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What Is Ballet?

Precision Arts aims to inspire kids to feel alive as dancers and continue growing as a performing artist through practice and competitions around the country. Ballet is one popular dance style for which we host competitions. Ballet is a beautiful dance form, emerging more than 600 years ago during the Italian Renaissance. Reach out to Precision Arts today if you want to start competing in ballet tournaments around the country!


Early Ballet


Ballet emerged as a formalized court dance in Italy in the 15th century. It quickly spread to French courts as well, and, by the 17th century, there were several ballet academies across Western Europe, especially in Paris, where ballet was first presented on stage instead of in court.


Ballet in the 19th Century


In the 1800s, ballet was notably performed alongside one of the most popular musical art forms of the time: opera. The two art forms were not always performed together, but the seed of the idea of ballet as a performance art that tells a story was planted here. During the 19th century, Russia started opening up ballet theaters to anyone who could afford a ticket. Classics such as “Sleeping Beauty,” “Swan Lake,” and “The Nutcracker” were all composed at this time. Russia made a significant contribution to the evolution of ballet technique and had some of the most skilled ballerinas of the time.


Ballet in the 20th Century


The 1900s continued to see Russia dominate the ballet world. There were many ballet companies, and it was culturally viewed as less of an upper-class dance style and more of a national dance of which everyone could be proud. Russian ballet achieved its greatness by blending classical ballet choreography with Russian folk dances.


Ballet in the 20th century had a wide influence over many other dance styles. Ballet was also instrumental in the development of modern dance styles around the world. Ballet in America was expanded significantly with the arrival of a Russian emigre, George Balanchine, who contributed to American neoclassical ballet styles, with expanded choreography and techniques from classical ballet.

Ballet Styles


Today, ballet remains an extremely popular style of dance to learn, especially for kids. However, there is not just one “pure ballet”, but many different types:


#1: Classical Ballet


Classical ballet is the most traditional, but still can be broken down further into different national styles — French, Italian, English, and Russian.


#2: Romantic Ballet


Romantic ballet was ballet that emerged in the mid-19th century, with plots revolving around spirit women enslaving the hearts of mortal men. A unique choreography emerged out of these ballet dances.


#3: Neoclassical Ballet


Neoclassical ballet is abstract and usually has no clear plot or set on the stage. They tend to favor athleticism over delicacy, and tend to be more physically daring and intense. A closely related offshoot of neoclassical ballet is modern ballet.


#4: Contemporary Ballet


This barefoot style of ballet emerged in the 1970s and 80s, and is similar to neoclassical and modern ballet. What makes it different is that it takes on more innovations from 20th century modern dance, including floor work and turn-in of the legs.


Ballet Competitions in the USA


Today, ballet competitions are held regularly all over the world, including here in America. Precision Arts is proud to provide an opportunity for dancers to test themselves against recognized international competitions standards of dance excellence and show off their artistry, skills, and technique. Competitions are a great way to spread knowledge, new techniques, and to continue to grow as a dancer. If you would like to register for one of our dance competitions, check our tour dates and contact us today if you have any questions!


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