A: It was a form of dance that was practiced by the aristocracy during the Renaissance. It was popular in the 18th century. (They used the term, “dance ballet” to describe their dances.)
B: When did this change?
A: After 1820. But it was popular at that time because it was more difficult than the more conventional type of ballet. It was the best way to learn how to dance; you didn’t want to spend your whole life trying to learn something called “ballerinas” or “jazz dancers.” You simply had to learn it and get the hang of it.
B: How much did this change the way people thought about dance?
A: It changed the way people thought about how beautiful people are. That was the first big impact. It made people think that great dancers were beautiful women. It made them think that if a man liked dancing, he was the best thing ever. They thought it was natural and beautiful. When a woman liked it, she did it too. She looked like an animal. She didn’t think that she had evolved beyond some primitive, lower level. There was a lot of sexualization of the dance in that time period. You went from thinking a woman didn’t exist, to thinking her a sexual object. It wasn’t until the 1880s that women’s bodies began to be understood as being the same as men’s.
Q: Why did ballet become more mainstream?
A: It helped to break down the barriers between genders. There was a lot of resistance to it from men and boys. It became very obvious that if a woman started to move like that, she was the one they wanted to look at or hear about, rather than like, “This pretty man dancing.” It also helped a lot to break the barriers between sexes. I suspect a lot of it was money. When dancing became more acceptable, girls learned how to act, too. They liked the music, the lights, the music and everything else. When they entered kindergarten they did all sorts of stuff.
Q: Did you see the same thing during your childhood?
Q: Because ballet went out of style?
A: My mom had no idea what it was. The only thing I liked about ballet was that it was beautiful, so she didn’t worry about it that much, and I didn’t. My mother also had no idea what ballet was. We
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