Build a lesson around any TED-Ed Animation, TED Talk or YouTube video
Create a Lesson

Rethinking ballet

  • 1,326 Questions Answered
  • Best of Web

Let’s Begin…

Ballet originated in the Italian Renaissance courts of the 15th century. Over the past six centuries ballet has evolved to include classical, neo-classical, and contemporary styles of movement. The versatility seen in the ballet companies of today is far different from what most people perceive ballet to be.

About TED-Ed Best of Web

TED-Ed Best of Web are exceptional, user-created lessons that are carefully selected by volunteer teachers and TED-Ed staff.

Meet The Creators


Additional Resources for you to Explore
The Rite of Spring
The ballet, “The Rite of Spring”, was composed by Igor Stravinsky and originally choreographed by Vaslav Nijinsky. The ballet was created for Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballet Russe and was premiered in Paris in 1913. Both the music and choreography were so avante garde that a riot broke out at the premiere. Learn more about the ballet and how it has played a major role in ballet history through the links below.
NPR article on “Rite of Spring”
YouTube video of Nijinsky’s “Rite of Spring”
BBC movie “Riot at the Rite”

George Balanchine
George Balanchine, a Georgian choreographer and founder of The New York City Ballet is known to be the father of “neoclassical ballet”. He became known for moving away from “story ballets” and focusing on movement as an expression of the music. He was one of the most famous choreographers of the 20th century, and his ballets are currently danced in almost every classical ballet company’s repertoire. Read more about his choreography and its place in ballets history here,
George Balanchine foundation Video Archives
Boston Ballet

The Boston Ballet, founded in 1963 by E. Virginia Williams is a ballet company dedicated to honoring the rich history of classical ballet and continuing to explore the future of ballet as an art form. Under the direction of Mikko Nissinen, Boston Ballet has undertaken many new creations by emerging choreographers and has understood the importance of creating an environment conducive to sustaining and exploring the art of ballet. Read more about Boston Ballet and its dedication to all styles of ballet here,
Boston Ballet
Jiri Kylian

Jiri Kylian is a Czech contemporary dance choreographer, and former director of Netherlands Dance Theatre. His works have been instrumental in opening my mind to new ways of contemporary dance movement. In the “creations” section, look at “Symphony of Psalms”, “Petite Mort”, and “Tar and Feathers”, to see an evolution of his movement.
Jiri Kylian
Apollo’s Angels

The book, Apollo’s Angels: A History of Ballet, by Jennifer Homans (2011) is an extremely informative book about the history of dance. I find the Epilogue very intriguing and thought provoking. Homans discusses the current state of ballet as an art form and asks the question “Is ballet dying”?
Something to think about

I often find words cannot express my feelings as strongly as I want, and I believe this is why I dance. There are some things that can’t be said, they need to be felt. So I leave you with these two quotes to think about.
“There are times when the simple dignity of movement can fulfill the function of a volume of words” -Doris Humphrey
“If I could say with words what my dances express, I wouldn’t have a reason to dance” -Mary Wigman

About TED-Ed Best of Web

TED-Ed Best of Web are exceptional, user-created lessons that are carefully selected by volunteer teachers and TED-Ed staff.

Meet The Creators


Log In to Take or Create a Lesson

Log In to participate

Please Log In or Register to Apply

Please Log in to Access Leader Resources

If you have already logged into click Log In to verify your authentication. Click Register if you need to create a free TED-Ed account.
Log In    Register

Enter your name

Your name and responses will be shared with TED Partners.

To track your work across TED-Ed over time,Register or Login instead.