A2 Culture and Arts

Strength and Grace

Ballet (pronounced “bear lay”) is a very popular form of dance around the world. Many girls love the idea of being a graceful ballerina with pretty costumes. However, ballet is not only for girls. Boys can dance ballet as well and are known as ballerinos.

Just as piano is the basic instrument for music, ballet is known as the basic style for dance. Many parents like to start their children off with ballet to learn the basic techniques of dance. This will make it easier for them to pick up other dance styles when they are older.

The word ballet comes from the Italian word balletto, which means dance. Ballet was first performed for royalty in Italy in the 15th century. It was brought to France by Catherine de’ Medici who later became Queen of France. In France, ballet developed into a performance art form. Ballets were performed on large stages with audience members seated on three sides.

The first ballet school was started in France in 1661. It was called Académie Royale de Danse in French, or the Royal Dance Academy. Soon after that, the first ballet company, the Paris Opera Ballet, was created. The popularity of ballet then spread first to Denmark and Russia, and then to the rest of the world.

Today, there are ballet schools in almost every country. Children as young as two can start learning ballet in these schools! Students are taught techniques like different feet and leg positions and many types of jumps, all with French names. These techniques are combined and made into short dances and set to music.

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techniques – skills related to one type of dance or sport
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