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Ballet is a theatrical art since it is performed on stage for live audiences. It is a stylized form of dance with its own specific technique. This technique, established centuries ago, involves steps and body movements that are unique to this discipline.  

 On stage dancers apply ballet technique to dances created by a choreographer, a word derived from the Greek khoros, meaning to dance, and graphem, meaning to write. Dances are made up of steps selected and linked together by the choreographer. To complete the theatrical presentation, the dance is accompanied by music and the dancers wear costumes and makeup appropriate to the style of the ballet being performed. Scenery is also used to set a ballet in a certain period and give it atmosphere and authenticity. Don Quixote, for instance, suggests Renaissance Spain and Napolisuggests Naples, Italy, in the mid-19th century. 

 We can create a formula for traditional classical ballets such as those mentioned above: 



However, many modern 20th century ballets use no special costumes or scenery. Instead, the dancers wear simple leotards and tights and dance in bare feet or soft slippers. In ballets where there is no story to follow, the audience's attention is drawn toward the shapes of the dancers' body movements and the music. Some contemporary choreographers do not even use music and the dancers are accompanied only by their breathing. Merce Cunningham and Twyla Tharp are two American modern choreographers who have used this method. In simplistic terms, Cunningham's choreography can be described as watching an abstract painting in colour motion.   

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