The seemingly effortless grace and elegance of ballet dancers, coupled with the ethereal costumes, have long provided a breath-taking form of entertainment for the public. Ballet has been around for much longer than most of us realize. It originated in Italy during the Renaissance period. There, the earliest forms of ballet were practiced in the royal courts, as a form of entertainment for the nobles. Through the years, ballet evolved tremendously; the classical ballet style was developed during the 17th century, and subsequently led to several other forms such as neo-classical and contemporary. Today a good deal of modern dance is also strongly influenced by ballet styles and techniques; although, ballets today are a far cry from the first ballets.

Ballet dancers in theatre

ballet dancers holding each other red dress

In its early days, ballets were primarily comprised of male dancers. It was simply considered unseemly to have female dancers on the stage. Later on, as women gradually began to be included, there was the issue of costuming. While today’s ballerinas wear form-fitting, short, or nude-colored costumes, earlier versions included very long skirts and full body coverage for modesty. Since costuming makes up such an important aspect of ballet, over time the costumes became increasingly advanced and elaborate.

Since ballet has existed for so long, several specific performances have made a name for themselves, even to people who are not avid fans. Some of these include Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, Don Quixote, La Sylphide, Giselle, and Romeo and Juliet. Have a look through the following collection of ballet resources to start learning all about this wonderful dance style.

HISTORY

Ballet History (PDF): Learn about ballet from medieval courts to present day.

19th Century Ballet: Ballet developed tremendously in the 1800s.

Ballet History: Discover how ballet first started and has evolved over centuries.

A Guide to Ballet: Trace the evolution of ballet from old to modern times.

Core of Culture – Ballet: Stunning visual presentation of the history and origins of this beautiful art.

vintage picture of ballet dancer in tutu

STYLES OF BALLET

Ballet Styles: This overview runs through all the different types of ballet.

Russian Ballet Style: See how Russian ballet differs from the classical style.

Ballet Methods: Ballet styles can differ based on geographical variations.

Teaching Styles: Compare differences between various schools of ballet.

Cultural History: Tracing Ballet’s cultural history over 400 years.

ballet dancer on stage swan lake

TECHNIQUES

Technique and Training: Years of training are required to perfect ballet technique.

Ballet Technique: Rigorous ballet technique helps to create the appearance of grace.

Types of Techniques: Learn about ballet exercises and training techniques.

Russian Techniques: Read a free online instructional book on Russian ballet techniques.

Ballet Terms & Positions: Take a quick lesson on some of the words the dancers use on a daily basis..

ballet techniques

BALLET AND HEALTH

Health Benefits: Ballet offers several mental and social benefits for dancers.

Dance Injuries: Dancers should be aware of common ballet injuries and treatments.

Injury Prevention: Learn about dance injury causes and preventative measures.

preventing injury in ballet

COSTUMES AND APPAREL

Pointe Shoes: Pointe shoes help to support dancers on their toes.

Ballet Costume Resources: Find suppliers for all kinds of ballet costume requirements.

Costume Evolution: See how ballet costumes evolved over time and countries.

Performance Costumes: View an image gallery of ballet costumes for famous performances.

ballet dancer silhouette

BALLET COMPANIES

Famous Ballet Companies: Find websites for prominent ballet companies in North America and Europe.

Ballet Database: Browse through a comprehensive online resource of ballet companies worldwide.

Royal Ballet: The Royal Ballet in the UK is one of the most famous in the world.

New York City Ballet: The NYC Ballet company is reputed to be among the finest in the U.S.

ballet companies

OTHER

Ballet Dictionary: Look up technical ballet words and terms online.

Famous Names: Read about the some of the most influential names in ballet.

Ballet Benefits: Children can benefit physically and mentally from learning ballet.

Ballet Basics (PDF): This guidebook introduces a detailed background of ballet for beginners.

Life of a Dancer : Have a look at a day in the life of a professional ballet dancer.

Studio Etiquette: It is always important to observe proper etiquette in a ballet studio.