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4 Types of Ballet

There are four different ballet dance styles that have shaped the trajectory and evolution of the art form:

1. Romantic ballet: Starting in the nineteenth century, Romantic ballet was heavily influenced by the Romantic era and is where some of the many recognizable aspects of ballet emerged, like pointe work and tutus. Romantic ballet emphasized emotion, lyricism, and drama in its narratives, and led to a rise in lead female dancers—whereas previously, male dancers had dominated the scene.

2. Classical ballet: Classical ballet is a traditional form of ballet, usually accompanied by a full orchestra and consisting of a story-driven narrative that is often anchored by a female ballerina. The movements of classical ballet often emphasize the weightlessness and extension lines of the ballerina, focusing on fluidity and outward leg rotation. Sets are constructed to complement the show’s narrative, and the dancers wear intricate costumes.

3. Contemporary ballet: This form of contemporary dance incorporates certain classical ballet elements, including elements of acting and some pointe techniques, but it is considered less strict in its execution. Contemporary ballet dance techniques allow for a wider range of upper body movement than classical ballet, and can also be performed barefoot.

4. Neoclassical ballet: Emerging in the 1920s, neoclassical ballet is less structured and more abstract than the other forms of ballet. Neoclassical ballet was formed as a response to the prevalent, dramatic elements of romantic ballet, and does not make use of traditional ballet elements like costumes, sets, or involved narratives.

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