enraged Didlo was cast with water, ”recalled the outstanding actor of that era Pavel Karatygin. Nevertheless, directing the Russian troupe since 1801, and since 1804 - the St. Petersburg Theater School, Didlo managed to lay the foundations of Russian ballet style and pedagogical tradition. “There is much more poetry in Didelot’s ballets than in all of French literature,” his contemporary Alexander Pushkin assured him. nine0005

Jules Perrot, another “ballet Frenchman”, arrived in St. Petersburg already treated with pan-European fame, which has not faded even today. Partner of the legendary Maria Taglioni and unmarried husband of the equally legendary Carlotta Grisi, he was a gifted dancer and turned out to be a brilliant choreographer. His "Giselle" was - and will forever remain - recognized as the pinnacle of romanticism in dance art. >>>

After devoting ten years of his career to the Imperial stage, Perrault staged 18 ballets for the Russian troupe, including Esmeralda, Ondine and Le Corsaire. He left the country in 1858. Some of his works in different editions are on the stages of Russia and the world to this day. nine0005

Having developed the basics of the composition of dance ensembles, Perrault perfected and canonized the most important choreographic forms: pas de deux, pas d'action, grand pas and others. During his leadership, the level of choreographic training of Russian dancers and dancers rose so much that they gradually began to conquer the European public.

Since 1859, the great magician and magician of the world ballet, Arthur Saint-Leon, has amazed the Petersburg audience. He was talented literally in everything: a virtuoso dancer, a brilliant violinist, an inventive choreographer and an outstanding teacher. Saint-Leon knew ten European languages, studied folklore dances, invented a system for recording movements, and composed music himself. >>>

Contemporaries and historians treated his work in different ways: overflowing with tricks, technical "tricks" and impressive stage effects, these performances were purely entertaining in nature and partly gravitated even to the circus. In his performances, hanging gardens swayed over the dancers, he used real water on the stage for the first time in world practice, widely used lighting effects with gas burners and arc electric lanterns-spectra ...

However, in the field of dance science, the ability to compose complex ensembles, duets and solo Saint-Leon was, no doubt, a great master. His experiments significantly enriched the dance vocabulary. His most significant work was The Little Humpbacked Horse, the first domestic ballet on a national theme, which brought Russian folk melodies and a characteristic dance with elements of peasant dances to the imperial stage. The production was an exceptional success and gave rise to a general fashion for the "russe" style. nine0005

“On May 29, 1847, I arrived on a steamboat in St. Petersburg. Sixty years of service in one place, in one institution, a rather rare phenomenon, falls to the lot of a few mortals ... ”, - this is how the memoirs of Marius Petipa begin, whose name is often almost identified with the concept of “classical ballet”. >>>

An opponent of excessive technicality, Petipa argued that "ballet is a serious art in which plasticity and beauty should dominate, and not all kinds of jumps, senseless whirling and raising the legs above the head." He showed inexhaustible imagination in the combination of dance steps, achieving harmony and logic in solo and ensemble dance. He was distinguished by his ability to get along with the most capricious primates of the Imperial stage: “If you don’t like it, I’ll change it,” the maestro used to say, adapting the choreographic text to the talents of Virginia Zucchi, Pierina Legnani, Matilda Kshesinskaya…

It was Petipa who streamlined and consolidated the forms and structures of classical dance. His ballets were distinguished by their harmonious composition, but it is even more important that it was “under Petipa” that music in ballet turned from a servant into the main acting force. Of course, collaboration with Tchaikovsky and, later, Glazunov played an important role in this. "Sleeping Beauty", "Swan Lake", "The Nutcracker", "Raymonda", "Paquita" ... This "golden basis" of Russian classical ballet to this day guarantees full houses anywhere in the world. nine0005

Serving as second choreographer of the Mariinsky Theatre, Ivanov remained in the shadow of Marius Petipa all his life. He went down in history as the author of a few surviving works, but - unconditional masterpieces. The unsurpassed "white act" from "Swan Lake" is so famous that even the most distant people from the art of dancing recognize the "Dance of the Little Swans" from the first steps. >>>

The "Dance of the Snowflakes" in the ballet "The Nutcracker" turned out to be no less perfect. Ivanov's outstanding talent was revealed only when he met Tchaikovsky's music: by arranging a musical and symphonic performance on stage, the choreographer managed to reach an amazing poetic height. nine0005

Despite his adherence to the classical school, Ivanov turned out to be a real “quiet revolutionary”. In particular, before him, any winged ballet character would certainly wear wings on stage, and it was Ivanov who replaced the bulky props with the “winged” hands of swan girls, which have been a symbol of Russian ballet for more than a century. Exceptional musicality allowed him to lay the foundations for the reform of ballet dance, which will find its development and recognition in the work of Fokine. Unfortunately, fate and the public were completely unfair to Lev Ivanov: he died unrecognized and unhappy, and only a few decades later his descendants appreciated his outstanding contribution to world culture. nine0005

