History of Ballet and Dance

Ref: C3744373

Dance is an important part of our cultural heritage.The illustrated course looks at how dance developed over key periods of its history from the 17th Century court of Louis XIV to the present day including: the first professional dancers; the 'Romantic' ballet period and its subsequent decline; the patronage of the Czars and the great Tchaikovsky classic, Swan Lake. It will explain how new dance styles and themes developed in the early 20th Century through the Diaghilev Ballet Russes and how artists such as Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse brought innovation to stage design and costume. We conclude by choosing a selection of works by contemporary choreographers. We assess their artistic collaborations and the contribution they have made to the rich diversity of dance as a performance art and its ever-growing popularity with audiences today.

Course aim

The course will provide an introduction to the history of ballet and dance from its roots in the 17th Century court of Louis XIV with a view to gaining an appreciation of the diverse and virtuoso world of dance as a performance art today.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers
  • The course is both visual and descriptive and suitable for anyone with an interest in dance who would like to know more about its history and development.

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

  • Recognise the significance of dance as an important part of our cultural heritage through key periods of its history.
  • Appraise the effects of cultural changes in Europe that led to Czarist Russian becoming a centre for dance innovation in the 19th Century.
  • Assess the influence that Diaghilev's Ballet Russes made to dance as a performance art in the eary 20th Century.
  • Recognise the work of a selection of contemporary choreographers who have contributed to the popularity of dance as a performance art 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
  • You may be asked to review a dance performance you have seen in the theatre, online, on film or TV.

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
  • You will be encouraged to read reviews about dance performances e.g., newspaper or online reviews and to share these with the group.

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed
  • It would be helpful if you had access to the internet (Mobile phone, tablet or computer at home or through a library etc.)

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

History of Ballet and Dance

Enrolment Conditions

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 2019
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

Not sure or have further questions? Contact courseenquiries@wea.org.uk

Visa Credit payments supported by RBS WorldPay Visa Debit payments supported by RBS WorldPay Visa Electron payments supported by RBS WorldPay Mastercard payments supported by RBS WorldPay Maestro payments supported by RBS WorldPay JCB payments supported by RBS WorldPay Solo payments supported by RBS WorldPay
RBS WorldPay Payments Processing