If you’re new to ballet, you might be unaware of its rich and varied history. Here, then, are 10 ballet facts. Did you know…
- Historians believe that the first ballet performances occurred almost 500 years ago in Italy, and that the dancers were required to wear masks and incredibly heavy costumes that made movement very difficult.
- The word ‘ballet’ comes from the Latin word ‘ballare’, which simply means ‘to dance’.
- It can take as many as 90 hours to hand craft the perfect professional tutu. With one person working eight hours a day, that equates to over two weeks of work.
- Experts have estimated that a professional male ballerina lifts an average of one tonne during each performance. That’s about the same as a fully grown polar bear!
- Film stars Mia Wasikowska (Alice in Wonderland), Penelope Cruz (Vanilla Sky, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin) and Jamie Bell (Billy Elliot) all took ballet lessons when they were younger.
- Most pointe shoes are created so that they can fit either foot. However, once you decide which is for your left and which is for your right, switching feet is not recommended.
- French court ballet was incredibly popular during the reign of King Louis XIV, who founded the Académie Royale de Danse (Royal Dance Academy) in 1661 to create standards and ensure dance instructors were good enough to teach.
- Traditional ballets are performed with classical music, and often use elaborate costumes and staging.
- Three of the most celebrated ballerinas of all time are Anna Pavlova, Margot Fonteyn and Alicia Markova.
- Most experts consider The Nutcracker, composed in 1891 by Tchaikovsky, to be the most popular ballet of all time. It was first performed in St. Petersberg in December 1892.
Here at Bluebirds Ballet School, we offer classes for clients across London, including in Kensal Rise, Maida Vale, Marylebone and North Kensington. Contact us today for more information – you might learn something new!