BALLET , a performance in which dancing,
See also:music and panto-
See also:mime are involved . Originally derived from the (Sicilian) Gr . (3aXXq'eta, to dance, the word has passed through the Med .
See also:Lat. ballare (with ballator as synonymous with saltator) to the Ital. ballare and ballata, to the Fr. ballet, to the O . Eng. word balletic, and to ballad . In O . Fr., according to
See also:Rousseau, ballet signifies " to dance, to sing, to rejoice "; and thus it incorporates three distinct
See also:modern words, " ballet,
See also:ball and ballad." Through the gradual changes in the amusements of different ages, the meaning of the first two words has at length become limited to dancing, and the third is now confined to singing . But, although
See also:ballads are no longer the vocal accompaniments to dances
See also:round the maypole, old ballads are still sung to dance tunes . The
See also:present acceptation of the word ballet is—a theatrical
See also:representation in which a
See also:story is told only by gesture, accompanied by music, which should be characterized by stronger emphasis than would be employed with the
See also:voice . The dancing269 should be connected with the story but is more commonly incidental . The French word was found to be so comprehensive as to require further definition, and thus the above-described would be distinguished as the ballet d'
See also:action or
See also:pantomime ballet, while a single scene, such as that of a
See also:village festival with its dances, would now be termed a divertissement . The ballet d'action, to which the changed meaning of the word is to be ascribed, and therewith the introduction of modern ballet, has been generally attributed to the 15th century .
Novelty of entertainment was then sought for in the splendid courts ofItaly, in
See also:order to celebrate events which were thought
See also:great in their
See also:time, such as the marriages of princes, or the triumphs of their arms . Invention was on the
See also:rack for novelty, and the skill of the machinist was taxed to the utmost . It has been supposed that the
See also:art of the old
See also:Roman pantomimi was then revived, to add to the attractions of
See also:court-dances . Under the Roman
See also:empire the pantomimi had represented either a mythological story, or perhaps a scene from a Greek tragedy, by
See also:mute gestures, while a
See also:chorus, placed in the background, sang cantica to narrate the
See also:fable, or to describe the action of the scene . The question is whether mute pantomimic action, which is the essence of modern ballet, was carried through those court entertainments, in which
See also:kings, queens, princes and princesses, took parts with the courtiers; or whether it is of later growth, and derived from professional dances upon the stage . The former is the general opinion, but the court entertainments of Italy and France were masques or masks which included declamation and
See also:song, like those of
See also:Jonson with Inigo
See also:Jones for the court of
See also:James I . The earliest modern ballet on record was that given by Bergonzio di Botta at
See also:Tortona to celebrate the
See also:marriage of the duke of Milan in 1489 . The ballet, like other forms of dancing, was
See also:developed and perfected in France; it is closely associated with the
See also:history of the
See also:opera; but in England it came much later than the opera, for it was not introduced until the 18th century, and in the first
See also:Italian operas given in
See also:London there was no ballet . During the regency of
See also:Lord Middlesex a ballet-
See also:master was appointed and a
See also:corps of dancers formed . The ballet has had three distinct stages in its development . For a long time it was to be found only at the court, when princely entertainments were given to celebrate great occasions . At that time ladies of the highest
See also:rank performed in the ballet and spent much time in practising and perfecting themselves for it .
Catherine de'Medici introduced these entertainments into France and spent large sums of
See also:money on devising performances to distract her son's
See also:attention from the affairs of the state . Baltasarini, otherwise known as Beaujoyeulx, was the composer of a famous entertainment given by Catherine in 1581 called the " Ballet Comique de la Reyne." This marks an era in the history of the opera and ballet, for we find here for the first time dance and music arranged for the display of coherent dramatic ideas .
See also:Henry IV.,
See also:Louis XIII. and XIV. were all lovers of the ballet and performed various characters in them, and
See also:Richelieu used the ballet as an instrument for the expression of
See also:political purposes .
