Day 20 0f 84 Days of 84 Ribbons: Ballet History Lesson
The royal courts of Europe were in love with entertainment. You can attribute ballet’s move to France from Italy’s Catherine de Medici’s marriage to Henry II of France (1530s). Louis XIV, an avid dancer, opened the first French ballet school in 1661 for men only. No women allowed. Ballet shared too much of a female’s body. But by 1681 women were allowed to dance IF they wore full length gowns.
Although ballet began in the Italian Renaissance and moved into Russia as well, French became the basis for classical ballet positions, steps and standards. The terms remain based in French to this day.
The early years predate stages. Dancers performed to live music in large galleries with people seated around them on three sides. Some galleries had tiered seating. All performances were reserved for the wealthy. Thank heavens that changed! Now ballet is available to us n performance halls as well as online and we’re able to view many styles beyond our own cultural history.