Classical Ballet

An Overview

    Classical ballet is the oldest and most formal of ballet styles. It is a style that uses techniques of Russians, Italians, and most importantly the French. Terms are still given in the French language, making it easy for dancers and choreographers to dance around the world while still having effective communication. The turnout of the leg was highlighted in this era. Although classical ballet leaves little room for creative expression, this form of ballet continues to be popular today, seen being taught world wide at dance companies and centers everywhere.  

Swan Lake by America Ballet Theater 2005

YouTube Video

This video is a full length performance by the american Ballet Theatre performing Swan Lake, a famous ballet from the Classical Period choreographed by Marius Petipa, and music by Tchaikovsky.

Marius Petipa "The Father of Classical Ballet"

In 19th century Russia, Marius Petipa, arguably the most influential choreographer in the history of ballet, is famous for taking russian folklore tales and turning them into ballet productions. Some of the most recognizable are The Nutcracker, The Sleeping Beauty, The Swan Lake, and so many more. According to American Ballet Theatre, “Petipa elevated the Russian ballet to international fame and laid the cornerstone for 20th Century ballet. His classicism integrated the purity of the French school with Italian virtuosity.” He is also credited with inventing the format of the classical ballet. Marius Petipa collaborated with Tchaikovsky on many occasions, and they both rose to success because of their outstanding work.

To read more about Marius Petipa, visit:

American Ballet Theatre (ABT)

The American Ballet Theatre is a world recognized classical ballet company. Located in New York City, NY, it is also the ballet company that is formally recognized by U.S. Congress in 2006 as "America’s National Ballet Company." Launched in 1939, and being directed by Lucia Chase and Oliver Smith, the aim for ABT was to find young talent and create brand new works. It is now over 70 years old, and has performed in more than 132 cities, in 42 countries, and also in every state of the United States. “The repertoire, perhaps unmatched in the history of ballet, includes all of the great full-length ballets of the nineteenth century, such as Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty and Giselle, the finest works from the early part of this century, such as Apollo, Les Sylphides, [and] Jardin aux Lilas and Rodeo.”-ABT

Class notes- University of Georgia- Dance 2010- Professor Daryl Foster (1/2012-4/2012)