Ballet is an art in which adults partake in a fantasy world that is more often associated with children’s stories. Nobody speaks in a ballet–the classic story ballets are performed silently–although there is a sign language that one starts to recognize after watching several ballets. But no preparation is really required to fall into the magic of the ballet theater–besides, as with the great fairy and fantasy stories, an ability to let the world as we know it fall away as a fantastical world of magic takes its place.
In the world of ballet, chickens (La Fille Mal Garde) and swans (Swan Lake) dance, fairies good and bad cast spells (Sleeping Beauty), pirate kings find true love (Le Corsaire), and Roman gods come to life (Sylvia). Watching ballet helps break through barriers between reality and fantasy. It is an art form that can speak to children and inspire young writers to let the dream-world that is in so much ballet enrich their stories.
The digital world gives everyone access to some of the great performances of classic ballets. To get you started, we’ve added a few links below to You Tube videos of the UK’s Royal Ballet performing some of the ballets mentioned above. You’ll find many more yourselves. Have fun with the beauty of the movement and the music, and see if a balletic release into a fantasy world can help to get your creative juices flowing!
Some simple exercises to try:
Story-telling. What story might be conveyed best through dance? Is it an epic tale of fairies and unicorns, or a simple forest walk? Whatever the story is, which styles might you use tell that story? Many of the ballets below are based on full-length novels, or on short stories. Many people identify poetry in the movement of ballet. Once you know your story, and have written your story or poem, perhaps you could write it again in a different way–say, by writing a plot summary for the imaginary program given out in the theater.
Art: What might your ballet look like? What is the scenery like, and what to the characters look like? Are they all human, or might they look like something never-before-imagined? Perhaps you can draw the sets, or the characters in their costumes.
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