Ballet – A Brief History of the Art Form

Ballet originated in Europe over 400 years ago and has since evolved from court dance to an art form that balances athleticism and artistry and supports creative experimentation.  Explore the rich history of ballet by watching the videos, clicking the links, and checking out the suggested reading below!


The Origins of Ballet – A Ted Ed Presentation


Suggested Reading (check out the following at your local library, bookstore, or find them online at

Apollo’s Angels:  A History of Ballet by Jennifer Homans, 2010

Ballet:  An Illustrated History by Clement Crisp and Mary Clarke, 1992

Ballet and Modern Dance:  A Concise History by Jack Anderson, 1993

Ballet in Western Culture:  A History of its Origins and Evolution by Carol Lee, 1992

For additional reading suggestions on ballet, visit our Book Club for more ideas: Ballet AZ Book Club!

  • Interactive Ballet History Timeline

    Created by The Royal Ballet School of London as an easy-to-explore linear chronology, this Interactive Timeline features illustrations from The Royal Ballet School Special Collections.

    Take a Look

  • The Tutu's Tale: A Cultural History of Ballet's "Angels"

    Former professional ballet dancer and dance historian Jennifer Homans discusses the history of ballet and her book, Apollo's Angels, with NPR on the segment, Fresh Air. Listen to the Interview

  • Ballet 101: A Brief History

    Ballet is an art form that has spanned centuries. Take a look at where it all began with this brief history! Read the blog

  • 10 Most Influential Ballerinas of All Time

    From the 19th century to today, here is our list of the most iconic and influential ballerinas you need to know! Read the blog