Ballet is a system of training based on a linear and geometrically proportioned organization of the human body. It is also an ethics and an etiquette, a physical and public expression of who we are, with a long past and deep roots in religious, political, and military thinking.
Ballet is a wide-ranging performing art, bringing together the arts and sciences from music, poetry, and design to economics, physics, and technology. Across its history, dancers and choreographers have employed it to articulate a vision of society and civic culture, which was at its origins courtly and aristocratic and in the 20th century became public and democratic. Ballet is also inherently contemporary: dancers bring their ‘street’ to the stage. As an artform, ballet has become increasingly specialized and risks losing connection to people and the ways we live. Universities, for their part, have given little recognition to ballet. Its history, skills, and practices have been marginal to the study of the life of the mind. This represents a significant gap in the history of culture.