Can you dance your way through this ballet history quiz?

Isadora Teich

Image: shutterstock

About This Quiz

Ballet requires grace, strength and years of backbreaking dedication. Do you have what it takes to plié your way through this HowStuffWorks quiz? Point your toes and give it a whirl!

In which country does ballet have its roots?

The art of ballet began in Italy. The word "ballet" itself even comes from the Latin word "ballare," then the Italian word "balletto" and, finally, the French "ballet."

What are female ballet dancers called?

Female ballet dancers are referred to as ballerinas. While originally not regarded as highly as male dancers, they have become the stars of modern ballet.

During which era did people begin to dance ballet?

Ballet was created during the Renaissance, in Italy. Italian Catherine de Medici introduced the dance to court life in France when she married King Henry II.

Where is the oldest national ballet company in the world based?

The Paris Opera Ballet is the oldest national ballet company in the world. It was founded in 1669 and is, to this day, one of the three most prestigious ballet companies on earth.

Which famous ballet features a woman cursed to turn into a swan?

"Swan Lake" features the beautiful Odette, who has been cursed to turn into a swan by the evil Von Rothbart. Only the love of a virgin prince can break the curse in this classic Russian ballet.

Which type of ballet draws from diverse modern influences?

Contemporary ballet can be influenced by numerous dance styles, but still uses ballet technique. It allows dancers and choreographers to experiment with ballet in new ways.

Early ballet was commonly a part of which type of performance in France?

For nearly a hundred years in France, ballet was an expected component of opera. Nearly all opera performances included a ballet element to relieve tension.

Most ballet terms are in which language?

Ballet terms are in French, as this where the early vocabulary and style of classic ballet began to evolve. Early ballet involved heavy masks and costumes and less movement, which is very different from the ballet of today.

In France, early ballet was mostly performed where?

Professional dancers were often hired to be part of the entertainment at court events, which was provided by the nobles. These parties and events grew in size and extravagance over the years.

Which country, other than France, became world famous for ballet?

By the mid-1800s, Russia was famous for its creative ballet. During the 1900s a world renowned group of Russian dancers and artists, called Ballet Russes, traveled the world, performing.

What ballet technique requires special shoes to be worn by the dancers?

Pointe technique requires the dancer to bear all of their body weight on the tips of extended feet while wearing pointe shoes. The shoes make this technique possible.

Where in the U.K. is The Royal Ballet company based?

The Royal Ballet is based in the Royal Opera House in London. The company was founded in 1931 and The Queen is its royal patron.

When did ballet become popular in America?

Ballet became popular in America in the 1930s. Several members of the Russian touring ballet group Ballet Russes settled in America to live and work. Ballet master of the Ballet Russes, George Balanchine, founded the New York City Ballet, which helped to establish its popularity in America.

Who performed in early ballets at royal French courts?

Members of the court would perform early ballet, along with some some dancers. King Louis XIV was considered a great dancer.

Which Shakespearian play was adapted into a ballet?

It is common for older stories to be made into ballets. This ballet premiered in Czechoslovakia in 1938.

Where were the first ballet academies opened?

After ballet stopped being performed at the French court, Louis XIV began two ballet academies in France. These were the Académie Royale de Danse and the Académie Royale de Musique.

Until the late 1600s, all of the most renowned professional ballet dancers were:

In the early years of ballet's rise to prominence in France, the most accomplished dancers were men. This changed in 1681, when Mlle La Fontaine appeared. Over time, she and other female dancers became as well known as male dancers.

Which artist was famous for painting ballet dancers?

This French impressionist artist, who lived from 1834-1917, was known for creating works that showcased dancers. Degas created paintings, sculptures, drawings and prints.

In France, ballet was originally funded by:

Ballet and opera were initially closely supported by and associated with the French court. This all changed after the French Revolution.

Pointe technique was originally performed by:

1830-1850 is often considered the golden age of ballet. This is when female dancers became more popular than male ones, largely because they were the ones doing pointe work.

When do most professional ballet dancers begin training?

Professional ballet dancers often begin training as young children, before the age of eight. If dancers train in pointe, it is not until they are a little older, because it can potentially harm their growing feet.

What are male ballet dancers called?

Male ballet dancers have been called "ballerinos" in the past. It referred to a specific position in a ballet company in Italy. This term is less common today.

Where is the Bolshoi Ballet company based?

The Bolshoi Ballet is a world renowned classical ballet company. The company, founded in 1776, is based in Moscow, Russia.

Which of these countries was a late bloomer when it came to developing a ballet tradition?

Italy, where ballet began, and Russia and France, where it flourished and evolved, all had distinct ballet styles by the 19th century. While ballet was popular in London, it was mostly performed by stars visiting from abroad in those days.

The score of "Swan Lake" was created by which famous composer?

As the 19th century ended, the center of ballet moved to St. Petersburg, where it was revived. Some of the most famous ballets of all time were created during this time and set to Tchaikovsky scores. One of these is "Swan Lake."

Which Disney movie has the same name as a famous unfinished Russian ballet?

"Cinderella" was Tchaikovsky's first attempt at scoring a ballet, but for unknown reasons he never finished. He wrote a letter to his brother in 1870, in which he mentioned the project.

Which ballet features a lovely young girl who is bullied by her wicked stepmother?

After premiering in Moscow in 1945, this ballet became an instant classic. The music was composed by Sergei Prokofiev.

Who made history as the first African American principal dancer at the American Ballet Theatre?

In 2015, Misty Copeland made history as the first African American principal dancer at the American Ballet Theatre. The company was founded in 1939.

What style of ballet focuses on classical ballet technique?

Classical ballet makes use of the classical ballet technique. It is highly visual and involves famously difficult techniques, such as pointe work.

Romantic ballet was largely influenced by:

Romantic ballet was influenced by Romanticism, a movement in literature and art that swept Europe during the first half of the 19th century. Romantic art focuses on emotions, individualism, and nature.

Which country reinvigorated ballet when it was declining in Europe?

The Russian court and czar supported ballet after it became less popular in Europe during the late 1800s. This is why many of the most famous ballets are Russian.

Which famous Russian ballet is often performed during the holiday season?

This famous ballet, based on a classic Christmas story, has a score written by Tchaikovsky. It premiered a week before Christmas, 1891 in St Petersburg.

In which state is the oldest ballet company in America?

The San Francisco Opera Ballet was the first professional ballet company in America. It was founded in 1933 to train dancers for extravagant opera performances.

Neoclassical ballet performances often do not have:

Neoclassical ballet makes use of classical ballet technique, but focuses more on movement and visuals than on storytelling. Sometimes there are no costumes or backdrop.

Which ballet company found a way to turn Shakespeare's "Macbeth" into a ballet in 2016?

"Macbeth" is among the most famous of Shakespeare's tragedies. It has yet to be turned into a ballet performed by a world-famous company, but in 2016 the Carolina Ballet presented a wordless ballet production.

About HowStuffWorks Play

How much do you know about dinosaurs? What is an octane rating? And how do you use a proper noun? Lucky for you, HowStuffWorks Play is here to help. Our award-winning website offers reliable, easy-to-understand explanations about how the world works. From fun quizzes that bring joy to your day, to compelling photography and fascinating lists, HowStuffWorks Play offers something for everyone. Sometimes we explain how stuff works, other times, we ask you, but we’re always exploring in the name of fun! Because learning is fun, so stick with us!

Explore More Quizzes