Art of creating and arranging dances. The word is derived from the Greek for “dance” and “write,” reflecting its early meaning as a written record of dances. By the 19th century the term was used mainly for the creation of dances, and the written record became known as dance notation. In the 16th century dance masters at the French court arranged their social dances into specific patterns. In the 17th century such dances became more complex and were performed as theatrical ballets by trained professionals. In the late 18th century Jean-Georges Noverre and Gasparo Angiolini introduced choreography that combined expressive mime and dance steps to produce the dramatic ballet. This was further developed in 19th-century Romantic ballets by Marius Petipa, Jules Perrot, and August Bournonville. Radical change in the 20th century began with choreographers of the Ballets Russes, including Michel Fokine and LĂ©onide Massine, and continued with George Balanchine, Martha Graham, Frederick Ashton, Jerome Robbins, Merce Cunningham, and Twyla Tharp. See also Alvin Ailey; Agnes de Mille; Serge Lifar; Bronislava Nijinska; Salvatore Viganò.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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