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Arttoday.com copyrightę 2001 ArtToday.com, Inc. All Rights ReservedMusic and dance
Music and dance, both purely natural arts, have gone hand in hand since the beginning of history. As early as prehistoric times, people danced to the sound of music, played or sung by their fellow men. In African tribes, one can see how music and dance serve different social and ritual needs, from evoking rain, to banishing demons and disease, war dances and holiday and wedding ceremonies.
On stage, the ancient Greeks were the first to institutionalise the link between music and dance, and created a true combination of music and ballet for purposes of the performance. Christianity, however, discarded dance, because it was viewed as a pagan relic.
Arttoday.com copyrightę 2001 ArtToday.com, Inc. All Rights ReservedDuring the era of Renaissance, as part of the general aspiration to revive the art of the ancient world, plays, integrating dance, singing and dancing, were reintroduced, and these plays were named "ballets". Ballet was dance's artistic side, whereas folk dances continued to develop, and it was during that period when the suite emerged, which later became an important musical form, one of the great influences on the music of the next centuries.
Ballet swept Europe, and its centre gradually moved from Italy to France, where it was combined with theatre, mime art, mask-performances and more. It became prestigious, and huge amounts of money were invested in it. French ballet became an art with rules and customary methodology, with no improvisation, and was based on scientific rules.
Arttoday.com copyrightę 2001 ArtToday.com, Inc. All Rights ReservedLully wrote a lot of music for ballets and presented women on stage for the first time (until then such performance acts were considered "unchaste"). In the generation that succeeded Lully, Rameau was the most important figure in ballet music, and he was the one who matched ballet with opera, as entertainment in the course of the story.
Arttoday.com copyrightę 2001 ArtToday.com, Inc. All Rights ReservedThe Romantic period freed the ballet from the heavy outfits, and the "ballerina" started claiming her place as the star of the ballet. Hovering, light, dreamy figures - such were the ballerinas of the romanticism. The ballet began its liberation from serving other arts and by the middle of the 19th century, it would become an independent art-form. Russia would then become the leading nation in the field, with composers such as Tchaikovsky, who wrote the music for the ballets "The Sleeping Beauty", "Swan Lake"Theme from the 'Swan Lake' by Tchaikovsky and "Romeo and Juliet". In France, at the same time, the audience demanded that the ballet be combined with Opera always, and French composers spiced their operas with dances. Thus, for instance, Offenbach included dances from the clubs of Paris in his operettas (for example, the famous "Kane-Kane" dance featured by a gallop in "Orpheus"). Chopin's "Sylaphides" ballet is one of the most magical of his time (these are arranged themes from his waltzes, such as the waltz in C#mValse in C#m, Op.64 No.2 (J.Segor) - Chopin). Ravel wrote the well known "Bolero" for a ballet requisitioned by Ida Rubinstein.
The beginning of the 20th century shifts the center of activity to Russia, and especially to one important name in 20th century ballet - Sergey Diaghilev, who requisitioned music from the greatest Russian composers for his ballets. Stravinsky wrote some of his most important works for Diagilev - "Firebird", "Petrushka" and "The Rite of Spring" - among the most influential pieces in the 20th century. Composers like Ravel ("Daphnis et Chloé") and de Falla ("The three-cornered hat") also wrote, by his request, wonderful ballet music.
In his will, Stravinsky asked to be burried next to Diaghilev, and that is proof of the friendship between the two of the most important, fascinating men of the century. Armenian composer Khachatorian introduced his own exotic elements into his ballets, among which are "Gian" and "Spartacus".
In the second half of the 20th century, ballet turned to fascinating new directions, and integrated electronic music, pop music and jazz.


Study more...A great web site - The Ballet
Ballet from the "Swan Lake"

Folk dances

Zooloo dancers
Africa


Degas dancers



Music stamps


Listen to
Famous waltzes
Waltz of the Flowers from 'Nutcracker Suite'
by Tchaikovsky

Valse in C#m, Op.64 No.2 by Chopin

'Blue Danube' Waltz
by Johann Strauss


Greatest ballet composers

Stravinsky
Tchaikovsky
Khachaturian
Ravel



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