History of Russian Ballet

The Russian ballet is quite famous. The names of the great ballerinas are known worldwide. The first Russian ballet "Ballet of Orpheus and Eurydice" was presented on February 8, 1673 in the Preobrazhenskoye village, which located near with Moscow. There was built "Komediynaya khoromina". This ballet wasn't important for development of Russian theatrical dance, because it was only an imitation of Western European ballets.

The event, which was the first step in the development of Russian ballet school, was the creation of "Her Majesty's dance school". Jean-Baptiste Landé was its main dancing master and choreographer. The school accepted all children, not only aristocrats. The first disciples of Lande were 12 girls and 12 boys. Among them were Andrei Nesterov, Avdotia Timofeeva, Ksenia Baskakova, Elizabeth Zorina, Afanasy Toporkov. The first Russian professional ballet artists quickly and easily learnt all the techniques of foreign dance schools, they even broke foreign artists.

Then mostly foreign choreographers worked in Russia. There were Italians Gaspare Angiolini and Calzevaro, French Paradis, Austrian Franz Hilverding, French Charles le Picq, who created heroic and tragic ballets in accordance with classicism.

In the second half of the 18th century in Russia there has been an increase of cultural level of the population. Russian ballet art has taken a step forward. Since 1773 wonderful professional dancers were training in the orphanage. They successfully performed on the stages of St. Petersburg. Among them were Arina Sobakina, Vasilij Balashov, Ivan Eropkin, G. Raikov.

At the beginning of 19th century Russian ballet already made a great impression, it was in an exceptionally favorable conditions. New segments of people were interested in choreography and dancing, as well as in teachers of dance. Each high school and each board had dancing master in staff. In St. Petersburg there were always three theaters: Bolshoi Theatre for the public, which was located at the place where is the Conservatory now, Maly Theatre on the site of the present Russian State Pushkin Academy Drama Theater and Hermitage, which was opened exclusively for the royal family, courtiers and foreign visitors.

Typically, the usual understanding of classical dance by people connected with the traditional appearance of ballerina: white tutu, pink leotards on the legs and pink shoes with durable toe that allow dancing "on the fingers". But this idea is very superficial. Time changed life, theatrical fashion, aesthetic tastes and theatrical costumes. Classical appearance for ballerina of romantic time is long see-through tunic, absolutely straight hair parting, head framed with a white wreath, wings on the back.

Today appearance of classical danceres vary, ranging from short tutus, such as Greek chitons, different light stylized costumes and finishing with leotards, which tight entire body of dancer.

Classical dance is formed by long and careful selection, polishing of various precise movements and positions of the human body. It took in achievements of various dance cultures, reworked various movements of folk dances, mimes (art of mimes and jugglers), labor and domestic dances.


 

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