Do you love to dance? If you’re like many people, the urge to move along with your favorite music just comes naturally. When your favorite song comes on, do you throw your hands in the air and dance like you just don’t care?

Of course, some people take dance very seriously as an art form. They practice it like a sport or a musical instrument — or both! — as they seek to perfect their moves. Who are we talking about? Ballet dancers, of course!

Ballet is a special type of performance dance that began in the 1400s during the Italian Renaissance. From Italy, it was further developed as a concert dance form in both France and Russia.

Today, ballet is a very technical dance form that has a very specific set of movements with unique names. Learning ballet also means learning a whole new vocabulary that goes along with the art form!

Unlike modern dances set to popular music, ballet is usually performed to classical music. Ballet dancers carefully perform choreographed moves to accompany the music in a way that can tell a story or simply be beautiful to watch.

Ballet is not an easy art form to master. There are many different steps and acrobatic movements to learn. It can take years and years of practice to master the basics and take part in professional ballet performances.

If you’ve ever seen a ballet performance, you may have been impressed with the way dancers are able to balance and dance on the tips of their toes. Ballet dancing requires exceptional strength, posture, balance, and flexibility.

Both girls and boys can enjoy learning ballet. In addition to having fun learning the basic ballet movements, young dancers often find that ballet teaches more than just technical skill. Ballet lessons can also instill grace, poise, self-confidence, and discipline.

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    • Hey there, Mteam132! We’re so excited that you like our new look– we’re very excited about it! :) We hope you’re tapping your toes to today’s Wonder, and we look forward to tomorrow’s wagging Wonder! :)

  1. I know one ballet dance the Nutcracker! My favorite type of music is classical music. What is your favorite type of music? I know what the Renaissance is. It is when lots of art was made by Leonardo the famous artist.

    • Hey Kenneth, thanks for telling us about your cool connections to today’s dancing Wonder! We love the Nutcracker– the choreography and music is beautiful! What a fun show! :)

      Here at Wonderopolis we love all sorts of music. When we’re concentrating, we really enjoy listening to classical music, especially piano music. Other times, we like to listen to pop music, or acoustic guitars. From blues to jazz to the banjo, we are always up for some good tunes!

      We loved reading your comment this morning, thanks for sharing all this WONDERful information with us! :)

    • That’s a spectacular guess, Stephanie and Jayna! You did a super job of using context clues to predict tomorrow’s Wonder! :)

      • This was an interesting video. I don’t know a whole lot about ballet but my sisters are intense ballet dancers. I definitely learned something from this video and can’t wait to see the next.

        • Thanks for sharing your comment today, Eitan! It’s so cool that you shared your connection to today’s Wonder– your sisters must be great dancers! We Wonder if you have attended any of your sisters’ recitals? We look forward to WONDERing with you again soon, Eitan! Have a terrific Thursday! :)

    • That’s a great response, Gabe, and we love your sound effects– what a great one! Thanks for making us smile today, Wonder Friend! We Wonder if you have formed a prediction for tomorrow’s Wonder of the Day®? :)

  2. Wow, I didn’t know it was that hard to practice ballet. This wonder of the day did explain a lot.

    • Ballet require a lot of practice, patience, and hard work, Carlos, thanks for sharing your comment! Did you know that some professional athletes, such as football players, take ballet lessons to work on their balance? How neat! We’re glad you WONDERed with us today, it sounds like you learned a great deal! Nice work, Carlos! :)

  3. We loved learning about ballet. We were wondering why do most ballet dancers wear tutus? Also, do ballet dancers ever break their toes?

    • We’re dancing all around Wonderopolis today, Mrs. Barbaoza’s Class and it sounds like you are, too! :)

      Ballet is very fun, but it takes lots of patience, practice and hard work. Ballet dancers have been wearing tutus for many, many years. There are a few different theories about tutus. Your question about ballet dancers injuring themselves is an important one. Dancers can get hurt from time to time, especially after many jumps in a row. Similar to professional athletes, dancers encounter broken toes, sprained ankles and knee pains. It’s very important to take care of our bodies when we dance, and stretching is a great way to prevent injuries! :)

  4. It’s interesting to read the history of ballet. I never knew that it originated once as a concert dance in Russia. I look forward to coming back and reading more of these to extend my knowledge of what I know about the world.
    Even if it’s about ballet!

