Dance Genres


What is Ballet?

Ballet is one of the oldest, codified forms of Western dance that originated in the Italian courts of the 15th century. This art form was further developed in France which resulted in the use of French terminology that persists till today. Ballet also reached significant peaks in its development in Denmark, Russia, Britain and America over the centuries.

Ballet is best known for its graceful ballerinas who float across the stage on the tips of their toes. It was Marie Taglioni who made this technique more than a stunt and turned it into an essential part of a ballerina's repertoire. Ballet is the foundation of most modern, Western theatrical dance forms such as Jazz ballet, contemporary dance and lyrical dance.

However, ballet is not just ballerinas in tutus and pointe shoes. In fact, ballet just would not be what it is without the male dancer who performs complex partnering moves, energetic leaps and turns and lead roles in ballets such as Spartacus, Afternoon of a Faun and Apollo. Many male dancers have gone on to successful careers as choreographers and artistic directors of renowned dance companies.

What is Character Dance?

Character dance forms part of the traditional ballet repertoire. Character dances are essentially European folk dances that have been translated for performance on the stage. Character dances are usually performed in heeled shoes or boots and adopts the traditional costumes of European folk dances when performed on stage.

Spanish Dance

Spanish Dance
What is Flamenco Dance?

Flamenco dance or baile flamenca is a percussive dance from Spain that derives its influence from Arabic, Indian and gypsy culture.

Flamenco is traditionally a solo dance but, in its modern setting, can also be performed in a group.

There are variations of the dance that are suitable for men and women. Male dancers are expected to perform with machismo and women convey an earthy femininity through the sinuous movements of their arms and the gentle sway of their hips.

One of the most important aspects of flamenco is to perform with the right aire or style and feeling.

Flamenco is a very emotive form of dance and there are dances that convey specific emotions.

In fact, flamenco has been described as "a way of life for those who sing and dance their sorrows and joy".

What are Spanish Regional Dances?

Spanish regional dances are the folk dances traditional to the various regions of Spain. The regional dances of Spain are very diverse. Dances from the Southern end of Spain (such as the Sevillana and Fandango) often bear a strong resemblance to flamenco and are accompanied by castanets. Dances from the Northern end of Spain (such as the Basque and Muňeira) resembling Irish dancing with its leaps and limited arm movements.

What is Spanish Classical Dance?

Spanish classical dance (also known as the bolero) is rather like ballet performed with castanets. Like ballet, Spanish classical dance was developed in the royal court of Spain and featured virtuoso dancing and complex castanet rhythms. Spanish classical dance is not as well known as flamenco but it still forms a vital part of Spain's leading dance company, the Ballet Nacional de Espaňa.