Two Major Styles of Ballet

An experienced attorney admitted to practice in several states, Joseph Solfanelli represents clients ranging from banks to independent business owners. Outside of his legal work, Joseph Solfanelli enjoys opera, classical music, and ballet.

The art of ballet was developed in the 15th century during the Italian Renaissance. Modern ballet, which incorporates elements of opera and theater, traces its origins to the French court of King Louis XIV. Since then, ballet has evolved into the classical form perhaps most widely seen today in productions of The Nutcracker and Swan Lake, as well as two principal variations: neoclassical ballet and contemporary ballet.

Developed during the 1920s, neoclassical ballet is built on the foundation of classical ballet but is usually a one-act or plotless performance. The tempo is usually faster and the dramatic development less symmetrical than classical ballet, with less elaborate costumes and sets. Another major style, contemporary ballet, combines modern dance and classical ballet. Although it began in the 1930s, the most significant innovations in contemporary ballet occurred in the 1970s and 1980s. Featuring both bare feet and pointe shoes, it also incorporates floor work in its choreography.


An Introduction to the Bel Canto Technique

As a banker and business attorney, Joseph Solfanelli has provided legal counsel to clients ranging from a small community bank to the country’s largest anthracite coal company. In his free time, attorney Joseph Solfanelli enjoys attending live classical music and opera performances.

Most often translated from the Italian as “beautiful singing,” the bel canto technique is one of opera’s most beloved traditions. The technique developed from an aesthetic that prioritized a smooth sound throughout the vocal range as well as the ability of a singer to embellish a melodic line with runs, trills, and other auditory accessories. Early bel canto singers trained in vocal agility and lightness of tone, particularly in the upper registers.

Bel canto remained the ideal operatic technique into the 19th century, when larger orchestras and grander opera houses inspired grander works. Lengthy melodies required the skill of subtle breathing, while dramatic intensity asked bel canto singers to adopt a powerful sound when needed. Today’s bel canto singers must be able to perform works in both styles, from the floridly embellished to the dark and intense. In showcasing a complex and artful melody, the vocalist shows audiences how “beautiful singing” and beautiful music become two parts of a whole.

Ballet From the 1500s Through the Present

With more than three decades of experience in the legal profession, attorney Joseph Solfanelli practices law in Scranton, Pennsylvania, where he has owned his law firm since 1975. His extensive career has included many successful legal cases. Apart from his work as an attorney, Joseph Solfanelli enjoys watching ballet, a form of dance which dates back to the 15th century.

Ballet first arose during the Italian Renaissance. The courts often hosted elaborate dances for noblemen and women, and it was at these gatherings that master dancers began teaching ballet-style dances for the court to partake in. Later, ballet was funded for performances in the French courts by Catherine de Medici, wife of King Henry II. King Louis XIV spread the dance even further in the 17th century by his own participation in it, which created standards for ballet that set it on a path as a dance requiring more training and skill.

In the 1700s, Jean Georges Noverre gave the dance recognition as its own art, since previously, ballet had mostly accompanied opera. He developed a form of ballet called ballet d’action, which tells a story using dramatic motion and expression. Throughout the next century, ballet picked up more and more momentum, taking shape as a romantic art form. During the same era, pointe ballet and costumes like tutus developed. Once Russia picked up on the dance, challenging leaps and turns were incorporated and practiced regularly. Today, ballet blends many of its historic influences.