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Word Count: 480
Foreshadowed in earlier mummeries and lavish masquerades ballet emerged as a distinctive form in Italy before the 16th cent The first ballet that combined movement music decor and special effects was presented in France at the court of Catherine de Medici in 1581 Organized by the violinist Balthasar de Beaujoyeux it was entitled Le Ballet comique de la Reine This production was the first ballet de cour the ancestor of the modern ballet which influenced the English court masque a 16th-century entertainment with dance interludes The first treatise on ballet dancing was the Orchsographie of Thoinot Arbeau 1588 The 17th cent saw the major development of ballet in France At first a court entertainment the simple entres were extended c1610 and joined together to form scenes called divertissements which culminated in a grand ballet Louis XIV founded the Royal Ballet Academy 1661 the Royal Music Academy 1669 which became the Paris Opra and the first National Ballet School 1672 All parts were performed by male dancers boys in wigs and masks took the female roles The first ballet using trained women was The Triumph of Love 1681 with music by Lully Ballet remained a court spectacle and included opera or drama until about 1708 when the first ballet was commissioned for public performance Thereafter the form infused with new ideas developed as a separate art although the court ballet continued its historic traditions Choreographic notation came into being and for the first time mythological themes were explored With the increased influence of the Italian school of ballet movement became elevated and less horizontal and the five classic positions of the feet which form the base for the dancers stance and movement were established by Pierre Beauchamps The costumes which had been cumbersome with decoration long skirts and high heels for both men and women were newly designed to allow greater freedom of movement The virtuosa dancer Marie Camargo who introduced the entrechat
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