The History of Dance and Ballet

Ref: C3742797

This illustrated course looks 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: Ballet de la Cour; the Romantic Ballet period; the Ballet of the Tsars and the Diaghilev Ballet Russes. It considers how great artists such as Leon Bakst, Pablo Picasso, Coco Chanel and other contemporary designers have influenced the world of theatre dance today.

Course aim

To show how the decorative arts of ballet, including costume and scenic design, have evolved from their roots in the court of Louis XIV to dance in the theatre 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 today.
  • Recognise the importance of theatre dance as part of our cultural heritage.
  • Characterise the influence that innovative artists such as, Leon Bakst, Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse, have made to dance costume and design.
  • Summarise the effects of cultural changes in Russia and Europe and their affect on the development of theatre dance.
  • Describe the influences of contemporary artists and their influence on dance costume and design 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?

Download full course information sheet

The History of Dance and Ballet


As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you book. Please could we ask that you check the list below to ensure you meet our basic criteria:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2018
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

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