Ballet

Ballet

Ballet is an artistic form of dancing, using exact steps and movements. Dancers have to be light on their feet and graceful. ‘A ballet’ is a big production on the stage, with a story that is told through music and ballet dancing. The music is often wonderful to listen to on its own.

Do You Know?

Do You Know?

See if you can answer the questions below!

 Which of the following is not a dance step in ballet?

a. Arabesque
b. Plié
c. Habanera

 What is the name of the famous fairy in The Nutcracker?

a. The Green Fairy
b. Aurora
c. The Sugar Plum Fairy

 Ballerinas often wear which of these?

a. T-shirt
b. Tutu
c. Trousers

Play More Music!

Play More Music!

Listen to more tracks and works featured in Ballet.

Ballet

Pyotr Il’yich Tchaikovsky (1840–1893)
Pyotr Il’yich Tchaikovsky (1840–1893): The Nutcracker (highlights)

It is Christmas Eve. The little wooden nutcracker that Clara is brought by her godfather comes alive and takes her to the wonderful  Land of Sweets! The Nutcracker is one of the most famous works by the Russian composer Tchaikovsky. It was first performed in St Petersburg in 1892. Now it’s often enjoyed at Christmas.

Performers: Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra; Michael Halász

Taken from Naxos 8.553271

Pyotr Il’yich Tchaikovsky (1840–1893)
Pyotr Il’yich Tchaikovsky (1840–1893): Swan Lake (highlights)

Princess Odette has been transformed into a white swan by the wicked magician Rotbart. Prince Siegfried wants to marry the Princess and the magician wants to stop him, but eventually Odette and Siegfried’s love wins and the two are together.

Performers: Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra; Michael Halász

Taken from Naxos 8.553271

Pyotr Il’yich Tchaikovsky (1840–1893)
Pyotr Il’yich Tchaikovsky (1840–1893): Sleeping Beauty (highlights)

A princess is put to sleep for 100 years by an evil fairy, but will be woken with a kiss from a handsome prince. Tchaikovsky’s Sleeping Beauty was first performed in 1890. It is full of the rich melodies that make him so popular.

Performers: Slovak State Philharmonic Orchestra, Košice; Andrew Mogrelia

Taken from Naxos 8.572931


Léo Delibes (1815–1910): Coppélia (highlights)

Coppélia is the name of a life-size doll created by a sinister inventor. A young villager falls madly in love with it, until his true sweetheart shows him the error of his ways. Delibes’ gentle, humorous opera has proved lastingly popular.

Performers: Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra; Andrew Mogrelia

Taken from Naxos 8.553356-57

Sergei Prokofiev (1891–1953)
Sergey Prokofiev (1891–1953): Romeo and Juliet (highlights)

Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet is based on Shakespeare’s famous play about two young people who fall in love but whose families are enemies.

Performers: Slovak State Philharmonic Orchestra, Košice; Andrew Mogrelia

Taken from Naxos 8.550380

Igor Stravinsky (1882–1971)
Igor Stravinsky (1882–1971): Petrushka (highlights)

A tragic love triangle unfolds between three puppets. Stravinsky’s fierce, fast-paced music immediately draws you into the puppets’ fantastical world!

Performers: Robert Groslot, piano; Belgian Radio and Television Philharmonic Orchestra; Alexander Rahbari

Taken from Naxos 8.550263

Igor Stravinsky (1882–1971)
Igor Stravinsky (1882–1971): The Rite of Spring

A bizarre, fierce ballet (in the story, a girl dances herself to death), The Rite of Spring caused a riot at its first performance. People were shocked by how strange and forward-looking the musical sounds were.

Performers: Belgian Radio and Television Philharmonic Orchestra; Alexander Rahbari

Taken from Naxos 8.553217

Béla Bartók (1881–1945)
Béla Bartók (1881–1945): The Miraculous Mandarin

Like Stravinsky before him, Bartók tended to shock. The Miraculous Mandarin caused an uproar, and at one time it was even banned! The plot is simple: a girl lures a man off the street, where he is attacked by three tramps who rob him. But no matter how hard they try to kill him, he won’t die.

Performers: Bournemouth Symphony Chorus; Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra; Marin Alsop

Taken from Naxos 8.557433


George Antheil (1900–1959): Ballet Mécanique

This isn’t a ballet in a traditional sense: there are no human dancers and no plot. The ‘ballet’ is performed by the mechanical ‘instruments’ – including aeroplane propellers and a siren – which also create the music.

Performers: Philadelphia Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra, Daniel Spalding

Taken from Naxos 8.559060