Skip to Content

What is Ballet Dance?

By Samantha Bellerose, B.Ed, Dip.Dance(Performing Arts)

Ballet is a formalized set of movements performed with skill, technique, and grace. A ballet class anywhere in the world will follow a consistent pattern involving barre and centre work all developing strength, technique, and flexibility.

Male and Female Ballet Dancers

Ballet is very traditional with many of the great Ballet’s being performed by different dance companies and schools all over the world, either reinvented or with the original traditional choreography.

Ballet originated in Italy during the 15th century. It was introduced to France through royalty, where it was developed into a coded system of movement, and is why Ballet terminology is in French. Ballet as a profession spread throughout Europe to Russia by the 1700s and eventually throughout the world.

Did we already say Ballet is very traditional? Well, we will say it again because stereotypically there is also a very basic universal ballet uniform worn in various ways all over the world. This uniform for females consists of ballet or pointe shoes, tights (both usually pink, although this tradition is currently being challenged to reflect the diverse range of dancer skin tones), a leotard, and a bun in the hair – just add a tutu for performances. Males also wear ballet shoes and recently in some all-male ballet companies pointe shoes, tights (there really isn’t a standard color for men here), and either a leotard or tight t-shirt.

Ballet develops discipline, technique, strength, and flexibility which are needed for all forms of dance and are beneficial to living in general. Ballet develops muscle strength, memory, and tone which can last a lifetime.  It is also a profession in which talented dancers can make a career. Ballet creates passionate people who are artistic and work tirelessly for their craft.

This page is just one of hundreds of definitions of the many styles and genres of dance. This library is being continually added to by the writers and contributors of Dance Parent 101!