BIG Question: How Did Ballet Evolve?


Lenia Crouch, Senior Editor

When you hear the word, “ballet”, you probably think of tutu’s and people dancing gracefully on their toes. But it actually takes a lot of hard work and determination. Ballet isn’t actually just on your toes, a lot of it is not on pointe (your toes). Today, I am going to be telling you all about ballet, modern and vintage!

First, I am going to explain what ballet is. Ballet is a form of dance that originated in the Italian Renaissance of the 15th century, but was later turned into a concert dance in Russia and France. It is a very strict type of dance and definitely requires self discipline. If you are interested in learning ballet, then you can contact the two dance studios in Emporia, Studio 1, Studio 2.

Now, I am going to tell you about the history of ballet. Ballet started in Italy, but soon spread to France with the help of Catherine de’ Medici (Queen of France at the current time). The basics of ballet come from the 6 main positions, that have changed over time. The turn outs of the feet have changed, and the science behind it wasn’t thought out at that time. Over time, the warmups have gotten extremely shorter. For example instead of 20 minutes, they now take 5.  The stretching has also changed. A long time ago they didn’t even stretch. They did something called plastic poses (see image). Now in modern times stretching is very important for executing the poses gracefully.

You have probably heard about pointe work, which is ballet on your toes. This was created by a women named Marie Taglioni in 1831. Back then she only dawned her shoes with a little padding. Now we have gels for our toes, and they also have blocks and insane support for your feet for this could cause major injury. Modern pointe shoes were actually created by an Italian shoe maker. Eventually, the Russians picked up on this and created the hardest shoe yet. This enabled the dancers to actually stand for a decent amount of time on their toes, a breakthrough moment! Another garment of ballet dancing is the tutu. Tutus used to be knee length at minimum, and also had pants underneath. It was not deemed “appropriate” for the legs to show. Over time the tutus got shorter and shorter, eventually they got to the point where they basically are pyramid like now and stick straight out, and show off the ballerinas legs.

Over time you can see that ballet has definitely evolved. The level of difficulty is amazing, and I think that ballet is amazing to watch. This is very fun to learn about, and I hope you enjoyed this story all about ballet!


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