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The origins of ballet - Jennifer Tortorello and Adrienne Westwood

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Can you imagine a party where every movement and every visual detail were governed by a complex system of rules and procedures? For centuries, such rituals were commonplace for European nobility. And while they’ve gone out of fashion, we recognize the components under a familiar label: ballet. Jennifer Tortorello and Adrienne Westwood outline the history of this graceful and precise dance.

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TED-Ed Animation lessons feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed Animation? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Educator Jennifer Tortorello, Adrienne Westwood
  • Script Editor Alex Gendler
  • Director Moran Barak
  • Animator Chen Heifetz
  • Artist Moran Barak
  • Composer Stephen LaRosa
  • Narrator Addison Anderson
Additional Resources for you to Explore
Listen to Jennifer Homans, author of Apollo’s Angels: A History of Ballet, as she discusses her book and why she wrote it. Visit NYU Arts and Sciences Department to learn more about Jennifer Homans and the articles she has written.

Listen to this uplifting Fresh Air Story from NPR: The Tutu's Tale: A Cultural History Of Ballet's 'Angels,’ as it discusses this amazing book and its relevance to ballet today. Find out some facts about ballet that you probably didn’t know! Thinking about reading this book? Read an excerpt from Apollo’s Angels here.

Love ballet? Listen to Jennifer Homan’s TEDx Talk: Apollo's Angels: Why Ballet Matters. So inspired that you want to watch a ballet? Click here, sit back, and enjoy!

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Create and share a new lesson based on this one.

About TED-Ed Animations

TED-Ed Animation lessons feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed Animation? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Educator Jennifer Tortorello, Adrienne Westwood
  • Script Editor Alex Gendler
  • Director Moran Barak
  • Animator Chen Heifetz
  • Artist Moran Barak
  • Composer Stephen LaRosa
  • Narrator Addison Anderson