Neoclassical Ballet

Image from "Apollo" which is considered to be one of the first Neoclassical ballets

    Neoclassical ballet is a 20th century style that takes from its Russian predecessor and uses traditional ballet vocabulary but is less rigid than classical ballet. The dancing in neoclassical ballet is usually done at more extreme tempos and more technical, as well. The focus on structure is a defining characteristic of neoclassical dance. George Balanchine is a notary figure of neoclassical dance. Balanchine deconstructed the ballet technique, ridding the performance of dramatic sets, stories, tutus and anything else that would take the focus away from the technique and virtuosity of the dance.
George Balanchine during instruction

George Balanchine is responsible for bringing ballet to America. He began dancing at age and eventually danced under Sergei Diaghilev. The Ballet Russe left Russia and became the Ballet Russe of Monte Carlo, which Diaghilev asked Balanchine to join. In 1943, Balanchine linked up with Lincoln Kirstein in London, England. Balanchine moved to New York and formed the Ballet Society, then The School of American Ballet, which trained dancers to become professionals. Eventually, Kirstein and Balanchine went on to form New York City Ballet. Balanchine is also known for his deconstruction of classical ballet.  Using only blue CYC and strip lighting, Balanchine focused on the technique and virtuosity of dance. Balanchine believed that the thinner the body was, the more line oriented the dance could be. His concept of a dancer’s body replaced financial elitism with physical elitism. Ballet movement was increased and higher legs and defined angles were created.

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"Apollo", cited as the first neoclassical ballet, was presented for the first time in 1928. Choreographed by George Balanchine, the story featured the neoclassical style that Balanchine was famous for, the deconstruction of classical ballet. The story centers around Apollo, the Greek god of music who is visited by three muses, Terpischore, muse of dance and song, Polyhymynia, muse of mime, and Calliope, muse of poetry.