seventeenth century ballet was normally performed in the same
productions as opera. This was known as opera-ballet. Lully
set the standard in the opera-ballet, and his audiences came
to see the dancing as much as the music. When the composer of
one opera-ballet, L'Europe Galante, (1697), suggested making
the dance sequences longer as well as shortening the skirts of
the female dancers, ballet became increasingly popular. By
1735 when Rameau put on an opera-ballet called Les Indes
Galantes, the dancers were definitely doing ballet, as the
ballroom and ballet dance forms were now recognised as
separate. The turning out the legs which had been originally
to display the buckles of shoes become much more important in
ballet, although it was still desirable in ballroom dancing.
Now, ballet requires almost flat turnout and in ballroom
turnout is not really necessary at all. With the French
revolution came a fashion revolution in ballet. Costumes were
much lighter and women dancers wore light flowing dresses with
a cut similar to the French Empire line, and both male and
female dancers wore soft flexible footwear.
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