    • Hey there Rob, thanks for WONDERing with us today! We’re excited that you plan to come back for more Wonders in the future! We have so many Wonders to share that you can Wonder no matter where you are! See you soon, Wonder Friend! Thanks for sharing your comment today. :)

  5. I really liked that video! It was really nice. I was really fascinated by the information in your paragraphs. I think I’m going to continue coming on here every day!

    • Thanks for sharing how much you enjoy today’s Wonder video, Sarah! We certainly hope you’ll come back to Wonder with us again soon, and we are super excited to read your comment, Sarah! We Wonder if you like to dance… whether it’s ballet, jazz, tap, hip hop, or even just for fun? :)

    • It sure does take a lot of discipline to become a professional dancer, Gaby, you’re right! Practice, practice, practice! We Wonder if you enjoy dancing even if it is just for fun? :)

    • We sure do look forward to WONDERing with you more often, Julia! Thanks for sharing your kind comment with us, what was your favorite thing you learned about today? :)

    • Hey Karla, thanks so much for sharing your comment! What a great point you make; ballet is a way to tell a story, which is true for all kinds of dance! We Wonder if you like to dance, Karla? It’s so fun and it’s a great way to exercise! :)

  6. Ballet is a very difficult sport to be professional at. It takes years of practice, and you learn a whole new language. Even though I am not interested in it, it is fun to learn about it. :)

    • You’re right, Sarah, and we agree– ballet sure is difficult! We love that you shared your point about learning new moves AND a new language, such as French! Parlez-vous francais? :)

      Thanks for sharing what you learned today, Sarah! We are so glad you’re here! :)

    • Hi Aidan, thanks for sharing your comment! We’re glad you found this Wonder interesting– we Wonder if you like to dance in your free time? :)

    • HOORAY, we’re glad this Wonder made you tap your toes, Maya! What is your favorite kind of dance? :)

  7. That was very interesting. I take ballet class at a school called California Ballet. I didn’t know that it was invented in the 1400s.

    • Hey there, Talia, we are so glad you enjoyed this Wonder! It sounds like you’ve been dancing for a while– your feet must be very happy! :) Ballet dates back to the olden days, and it’s so cool that you are part of California Ballet! Keep up all the hard work– enjoy your grande jete! :)

    • Thanks so much, Galia! We’re glad you learned something new with us today, ballet is fun to Wonder about! Do you like to dance, Galia? What is your favorite music to dance to? :)

  8. ==========================================================
    Cool Those Almost 5 Year Olds are Talented!!! (Yup I Was Right Ballerinas)
    ==========================================================

    Wonder What’s Next???

    If You Had Tomorrow’s Wonder Of The Day, It Would Always Be Behind You!!!

    Back!!! Or Or Shadows!!!
    ==========================================================
    Why Do Ballerinas Always Were Pink And Skirts!!!
    ==========================================================

    • Great question, Mrs. Foster’s Class! Pointe shoes have a something called a “box” at the toe which allows the dancer to balance on their toes. It’s flat on top, so they can spin, twirl and jump on their toes! Thanks for visiting us today! :)

  9. I don’t really like to dance, its not my best quality, but I didn’t know that it was invented in the 1400 that’s interesting to know. Maybe I’ll tell my dance teacher today.

    • That’s okay, Esme, we’re glad you are WONDERing with us even if dancing isn’t one of your top skills! It’s cool to learn new things and we’re proud of you for doing so today! Isn’t it fun to Wonder about how dance has changed over the years… we Wonder what the costumes looked like back in the 1400s? :)

  10. Thoughts, Connections, Questions: Hayden- I thought that when you stand on your tippy toes in ballet shoes that there was a piece of wood you could stand on. Bryan- Who invented ballet? Cassie- When I was in preschool, my mom told me I had to do ballet. Savion- Ballet is good for football players. Atlas- I don’t really like ballet. Sierra- One time I watched “The Gameplan” and he did ballet to make his daughter happy. Michael- Ballet is for girls.

    Predictions: Erica- What is a shadow? David- When do ghosts sneak up on you? Bryan- What is the past like? Michael- How come shadows are taller than you? Hayden- What causes a shadow? Savion- How hard can you scare someone? Destiny- How does the sun make a shadow? Stephanie- Does everyone have a shadow? Aaliyah- Why are their shadows? Josh- What is the cause of childhood obesity?

    • Hello Mrs. VanDusen’s Class! Ballet has brought up all kinds of thoughts, connections and questions!

