Ballet is a specific technical form of dance. It was first developed in the Italian Renaissance, and later in France sponsored by the patronage of King Louis XIV, and in Russia. The word "ballet" comes from the Italian word "ballare," meaning "to dance". Later, neoclassical ballet and contemporary ballet were developed.
Works of dance choreographed using this technique are called ballets, and normally include dance, music, acting and mime. A significant part of ballet's vocabulary is in French, and reflects the French origin of this style of dance. (Troupe, Ballerina, Entrée, Arrière, Glissade, Saut, Pirouette, Derrière, Elevé, Double, etc.)
Classical ballet is the most formal of the different ballet styles. Ballet, as practiced in Europe and the Americas, emphasizes the abstract geometry of bodily form exploring the heights and extensions the body can achieve both on the floor and in the air.
Agrippina Vaganova, Enrico Cecchetti, George Balanchine and August Bournonville created famous ballet training methods. Professional ballet dancers are both athletes and artists; many years of hard training are necessary as well as daily practice. Corps de ballet refers to the troupe, not including the soloists.
Isadora Duncan was a famous "Ballerina". She rejected the traditions of ballet technique and costuming and created her own free style, which was based on naturalistic movement and performed barefoot in loose, flowing tunics. Fanny Elssler was, along with Marie Taglioni, the greatest of ballerinas in the romantic era.  Anna Pavlova, Vaslav Nijinsky, Dame Margot Fonteyne, Rudolf Nureyev, and Mikhail Baryshnikov are considered among the greatest ballet dancers. Nina Ananiashvili is one of the current international ballet stars. It was in Russia that Marius Petipa wrote the great masterpiece of ballet "Swan lake".
- The History of Ballet
- Taking Flight
- A History of the Art
- Ballet, a Web Directory
- Ballet in France
- Imperial Russian Ballet