In Imperial Russia, Moscow bore the title of “second capital”, but at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, stage art flourished here. The Moscow Art Theater of Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko, the Korsh Theater, private operas by Mamontov and Zimin… Ballet did not stand aside either. >>>

Alexander Gorsky was sent to the troupe of the Bolshoi Theater from St. Petersburg with a completely pragmatic task: to raise fees. It must be admitted that in this matter he was very successful. The press so zealously argued and quarreled about his performances that even the audience that had never attended ballet before was literally thrown into the theater. nine0069 Gorsky chose the ballet Don Quixote for his debut; formally, it was a "refreshing edition" of Petipa's production, but in fact it was a new performance. Remaining within the framework of classical dance, Gorsky literally broke its generally accepted canons. In particular, he changed the logic of building pairs in mass scenes, setting separate tasks for each group. In his further works, whether it was the fabulous Middle Ages or Ancient Egypt, he also sought to feel the complete authenticity of the stage action. This purely directorial approach brought logic and clarity throughout the performance and made it fascinating even for those who were poorly versed in the intricacies of ballet steps. nine0069 It was Gorsky who first began to attract major artists to the Imperial stage: Konstantin Korovin, Alexander Golovin and other outstanding masters worked with him. Thanks to the energy and talent of Alexander Gorsky, at a time when the capital's "court" ballet was going through a period of stagnation, the Moscow ballet was on an unprecedented rise.

Naughty son: MIKHAIL FOKIN
“I don't want my Mimotchka to be a jumper!” raged the merchant Fokin, a man of purely businesslike and extremely strict rules. But his wife Ekaterina Andreevna, who herself dreamed of a stage in her youth, nevertheless secretly took Misha to exams at a ballet school. If she had been a more accommodating wife and a less sensitive mother, the history of Russian and world choreography could have turned out differently. >>>

Having danced almost the entire solo repertoire of the Imperial Stage, Mikhail Fokin came to the conclusion that changes were necessary. “The ballet must harmoniously combine the three most important elements - music, scenery and plastic art. Dance must be thoughtful, dance must reflect the soul,” he wrote in 1904.

In his search, Fokine was drawn to everything new, experimented endlessly, collaborated with the "World of Art", set Rubinstein and Tcherepnin to music, and, in the end, attracted the attention of Sergei Diaghilev. The famous Russian Seasons opened with innovative productions by the young choreographer, bringing world fame not only to him, but also to the main performers - Anna Pavlova, Tamara Karsavina, Vatslav Nijinsky ... Mikhail Fokin made a breakthrough in understanding ballet dramaturgy. He countered the aesthetics of Petipa's "pure beauty" with an impressionistic "drawing of the soul", radically changing the course of development of the entire world ballet of the 20th century. nine0005

“She was not a standard ballerina: small stature, heavy strong legs, rigid plasticity of her hands...” Vaganova's path to fame was not easy. After graduating from the St. Petersburg Theater School, having shown inexhaustible capacity for work and dedication, she ended up in the corps de ballet of the Mariinsky Theatre.>>>

Leading choreographer Marius Petipa did not let Vaganova become a soloist for many years (from the choreographer's diary: "Mrs. Vaganova is terrible. I don't go to ballet ... ".) Agrippina Vaganova reached the title of ballerina only towards the end of her career, but she never managed to become a star. nine0005

After the revolution, the country's theatrical scenes were devastated at an incredible rate: wholesale emigration scattered Russian artists around the world. Fortunately, retired ballerina Agrippina Vaganova remained at home. In 1921, she was hired as a teacher at the Petrograd Ballet School. It was cold and hungry, we practiced in sweaters and dresses. But Vaganova was happy. After all, she really knew how to create a great ballerina...

Marina Semyonova, Galina Ulanova, Tatyana Vecheslova, Natalia Dudinskaya, Alla Shelest, Fairy Balabina. .. These world-famous names entered the history of ballet art forever, glorifying the great teacher. Her methodology became the standard for ballet schools in all countries of the world, and the school, later renamed the Academy of Russian Ballet named after A.Ya. Vaganova - the forge of exemplary personnel No. 1 in the world of ballet. nine0005

Of course, Diaghilev knew how to reveal talents. He met the young Serge Lifar at the very end of his amazing life and still managed to secure the future for him, and at the same time for the entire French ballet. >>>

Eighteen-year-old Lifar fled the Russian Empire at the height of the Civil War, illegally crossing the border literally under bullets. With virtually no money, he made it to Paris, where he sought out his teacher Bronislava Nijinsky and the famous entrepreneur Sergei Diaghilev. “He was the first dancer of the 20th century, when everyone else adhered to the aesthetics of the 19th century,” Alexandre Benois wrote about him.

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