Top 10: Best ballet performances


For all beginning ballet enthusiasts, we have listed the top 10 best ballet performances. Ballet is a classical dance form bound by a number of fixed techniques. This dance form originated in Italy in the 15th century. The first ballet performances in theaters date back to 1669 as part of the opera. Many of the most famous ballet performances originate from Russia.

10. Cinderella

In tenth place is Cinderella, aka Cinderella. There are many versions of Cinderella, but Cinderella was first performed by the Mariinsky Ballet in 1893. That version was choreographed by Enrico Cecchetti and Lev Ivanon, with production supervised by Marius Petipa. Music is by Baron Boris Fitinhoff-Schell. The libretto is by Lidia Pashkova and Ivan Vsevolozhsky. Another well-known version of this ballet is Prokofiev's 1945.

9. Don Quichot

In ninth place is Don Quixote. Don Quixote is based on an excerpt from Miguel de Cervantes' famous novel. The original choreography of Don Quixote comes from Marius Petipa to music by Ludwig Minkus. The ballet was first presented by the Imperial Ballet's ballet at Moscow's Bolshoi Theater in January 1869. Petipa and Minkus revised the ballet in a much more elaborate version in five acts and eleven scenes for the Imperial Ballet. Don Quixote is nowadays performed with a contemporary decor and the clothes made by Jérome Kaplan.

8. Sleeping Beauty

Sleeping Beauty is in eighth place. Sleeping Beauty is a ballet written by Pyotr Tchaikovsky. The first performance took place at the Mariinsky Theater in St. Petersburg in 1890. The work is generally regarded as Tchaikovsky's most refined ballet piece and has become one of the best known ballets. Sleeping Beauty was the second of three ballets composed by Tchaikovsky. The original screenplay came from Ivan Vsevolozhsky and was based on Charles Perraults' La Belle au bois Dormant. The choreographer for the original production was Marius Petipa.

7. A Midsummer Night's Dream

In seventh place is A Midsummer Night's Dream. A Midsummer Night's Dream has been choreographed by George Balanchine to Felix Mendelssohn's music. The ballet is based on Shakespeare's play. In addition to the incidental music, Balanchine has added other music by Mendelssohn to the ballet, such as Overtures to Athalie, Son and Stranger, and The Fair Melusine, Symphony No. 9 for Strings and The First Walpurgis Night. A Midsummer Night's Dream is Balanchine's first complete original ballet. It was first performed by the New York City Ballet on January 17, 1962.

6. Le Sacre du printemps (The Rite of Spring)

In sixth place is Le Sacre Du Printemps, also known as The Rite of Spring. Le Sacre du Printemps is a ballet by Serge Diaghilev's Ballets Russes choreographed by the dancer Vaslav Nijinsky to the music of the Russian composer Igor Stravinsky, with set and costume designs by the artist and archaeologist Nikolaj Rjorich. Le Sacre du Printemps is one of the most revolutionary works of the 20th century.

The premiere took place on May 29, 1913 at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées in Paris. Pierre Monteux conducted the orchestra. The idea for the ballet grew out of Nikolai Rjorich's interest in primitive cultures. Stravinsky himself wrote the screenplay. The ballet consists of two parts: l'Adoration de la Terre (The Adoration of the Earth) and Le Sacrifice (The Sacrifice).

5. La Bayadère (The Temple Dancer)

La Bayadère is in fifth place. La Bayadère is a classical ballet was first performed on February 4, 1877 by the MarMariinsky Ballet at the Bolshoi Theater in Saint Petersburg. The original version of the piece was choreographed by Marius Petipa and he produced the same piece in 1900. The music is by Ludwig Minkus. Today, La Bayadère is performed in two different versions: Vakhtang Chabukiani's and Vladimir Ponomaryov's 1941 version for the Kirov Ballet, or Natalia Makarova's 1980 version for the American Ballet Theater.

4. Giselle

Giselle is in fourth place. Giselle is a romantic ballet composed by Adolphe Adam. Giselle was originally choreographed by Jean Coralli and Jules Perrot. The libretto was written by Theophile Gautier and Jules-Henri Vernoy de Saint-Georges. Giselle is inspired by the legend of the Willis from De l'Allemagne by Heinrich Heine. It was first performed by the Ballet du Théâtre de l'Académie Royale de Musique, at the Salle Le Peletier in Paris on June 28, 1841.

3. The Nutcracker

The Nutcracker is in third place. The Nutcracker is a ballet from 1892 set to music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. The original choreography, based on a fairy tale by the German writer E.T.A. Hoffmann, belonged to Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov. The play, which is also suitable for children, is set around a Christmas tree. The Nutcracker is therefore often performed around Christmas.
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2. Romeo and Juliet

Romeo and Juliet are in second place. Romeo and Juliet is a ballet by Sergei Prokofiev. It is of course based on William Shakespeare's famous play. Romeo and Juliet was first performed in Brno, then Czechoslovakia, in 1938. The piece has been re-choreographed several times, for example by Sir Frederick Ashton in 1955, John Cranko in 1962, Kenneth MacMillan in 1965 and Rudolph Nureyey in 1977. The original choreography was by Leonid Lavrovsky.

1. The Swan Lake

You may have already expected it: Swan Lake is of course in the first place. Swan Lake is a ballet by the choreographers Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov to the music of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. Swan Lake was first performed at the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow on March 4, 1877. This was a shortened version of the complete work.

Swan Lake was not a great success at first, the audience had to get used to the music, which played a predominant role. The choreography only served as a secondary representation of the storyline that was mainly told through the music. On February 17, 1895, Swan Lake was first performed in its full length in St. Petersburg. Today Swan Lake is the most performed ballet piece in the world, and everyone has at least heard of it.
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