The Development of Ballet
Ballet is a dance form that has a long history. The fact that it survives to this day shows that it has adjusted as times have changed.
Ballet began in the royal courts during the Renaissance. At that time it became common for kings and queens, as well as other nobility, to participate in pageants that included music, poetry, and dance. As these entertainments moved from the Italian courts to the French ones, court ladies began participating in them. Though their long dresses prevented much movement, they were able to perform elaborate walking patterns. It was not until the 1600s that women dancers shortened their skirts, changed to flat shoes, and began doing some of the leaps and turns performed by men.
It was also in the 1600s that professional ballet began. King Louis XIV of France, himself a devoted dancer, founded the Royal Academy of Dance. The five basic feet positions from which all ballet steps begin were finalized. In the late 1700s another important change occurred. Ballet began to tell a story on its own. It was no longer simply dance to be performed between acts of plays. Elaborate wigs and costumes were eliminated. By the early 1800s dancers learned to rise on their toes to make it appear that they were floating.
Classical ballet as we know it today was influenced primarily by Russian dancing. The Russians remained interested in ballet when it declined in other European countries in the mid-1800s. One of the most influential figures of the early 20th century was Sergei Diaghilev. His dance company, the Ballets Russes, brought a new energy and excitement to ballet. One of his chief assistants, George Balanchine, went on to found the New York City Ballet in 1948 and to influence new generations of dancers.
31. This passage deals mainly with
A. famous names in ballet
B. Russian ballet
C. how ballet has developed
D. why ballet is no longer popular
32. The word “pageants” in Paragraph 2 means:
C. royal courts
D. big shows
33. Professional ballet was first performed in
34. Who had an important influence on early ballet
35. we can conclude from this passage that ballet
A. will continue to change
B. is a dying art
C. is currently performed only in Russia
D. is often performed by dancers with little training