The History of Ballet

With more than 40 years of experience in the legal profession, attorney Joseph Solfanelli is a general business lawyer practicing in Scranton, PA. His long career has enabled him to build a client base that included the nation’s largest anthracite coal company. When he is not busy as an attorney, Joseph Solfanelli enjoys watching ballet. This historic dance form dates back to the 15th century.

The art of ballet first appeared during the Italian Renaissance. The courts hosted elaborate dancing celebrations with noblemen and women in attendance, and master dancers taught dances to the nobility with the entire court participating. The following century, King Henry II’s wife, Catherine de Medici, funded ballet in the French court. In the 17th century, King Louis XIV spread its popularity and created standards for the dance through his own participation in ballet, rendering it a dance that required training and skill.

During the 18th century, Jean Georges Noverre helped sever the tie between opera and ballet, which validated the dance form on its own. He developed ballet d’action, a form of ballet that constructs a narrative story through expression and dramatic movements. In the 19th century, ballet gained momentum and developed more ethereal themes that introduced it as a romantic art. Pointe work and tutus first appeared, as well. Russia focused on the art, and demanding leaps and turns were soon the norm. Modern ballet incorporates a number of influences from the dance’s history to create a distinct modern character.


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