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A BRIEF HISTORY OF CLASSICAL BALLET

After the era of Romantic ballet, the next major development in ballet transpired in Russia. The country had a long folk dance tradition and during the 18th century, landowners had maintained serf dance companies. Moreover, dancing was taught in military academies regularly.

The dancers of the Maryinsky (Kirov) Ballet and Bolshoi Ballet, as well as the students at the Imperial Russian Ballet schools in St Petersburg and Moscow were very privileged and considered as members of the royal household.

Classical ballet was developed during the late 19th century when the ballet master in St Petersburg was Marius Petipa. This type of ballet is a combination of the French style of Romantic ballet, the Italian techniques developed in the late 19th century, and obviously Russian teaching.

Classical ballet performances in the 1890s lasted a whole evening and were spectacular and realistic. The story was exciting, with the narrative told in mime gestures and the corps de ballet used as a background. Moreover, the ballerina always danced on pointe, regardless of the character or role that she plays.

 

Training for classical ballet lasted for about 7 to 8 years and students receive academic education, together with dance training. Furthermore, students lived in convent-like austerity, and opposite sexes were not allowed to talk to each other and only met in class.

Valia Verbeva

Prima ballerina of Bulgarian national  ballet

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