      Thanks for sharing your comments, Hayden, Bryan, Cassie, Savion, Atlast, Sierra, and Michael! We love reading about what you have learned– thanks for sharing your opinions! Ballet dancers who dance en pointe wear special shoes with a flat section near the toes. This is how they can balance and spin on their tippy toes! :)

      Erica, David, Bryan, Michael, Hayden, Savion, Destiny, Stephanie, Aaliyah, and Josh: you did a great job using the context clues to predict tomorrow’s Wonder! From shadows to ghosts to childhood obesity, we are very excited to Wonder with you tomorrow! :)

  11. Bonjour!

    Today’s Wonder of the Day was amazing because we got to learn all about the skills you need for ballet. We thought the dancers were beautiful and graceful. The moves in the videos looked hard. We thought it was incredible that they could dance on their tippy toes because it’s hard to stand on your toes!

    We think tomorrow’s Wonder of the Day will be about your back or more specifically your back bones.

    Goodbye!
    Ms. G’s Class

    • Good afternoon, Ms. G’s Class, we are so excited you’re here today! :)

      Ballet requires lots of different skills, as well as many hours of practice! Thanks for describing the dancers in today’s video- what super words to use: beautiful and graceful! It takes lots of time, energy and hard work to be a ballet dancer–it’s lots of fun to express yourself through all sorts of dance!

      Great work predicting tomorrow’s Wonder, Friends! We’ll see you a domain! :-)

  12. We think the girls really danced well and we liked their tutus. What was the dance about?? Did it have a name? We also wonder how long it took them to practice that dance. Thank you for this wonder, we really enjoyed reading the article and learned a lot!

    • Good afternoon, Ms. Weyhrauch’s Class! We love all the new Wonder questions you came up with after watching and reading today’s Wonder! HOORAY for you! :)

      The music in today’s video is from a ballet called Swan Lake, it’s a very well-known ballet performed all around the world. We aren’t certain how long the dancers practiced, but we suppose it took many months to get the choreography right! There is a lot to coordinate and remember when you’re preparing for a performance. Have any of our Wonder Friends performed in a recital, play, or musical show?

      We’re so very glad you’re here today and we look forward to WONDERing with you again! :)

  13. Dear Wonderopolis,
    I liked the wonder because it reminds me when my friend took ballet and she won the contest and today’s video of the ballet dancers were wonderful and I noticed that the ballet dancers had balance and they were sitting and standing and it was like a performance. The ballet dancers also remind me when I was little and I took ballet classes and the ballet dancers also made me be happy. I think tomorrow’s wonder is going to be about shadows.

    From Makaiya

    • We LOVE your enthusiasm, Makaiya! Thanks so much for sharing your comments and connections today! You have been making some super cool connections to today’s dancing Wonder, and we are so glad you visited today! We bet your friend would smile if she knew that you mentioned her at Wonderopolis today!

      We are glad this Wonder made you happy and it helped you reminisce about your own ballet classes when you were little. Do you still enjoy dancing? :)

  14. I like today’s wonder. I have a cousin that goes every day to ballet. I never saw ballet. This is my first time that I saw a ballet. The wonder was very cool. The wonder does all people dance ballet and boys. I think tomorrow’s wonder is going to about shadows.

    Christopher

    • Good afternoon Wonder Friend Christopher! We’re glad your first ballet was at Wonderopolis- how cool! We bet you and your cousin will have a lot to talk about now that you have WONDERed with us today! Ballet is performed around the world by both men and women, boys and girls. We look forward to WONDERing with you again soon! Thank you for sharing your awesome prediction, too! :)

  15. I love to dance! I take ballet twice a week and lyrical once a week. I’ve been in the nutcracker 6 or 7 times and some other performances, too!

    • Hey there, Laura, thanks for sharing your comment with us today! Dancing sounds like it’s a big part of your life and we’re so glad to hear it! What a cool experience to be a part of the Nutcracker so many times! We Wonder if you would like to try pointe when you’re older? :)

    • Happy Thursday, Wonder Friend Destiny! Thank you for sharing your comment today! What was your favorite part of this dancing Wonder? :)

    • Isn’t it incredible to think of how long folks have been dancing, Ali? We are so glad you visited us today and you shared your comment, too! People have been dancing for centuries as ways to celebrate and enjoy one another’s company. We Wonder what your favorite kind of dance is? :)

  16. We enjoyed learning about ballet. It was interesting to learn that it can be done to help you instill grace, poise, and self-confidence. Some of knew that some football players learn ballet to help them with their balance. We even watched some of the nutcracker to see how well they use ballet. We loved the music.