See also:Lully was the first to make an art of the composition of ballet music and he was the first to insist on the
See also:admission of
See also:women as ballet dancers, feminine characters having hitherto been assumed by men dressed as women . When Louis XIV. became too
See also:fat to dance, the ballet at court became unpopular and thus was ended the first stage of its development . It was then adopted in the colleges at prize distributions and other occasions, when the ballets of Lully and
See also:Quinault were commonly performed . The third
See also:period in the history of the ballet was marked by its appearance on the stage, where it has remained ever since . It should be added that up till the third period dramatic poems had accompanied the ballet and the dramatic meaning was helped out with speech and song; but with the advent of the third period speech disappeared and the purely pantomime performance, or ballet d'action, was instituted . The
See also:father of ballet dancing as we know it at the present
See also:day was
See also:Jean Georges
See also:Noverre (q.v.) . The ballet d'action was really invented by him; in fact, the ballet has never advanced beyond the stage to which he brought it; it has rather gone back . The essence of Noverre's theory was that mere display was not enough to ensure
See also:interest and
See also:life for the ballet; and some years ago
See also:Harris'expressed a similar opinion when he was asked wherein
See also:lay the reason of the decadence of the modern ballet . Noverre brought to a high degree of perfection the art of presenting a story by means of pantomime, and he never allowed dancing which was not the
See also:direct expression of a particular attitude of mind .
Apart from Noverre, the greatest ballet-master was undoubtedly Gaetano Apolline BalthazareVestris (q.v.), who modestly called himself le dieu de la danse, and was, indeed, the finest male dancer that
See also:Europe ever produced .
See also:Gluck composed Iphigenie en Aulide in conjunction with Vestris . In 1750 the two greatest dancers of the day performed together in
See also:Paris in a ballet-opera called
See also:Leandre et Hero; the dancers were Vestris and Madame Camargo (q.v.), who introduced
See also:short skirts in the ballet . The word " balette " was first used in the
See also:English language by
See also:Dryden in 1667, and the first descriptive ballet seen in London was The
See also:Tavern Bilkers, which was played at
See also:Drury Lane in 1702 . Since then the ballet in England has been purely exotic and has merely followed on the lines of French developments . The palmy days of the ballet in England were in the first
See also:half of the 19th century, when a royal revenue was spent on the
See also:maintenance of this fashionable attraction . Some famous dancers of this period were Carlotta
See also:Grisi, Mdlle
See also:Taglioni (who is said to have turned the heads of an entire generation), Fanny
See also:Elssler, Mdlle Cerito,
See also:Miss P .
See also:Horton, Miss Lucile Grahn and Mdlle Carolina Rosati . In later years Kate
See also:Vaughan was a remarkably graceful dancer of a new type in England, and, in Sir Augustus Harris's opinion, she did much to elevate the modern art . She was the first to make skirt-dancing popular, although that achievement will not be regarded as an unmixed benefit by every student of the art . Skirt-dancing, in itself a beautiful
See also:exhibition, is a departure from true dancing in the sense that the steps are of little importance in it; and we have seen its development extend to a mere exhibition of whirling draperies under many-coloured lime-
See also:lights . The best known of Miss Vaughan's disciples and imitators (each of whom has contributed something to the art on her own account) were Miss Sylvia
See also:Grey and Miss Letty
See also:Lind .
Of the older and classical school of ballet-dancing Adeline Genee became in London the finest exponent . But ballet-dancing, affected by a tendency in modern entertainment to make less and less demands on the intelligence and intellectual appreciation of the public, and more and more demands on the eye—the sense most easily affected—has gradually developed into a spectacle, thechief interest of which is quite
See also:independent of dancing . Thousands of pounds are spent on dressing a small army of women who do little but
See also:march about the stage and
See also:group themselves in accordance with some design of
See also:colour and mass; and no more is asked of the intelligence than to believe that a ballet dressed, for example, in military
See also:uniform is a compliment to or glorification of the army . Only a few out of hundreds of members of the corps de ballet are really dancers and they perform against a background of colour afforded by the majority . It seems unlikely that we shall see any revival of the best period and styles of dancing until a higher standard of
See also:grace and
See also:manners becomes fashionable in society . With the constantly increasing abolition of ceremony, courtliness of manner is bound to diminish; and only in an atmosphere of ceremony, courtesy and chivalry can the dance maintain itself in perfection . BALL-FLOWER, an architectural
See also:ornament in the
See also:form of a ball inserted in the
See also:cup of a flower, which came into use in the latter
See also:part of the 13th, and was in great vogue in the early part of the 14th century . It is generally placed in rows at equal distances in the hollow of a moulding, frequently by the sides of mullions . The earliest known is said to be in the west part of
See also:cathedral, where it is mixed with the tooth ornament . It seems to have been used more and more frequently, till at
See also:Gloucester cathedral, in the south side, it is in profusion .
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