Introduction of Ballet


When I was a child, my most familiar music is “Swan Lake” by Tchaikovsky. The meaningful and long-drawn-out music greatly affects my generation. At that time, I think the most effective way to make us quiet is to listen to the “Swan Lake”. However, I had just listened to the music and seen a little parts of the show and I didn’t know quiet much about ballet. After I watched the whole video of “Swan Lake” recently, I found that ballet is so wonderful, amazing and makes me immersed in it. In my opinion, ballet perfectly combines a lot of art elements--- dancing, music, drama and poetry---- and presents them out in an absolutely faultless performance.

   Ballet is defined as “a classical dance form characterized by grace and precision of movement and by elaborate formal gestures, steps, and poses.” ( According to “A Brief History of Ballet” by Don Gillan (2007), ballet firstly appeared in the lavish entertainments during Italy Renaissance. The first true ballet --- “The Queen’s Ballet Comedy” was performed in Paris in 1581. In France, ballet got further developed and “reached its peak” during the reign of Louis XIV who open the first ballet school in the world. In 19th century, the period of romantic ballet began. The most significant is that female ballet dancers danced on their toes so that it seems they are floating across the stage. Moreover, lights, ballet suits and shoes were also improved that made ballet more like “otherworldly lightness”. Today, ballet is in a new sense of realism and more variety. Choreographers explored new concepts and developed their characters in more depth. “In modern ballet performance, you can see many impressive uses of torso and movements performed whilst lying and sitting on the floor.”


  In my opinion, “Swan Lake” is the most excellent ballet dance. There are many versions of “Swan Lake” but the Marius Petipa & Lev Ivanov version of “Swan Lake” was considered the “standard” today, which in fact created after Tchaikovsky’s death and was greatly altered from the original concept. The whole show is divided into four acts. I think the Act II is the most significant and important which describes how prince and swan princess meet and fall in love with each other. The slowly “Pas de Deux” exquisitely present the princess’s emotional changes from afraid of the prince to fall in love with him. The princess uses solo dance to tell the prince her cruel destiny. The beautiful and soft solo dance perfectly presents the princess’s sorrow. At the end of Act II, there is a dance of four little swans which is famous in the world. Four dancers are hand in hand stepping in trim and springy on the stage that vividly presents the image of four little swan. In the show “Swan Lake”, I feel that the music is the most important part. Different expressions of music masterly create different characters and organize the development of story.

     To my viewpoint, ballet is a form of dance that use body action to express character’s thought and emotion, to present a story. The fantastic toe steps, graceful body actions, vivid facial expressions, beautiful suits, appropriate music and pleasant light make audience feel like they are right in the scene. Watching ballet can also cultivate one’s temperament. The airy steps and melodic music of ballet make me feel like flying. It “takes” my heart out of my body to the sky; "cleanse” it with gentle wind. Just as Maurice Bejart said, “dance is a spiritual mass”.