    • Hey there, Mrs. Coleman’s Class, thank you for sharing your comments today! It sounds like you’ve been WONDERing about all sorts of dance, including different ballets, such as the Nutcracker! What a classic! :)

      We love the words you use to describe ballet dancers– grace, poise, self-confidence. Nice work! Isn’t it fun to think of all the different ways ballet is involved in our lives? Even professional athletes are practicing ballet, and perhaps some of our Wonder Friends are leaping and twirling on the playground! We look forward to WONDERing with you again soon! :)

    • HOORAY for WONDERing with you today, Maya, thanks for sharing your comment! We’re glad this toe-tapping Wonder made you smile… and it sounds like you’ve got even more Wonders in your mind, too! Dancers do fall from time to time while dancing on their toes (or en pointe), but everyone loses their balance from time to time. This is why dancers practice for many months before a performance, they try to work out all the kinks before going on stage. Do you have a favorite song that makes you want to dance, Maya? :)

  17. Hi I like ballet, but I don’t do it. I did the nutcracker with my friend once. It was really fun. :) Can you please do a wonder what’s your favorite band? Like a video of a Red Hot Chilli Peppers? Thanks! :) :)

    • Hey Blakeleigh, thanks for visiting us today! Even if you don’t practice ballet now, it’s super cool that you have been in the Nutcracker! We bet that was a delightful experience with your friend! Ballet and dance can be performed to all sorts of music, even rock and roll!

      Thank you for sharing your very own Wonder, Blakeleigh! We are always searching for cool new Wonders and we’re glad you shared yours. Have a SUPER day- how will you use your imagination today? :)

  18. How come you can you hold up your weight with your toes but you can’t lift half your weight with a different object on your toes? Like if you lay on your back with your feet in the air, and let’s say you weigh 100lbs. If you take half of that and put in a bag or something why can’t you hold it?

    • Hey there, Lauren, thanks for sharing your awesome comment with us today! We’re so glad you’ve been thinking about weight, gravity, and how we can hold ourselves upright! We are strong when we’re able to use most of the muscles in our body, like when we are standing on two legs. We can balance ourselves using our core stomach muscles and our arms and head, too. However, when we lay on our backs with our feet in the air, we are affecting our balance. Only our back is on the ground, and we are using only our arms to lift something heavy. We are so proud of you for thinking outside the box and using your imagination! We bet you can talk to your science teacher about your WONDERful question, too, Lauren! :)

    • Thanks for sharing your comment, Ivanna! We’re glad you’ve been WONDERing with us today! What is your favorite kind of dance? :)

    • We love to dance, too, Wonder Friend Abby! What’s your favorite kind of dancing?

      Dancing is a great way to have fun and exercise! Two great things rolled up into one? Now THAT’S WONDERful! :)

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Have you ever wondered…

  • What keeps you on your toes?
  • How old is ballet?
  • Can you learn some basic ballet moves?

Wonder Gallery

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Try It Out

We hope today’s Wonder of the Day had you on the tips of your toes. Keep dancing with a friend or family member as you explore one or more of the following activities:

  • Have you ever seen ballet dancers perform? If not, you’re missing out! Ballet is such a beautiful, delicate art form. The movements of the dancers are so graceful. Take some time today to check out a few of these ballet videos:
  • What does it take to be the best professional ballet dancer in the world? Strong toes? Definitely. Grace? Most assuredly. Scientific knowledge? Maybe! All of those intricate ballet moves have a ton of science behind them. Don’t believe us? Read The Physicist Who Figured Out Ballet to learn more about the scientific elements that go into some of those fancy ballet moves.
  • Up for a challenge? Can you stand on your tippy toes? Think you can master a few beginning ballet moves? Put yourself to the test! Grab your dancing shoes and a friend or family member. It’s time to try your feet at ballet! Check out the Beginning Ballet Steps series of videos and see if you can master a few beginning ballet moves. So how did you do? If it doesn’t come naturally, don’t worry about it! Ballet takes lots and lots of practice. If you enjoy it, keep it up and you’ll have a few steps down in no time.

Still Wondering

ArtsEdge’s Ballet and Classical Music lesson introduces children to both conceptual and practical elements of classical ballet.

Test Your Knowledge

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