Definition of ballet in US English:

ballet

noun

  • 1An artistic dance form performed to music using precise and highly formalized set steps and gestures. Classical ballet, which originated in Renaissance Italy and established its present form during the 19th century, is characterized by light, graceful, fluid movements and the use of pointe shoes.

    • ‘A sprightly Cancan performance by a Russian team and the graceful ballet movements of the Vladimir-Natasha duo had the audience spell-bound.’
    • ‘Mr B is, of course, the man who propelled classical ballet into the 20th century, and whose centenary has just been celebrated.’
    • ‘I also danced classical ballet until I was 33 years old, then I gave that up and became a runner.’
    • ‘The most obvious candidates are classical ballet and the court dances from which the form emerged.’
    • ‘However, with modern ballet dance comes greater foot support through modern pointe ballet shoes and trained technique.’
    • ‘I take ballet, jazz, and Pointe, which is ballet on toe shoes.’
    • ‘He was one of the first dancemakers to marry classical ballet and modern dance.’
    • ‘There is an increasingly fine line nowadays between some modern dance and classical ballet.’
    • ‘As she stepped out lightly to the beat in measured, graceful ballet steps, she saw her parents smiling proudly at her from the front row.’
    • ‘With classical ballet, your movement is either right or wrong, and if you're wrong, you've failed.’
    • ‘In a technical and physical challenge, the dancers perform Peking opera gestures and movements at the same time as they dance ballet steps.’
    • ‘Dance forms range from classical ballet to free-form club dancing.’
    • ‘The rhythm and tone of Jacobi's voice is complemented by classical ballet music and original music by Paul Grabowsky.’
    • ‘But the two acclaimed performances of classical ballet and contemporary dance I saw were anything but stuffy.’
    • ‘I've never been a great one for ballet, and classical ballet, in particular, has pretty much passed me by.’
    • ‘The 30 dancers are said to perform athletic, emotional graceful routines, blending modern, ballet and jazz dance to pop music, gospel and jazz.’
    • ‘This opposition of free dance versus ballet presents a two-dimensional portrait of past representations of femininity.’
    • ‘The classes on Saturdays and Sundays in classical ballet and jazz dance for adults will last for two months.’
    • ‘What happens when you combine the technical formality of traditional ballet with the free-flowing movements of modern dance?’
    • ‘I danced in classical ballet because it was a way for me to learn another technique.’
    1. 1.1 A creative work or performance of ballet, or the music written for it.
      • ‘Allan Tung brought his rich background in music and theater to create a wide spectrum of beautiful ballets.’
      • ‘For example, in both ballets Fonteyn's prince does not even get to dance his solo.’
      • ‘The same could be said of musicals, operas, ballets, songs, and other narrative forms.’
      • ‘The Bolshoi-trained artist says that pop music ballets were unheard of in his native Moscow.’
      • ‘DVD issues, at least those of operas and ballets, must now also be treated differently.’
      • ‘Actually I can tell you my plan to choreograph the other Shostakovich ballets.’
      • ‘Lyon Opera Ballet does classical ballets but with a new language of movement.’
      • ‘This is not to say that it is a great ballet or even one that is in the top ten of short Bintley ballets but it is a good ballet.’
      • ‘Neumeier is an amazingly creative choreographer, and premieres about two new ballets every season.’
      • ‘Unlike his contemporaries, he often chose to commission original music for his ballets.’
      • ‘This is the last of the evening-length ballets Prokofiev wrote in the Soviet Union.’
      • ‘Balanchine thought ballets were like butterflies that could not be kept from one generation to the next.’
      • ‘The American Festival featured 15 ballets many with overtly American themes and all with American music.’
      • ‘By the end of 1777 he was writing operas and ballets in Naples.’
      • ‘One can easily find three Ashton ballets that go beautifully together.’
      • ‘The public flocked to see the very Massine ballets that Tudor so intensely disliked.’
      • ‘I saw not one ballet by Massine and only eight performances of ballets by Fokine, all in London.’
      • ‘Farrell's golden reputation as a coach of the Balanchine ballets has attracted much attention.’
      • ‘Perhaps in days gone by people had more time when they attended concerts, operas, and ballets.’
      • ‘Whether this is the only way to make ballets now, interpreting music, certainly begs questioning.’
    2. 1.2 A group of dancers who regularly perform ballets.
      ‘the New York City Ballet’
      • ‘To avoid open conflict during the performance, the ballet group omitted several controversial pieces.’
      • ‘Despite all dancers wearing ballet shoes, and the show coming from the prestigious Northern Ballet Theatre, classical ballet it is not.’
      • ‘Independent Ballet Wales presents an ideal introduction to classical ballet for young people but also an invigorating alternative to those tired old classics.’
      • ‘Up until recently, she spent some of her free time dancing modern ballet with the Roberta Ballet group.’
      • ‘This is the first of two ballet seasons Ballet Ireland presents each year.’
      • ‘English Youth Ballet is the only company in the UK that offers youngsters between the ages of eight to 18, the opportunity to dance in a full scale classical ballet.’
      • ‘Thompson will be only the third official executive director hired by the ballet in almost two decades.’
      • ‘Independent Ballet Wales bring this classical folk tale to life mixing explosive dance and classical ballet in a truly unforgettable evening.’
      • ‘Dutch National Ballet ended its third visit to the Edinburgh International Festival with a finale that sent up earnest audiences for classical music and ballet.’
      • ‘All the grace and beauty of classical ballet comes to Evesham next week when the Vienna Festival Ballet takes the Arts Centre stage.’

Origin

Mid 17th century: from French, from Italian balletto, diminutive of ballo ‘a dance’, from late Latin ballare ‘to dance’ (see ball).

Pronunciation