I have always wondered what is the difference among Italian, Russian or American ballet schools and what people mean by “ballet styles” I originally made this material in Romanian since there was nothing on this subject in Romanian, but then I realized that “Ballet Styles” was the most popular of the page and therefore read by people around the world.
There are 3 main ballet styles: classic, neo-classic and contemporary ballet. They have many similarities, but their vocabulary, the technique and the way are danced is different.
Classical ballet is the oldest and the most formal of the three. It is based on traditional ballet technique and vocabulary. The beauty of the classical ballet is that despite its formal structure, learning and interpretation could be done in different ways. So, there are different styles of classical ballet that are related to their areas of origin, such as French ballet, Italian ballet and Russian ballet. Several of the classical ballet styles are associated with specific training methods, which are typically named after their creators. For example, the Cecchetti method is named after its creator, Italian dancer Enrico Cecchetti and the Vaganova method is named after Russian ballerina Agrippina Vaganova. For more details read https://nouasijumatate.wordpress.com/2013/11/10/cele-6-scoli-de-balet/.
Classical ballet involves grace, smooth moves, endehors, pointes, symetre. The story, costumes and scenography are elaborated. Well known choreographers: Petipa, Vaganova, Gorski, Lev Ivanov, Vainonen, Bournonville, Perrot, Saint-Leon, etc
Neoclassical ballet is a style that utilizes classical ballet technique and vocabulary, but deviates from classical ballet in its use of the abstract. In Neo-Classical Ballet, there often is no clear plot, costumes or scenery. Music choice can be diverse and will often include music that is also neo-classical. George Balanchine is considered to be the founder of Neo-Classical Ballet, using the traditional ballet vocabulary but in a less rigid way. Balanchine used flexează hands and feet, endedans, uncentered positions. Neoclassical ballet involves: speed, energy, a manipulation of the classical form.
Contemporary ballet is influenced by both classical ballet and modern dance. Borrows the technique and using the points from classical ballet but allows using a more diverse range of movements and steps are less rigid than in classical technique.
George Balanchine is considered to be the founder of contemporary ballet too, while Mihail Baryshnikov is a brilliant example of dancer who has built an entire career based on this style. This ballet style involves: floor work, endedans, a wide range of movements and body lines, points but bare feet also.
The works of contemporary coreographers are part neo-classical, part contemporary. In ballet schools around the world, the most popular contemporary techniques are Graham, Limon, Cunningham, Forsythe.
Today, a ballet dancer is supposed to have the classical school and be familiar and accommodate easily with all contemporary and neo-classical styles. Ballet theaters around the world are familiar with a modern repertoire, while classical ballet is danced only in not too many places.