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Ballet Academia or Balletic is an aesthetic that takes aspects from many different academias and focuses them on ballet and the classical dance world. It takes the already-present romanticism of ballets themselves and gears it towards the academia culture.

It includes imagery from classical and contemporary ballet, as well as modern and post-modern dance (particularly from the techniques of Lester Horton and Martha Graham).

It is extremely broad and varied, much as the imagery of classical dance itself is. It can be Gothic and dark (for example, Suspiria and Black Swan), ethereal and light (An American in Paris and The Glass Slipper), the academic and practical (The Turning Point and Dance Academy) or a mix of all of three (The Red Shoes and Princess Tutu).

There is also a great deal of fairy tale and mythological references involved, as much of ballet and modern dance pieces often feature supernatural subject matter. Typical symbolism usually involves swans, wings, and black and white contrasts (as much of the stereotypical imagery comes from Swan Lake and La Sylphide.)

In literature and film it often features tropes of ballet being a melodramatic, tragic, agonizing, and overly-insulated world. As these stereotypes are taken more from the fantasy of the plots of ballets themselves than from the reality of the dance world (which is a small, but supportive community of artists), these tropes are unnecessary to the aesthetic.

It can be appreciated equally by ballet/modern dance aficionados as much as actual dancers (professional or not).

Activities

Ballet Academia activities are either learning about ballet or activities relating to it, such as:

  • Learning some French so you can understand some of Ballet's specific words.
  • Memorizing terminology, the translations, and the steps
  • Obsessively stretching and strengthening while studying (doing homework in your splits)
  • Knowing the plot points and characters of the major ballets
  • Learning variations off of the internet
  • Listening to ballet soundtracks and being able to name them when they come up in media
  • Starting taking ballet/modern dance classes as an adult because you're never too old

Fashion

Clothing for this aesthetic is elegant and graceful, and are usually dancing leotards or performance dresses.

Many high fashion designers (such as Chanel, Christian Dior, and Rodarte) have created ballet and modern dance costumes, particularly for the Ballet Russes in the 20s.

Tops

  • Black, white, and nude leotards
  • Pastel tea-length dresses
  • Prairie dresses (in reference to Frontier)
  • Button blouses
  • Wrap sweaters
  • Halter necks
  • Bodysuits
  • Loose Grecian shifts
  • Corseted tops
  • Long sleeves

Bottoms

  • Romantic length tutus
  • Baggy or palazzo pants
  • Short ballerina skirts
  • Floaty maxi skirts

Footwear

  • Tights (pink and skin color)
  • Ballet flats
  • Translucent stockings

Accessories

  • Flower crowns
  • Long ribbons
  • Bobby pins (to keep your hair in place)
  • Small jewelry that won't get in the way (think small, whimsical earrings)
  • Sheer veils
  • Intricate headpieces/headbands
  • Sheer shawls that resemble Isis wings
  • Leg warmers

Materials:

  • Tulle
  • Sheer overlay
  • Feathers
  • Satin
  • Boning (for corsets)
  • Sequins
  • Beading

Hair/Makeup

  • Buns (either high or low)
  • Half-up, half-down
  • Wild or curly (in reference to Watermoter)
  • Extreme, gothic eyeliner
  • False eyelashes
  • Red lipstick
  • Shimmery eyeshadow
  • Neutral/tan makeup

Media

Movies

  • An American in Paris (1951)
  • The Glass Slipper (1955)
  • Hans Christian Andersen (1952)
  • The Turning Point (1977)
  • White Nights (1985)
  • Wim Wender’s Pina (2011)
  • Ballet Shoes (2007)
  • Barbie in the 12 Dancing Princesses (2006)
  • Barbie in the Pink Shoes (2013)
  • Black Swan (2010)
  • Billy Elliot (2000)
  • Bolshoi (2017)
  • Suspiria (2018)
  • Suspiria (1977)
  • The Red Shoes (1948)
  • Ballerina (2016)
  • Leap! (2016)
  • Barbie and the Nutcracker (2001)
  • The Nutcracker and the Four Realms (2018)

TV Shows

  • Dance Academy (2010-2013)
  • Find Me in Paris (2018-2020)
  • Angelina Ballerina (2002-2009) (Originally a book series)

Books

  • Roses and Rot by Kat Howard
  • Everywhere You Want to Be by Christina June
  • The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma
  • Bunheads by Sophie Flack
  • Dance of Shadows by Yelena Black
  • Never by Shay Lynam
  • To Dance: A Ballerina’s Graphic Novel by Siena Cherson Siegel
  • When the Stars Go Blue by Barbara Caridad Ferrer
  • Tiny Pretty Things by Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton
  • Bright Burning Stars by A. K. Small
  • My Life by Isadora Duncan
  • The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It For Life by Twyla Tharp
  • Dancers by Annie Leibovitz
  • Waldman on Dance by Max Waldman
  • The Steadfast Tin Soldier tale by Hans Christian Andersen

Video Games

  • Bound (2016)

Ballet

  • Swan Lake
  • Giselle
  • A Midsummer Night's Dream
  • Romeo and Juliet
  • Carmen (Roland Petit)
  • Appalachian Spring (Martha Graham)
  • Revelations (Alvin Ailey)
  • Orpheus and Eurydike (Pina Bausch)
  • Push Comes To Shove (Twyla Tharp)
  • Afternoon of A Faun (Jerome Robbins)
  • Le Corsaire
  • Le Sylphide
  • Clythemestra (Martha Graham)
  • A Diversion of Angels (Martha Graham)
  • Aureole (Paul Taylor)
  • The Prodigal Son (George Balanchine)
  • Coppelia
  • Frontier (Martha Graham)
  • Beach Birds For Camera (Merce Cunningham)
  • Watermoter (Trisha Brown)
  • Professionally filmed ballet performances

Music

While dance imagery can be found in any genre of music, there are pieces specifically written for ballets reaching as far and wide as Tschaikovsky to Copeland.

Few contemporary artists enjoy this imagery, although Stevie Nicks (due to her personal fondness for ballet and it’s influence on her personal style) has often returned to this aesthetic. Her videos for “Gypsy”, “If Anyone Falls”, and “Stand Back” are particularly balletic.

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