Classical Dance History & Leotrad
The origins of classical dance can be traced back to the 15th century in what is known as Renaissance Italy. For the nobility and aristocratic women of that era, being able to dance and move their bodies gracefully was essential.
Ballet was democratized at weddings and important ceremonies organized by nobles, with dancers designed to entertain guests. The word "ballet" comes from French and he adapted the Italian word "balletto" which itself is a variation of "ballo" meaning "dance".
The movement quickly spread throughout Europe, especially France, and ballet became a hit. The rise of classical French dance was largely due to the support of the royal family. In fact, when Catherine de' Medici (from Florence) married Henry II, heir to the French throne, in the 16th century, she came to court with a passion for dance. Thus, French ballet was born.
The first court ballet is said to have been staged in 1581 at the current Louvre Museum. Balthazar de Beaujoyeulx's "The Comic Ballet of the Queen" lasted five hours, with most of the dancers being men! Its performances later became the basis for Lully and Molière's comedy ballet.