Etymology of the word "ballet"

Essay by meghan32188College, UndergraduateA, September 2007

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Etymology of Ballet

In APA Style

Meghan Findley

TA: Heather Giovanini

University of North Texas

Etymology of Ballet

"Ballet is not a technique but a way of expression that comes more closely to the inner language of man than any other- George Borodin" (Cirioli, 2007). Ballet is just a word, but like all words, it can be dissected into its etymology representing multiple meanings, definitions, usages, and a history. With every word comes a deeper meaning and background. The questions of ballet's several meanings, definitions, usages, and history will be answered through an analytical journey via the written word.

At first thought, one might just think that ballet is just some simple dance or combination of dance movements. The meaning of ballet goes beyond the pink tutus, tights, and make-up. There are three key descriptors that interpret what ballet means to the educated world.

The first description is "a classical dance form characterized by grace and precision of movement and by elaborate formal gestures, steps, and poses (American Heritage Dictionary, 2000). An example of grace and precision would be the ability to create a flow of movements that look simple to an audience, but in reality, it actually is a series of many difficult components that an untrained individual would not be able to perform. The second key descriptor is "a theatrical presentation of group or solo dancing to a musical accompaniment, usually with costume and scenic effects, conveying a story or theme" (American Heritage Dictionary, 2000). This definition presents the term as an appearance of one or more dancers communicating a story to the audience through sound and costumes. American Heritage Dictionary also defines ballet as "a company or group that performs ballet." This definition would include the economic and financial...