Ballet Styles

by Shannon Lee
Ballet dance can now be divided into four different styles with very distinct elements.

Ballet dance can now be divided into four different styles with very distinct elements.

Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Ballet is one of the most traditional forms of dance that still exists today. From its origins in 15th century Italy to it's popularity at dance studios across America, ballet is an iconic form of artistic expression that is popular with young and old alike. However, some individuals are unaware that there are actually many different styles of ballet and that each style features markedly different characteristics.

Cecchetti Style

The Cecchetti style of ballet is the oldest and most traditional form of ballet technique, from which many other styles were derived. It's creator, Enrico Cecchetti, is now known as one of the greatest ballet masters in history and the Cecchetti Society, which is the governing organization that certifies ballet teachers to teach the Cecchetti style, was created in his honor. One of the greatest defining characteristics of this style is that there is less rigidity and more flow of movement when compared with other styles of ballet, especially concerning arm placement.

Vaganova Style

With it's origins in 19th century Russia, the Russian Vaganova style of ballet was derived from the earlier teachings of the Cecchetti style, but features a markedly more sharp, structured aesthetic than it's predecessor. While the Vaganova style certainly features the most rigourous training syllabus, it has turned out countless professional ballet dancers, in large part to the training ideal that dancers should dance with the entire body and not only the arms and legs. This produces polished performers, not only good technical dancers.

RAD Style

The RAD style, which stands for Royal Academy of Dance, is one of the youngest of the classical ballet methods, originating in London, England, in 1920. The RAD style is popular in many dance studios across Europe and North America in large part to the fact that it combines elements from both the Cecchetti and Vaganova styles to form a distinct style, which is extremely comprehensive in it's teachings. In RAD style, the most emphasis is placed on basic technique, with students required to master each before advancing.

New York City Ballet Style

The New York City Ballet is known as one of the first neoclassical ballet companies in the world, and it's founder, George Balanchine, as one of the most innovative directors in modern times. The New York City Ballet style is characterized by its incorporation of modern dance into classical pieces, even featuring modern dancers wearing pointe shoes. The School of American Ballet is the only major educational institution that teaches the New York City Ballet style.

About the Author

Shannon Lee began her professional journalism career in 2009. Her reporting has appeared in "The Hudson Gazette" and her editing work in the "Redwood County Newspaper." Lee is also a professional dancer and owns one of the largest dance studios in her region. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts with a double-major in communication studies and journalism.

Photo Credits

  • Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images