The Decorative Arts of Ballet and Dance

Ref: C3741368

This illustrated course goes back to the 17th Century court of Louis XIV and considers how dance developed into an art form including: the rise of the first professional dancers; the development of stage costume and design in key periods such as The Romantic Ballet; the ballet of the Czars and the Diaghilev Ballet Russes. It looks at how great artists such as Leon Bakst, Pablo Picasso, Coco Chanel and other contemporary artists have influenced the world of theatre dance right up to today.

Course aim

To provide an understanding of the decorative arts of dance and ballet from its early roots in the court of Louis XIV with a view to gaining an appreciation of theatre dance today.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Appraise the historical significance of ballet as a performing art.
  • Recognise the importance of theatre dance as part of our cultural heritage today.
  • Characterise the influence that revolutionary artists such as Leon Bakst, Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse made to dance costume and design.
  • Summarise the affects of cultural and political changes in Russia and Europe and their affect on the development of theatre dance.
  • Describe the influences of contemporary artists and designers and their influence on dance costume today.

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning
  • You may be asked to undertake additional work in your own time to support your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor
  • You will be encouraged to share your work with the group and discuss your learning

What else do I need to know?

  • A selection of materials and basic equipment will be provided but you are welcome to bring additional materials with you

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading is required but research on the subject on the internet or in the library may be helpful

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider

Download full Course information sheet

The Decorative Arts of Ballet and Dance


You can if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • are paying the standard fee or are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • are paying with a credit/debit card or are not paying a fee because of a qualifying benefit
  • have a valid email address
  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2017
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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