Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Informative Speech on Ballet

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Without knowing it, I am sure that everyone could name at least one ballet. For example, “Swan Lake” or the “Nutcracker”. Ballet is a very expressive type of dance in which one can truly express his or her feelings, while telling a story. In this speech, I am going to tell you about the history of ballet, as well as some well known ballets and dancers.

Ballet has been around since the 1400s. The first dance performance was in 1480. In 1581, the first ballet for which a complete score survived was called “Le Ballet Comique de la Reine (The Queen’s Ballet Comedy), which took place at the courts of Catherine de’ Medici. Ballet started to flourish in the 1600s in the courts of Louis XIV (14th), also known as the Sun King. Court ballets really flourished in 1640-1715. In Italy, ballet was first performed in the early 1600s, and in 1661, the first ballet school opened in France, started by Louis XIV. In this school, the only people that were allowed to dance were the men. Women started dancing in 1681.

Ballets are very expressive ways to tell a story. The dancing is very graceful and very impressive to watch. There are five well known ballets 1) “Swan Lake”-The first production was in Moscow on May 4, 1877 at the Bolshoi Theater, but unfortunately this was not a success. The revival was a hit and got the appreciation it deserved. It was performed on January 7, 1850 at the Maryinsky Theater in St. Petersburg. This was choreographed by Marius Petipa and Ivanov. This was a ballet that was in four acts and it was based on a German fairy tale. ) “The Nutcracker”- This ballet was based on the book “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King”, which was written by ETA Hoffman. The first showing of this ballet was in 18 at the Maryinsky Theater in Russia. Marius Petipa commissioned Tchaikovsky to write music for this ballet. ) “La Sylphide”- was the first of the great romantic ballets and it premiered on March 1, 1840). “Giselle”- was choreographed by Jean Coralli and Jules Perrot and it premiered on June 8, 1841) “Coppelia”- premiered on May 5, 1870 and it was the last of the romantic ballets.

Some dancers that have flourished in ballet have been Anna Pavlova, Vaslav Nijinsky, Mikhail Baryshnikov, and Margo Fonteyn. Anna Pavlova trained at the Imperial Theater School in St. Petersburg. She made her debut with the Imperial Russian Ballet at the Maryinsky Theater in 1850. She also performed in the opening of Season of Diaghilev’s “Ballet Russe” in Paris in 1850. Vaslav Nijinsky made his debut in Folkine’s “Le Pavillion d’ Armide” in Diaghilev’s “Ballet Russe”. He was considered a master to this day and is known as the “God of Dance”. Mikhail Baryshnikov was another who was an excellent dancer. He was the preeminent male classical dancer of the 1700s and 1800s. He trained at Vaganova Ballet School, he then joined the Kirov Ballet. From there, he joined ABT in 1740 and later danced with George Balanchine from 1780-1790. Then in 1780 he returned to ABT and served as the Artisitc Director until 1785. Margo Fonteyn studied in London and later Hong Kong and United States. She then returned to London and joined Sadler’s Wells Ballet School. Her first solo performance in the “Haunted Ballroom”. All of these dancers made an impact in the world of ballet.

In this speech, you have learned about the beginnings of ballet, as well as some well known ballets and dancers. Ballet has been around for many centuries and it is still flourishing today. It tells a story in a very expressive way. After learning some of the highlights through my speech, hopefully it might become a part of yours, too.

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