Is There a Link Between Ballet and Fencing?

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I have long heard that ballet has its origins in historical fencing. It’s a romantic idea and as someone who both teaches martial arts and dance (though not ballet) I certainly find tons of parallels in how they are both taught and practiced.

One thought on “Is There a Link Between Ballet and Fencing?

  1. Adriano here (aka Adrien, Adrian)
    Rapier FUNdamentalist & AMATeur Ballerino
    (- in Italian the fem/masc forms of ‘dancer’ end in -a/-o respectively)
    (- in France, the dance genre that WE call ‘ballet’ THEY call ‘danse classique’)

    Neat topic! I will delve into my ballet library.
    Meanwhile, here are a couple of interesting angles to consider…

    1. The video referenced is understandably inauthentic to me: property masters in ballet (and Hollywood) are not necessarily well versed in portraying historical weaponry and form accuracy, though ‘results may vary’ in the entertainment sphere. Asian martial arts and Chinese opera entertainments: same (stylized, artistic licence, choreographed, etc.) Re-enacting / revivalist / preservationist enthusiasts would be more true to form I would think, whether Civil Warriors, cosplay Star Warriors, or what have you.

    2. I too believe that psycho-social mannerisms might be the common thread that ties period personal and group behavior, language, practices and customs (including fashion) all together. This exists even today (e.g. hip hop culture). (An argument could be made for women dancing on toe point sharing an aspect with historical Chinese female foot binding customs e.g. to please men, the male gaze, fetishistic eroticism). In the west we have complicated notions of ‘honour’ whereas in the east we have ‘face’… so two manifestations of complex social obligations and displays.

    3. Ballet traditionally is binary. More to follow.

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