French Ballet Prints, 17th Century.
French ballet prints, 17th century. Ballet has its origins in the Italian Renaissance courts of the 15th and 16th centuries. It spread from Italy to France with the help of Catherine de' Medici.
In the late 17th century Louis XIV founded the Académie Royale de Musique (the Paris Opera) within which emerged the first professional theatrical ballet company, the Paris Opera Ballet. The predominance of French in the vocabulary of ballet reflects this history.