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Page:EB1911 - Volume 03.djvu/286

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269
BALLAST—BALLET

where, in Lake Wendouree, pisciculture is carried on with great success. The school of mines is the most important in Australia and is affiliated to the university of Melbourne. Ballarat is an important railway centre and its industries include woollen milling, brewing, iron-founding, flour-milling and distilling. Owing to its elevation of 1438 ft. it has an exceptionally cool and healthy climate. Although the district is principally devoted to mining it is well adapted for sheep-farming, and some of the finest wool in the world is produced near Ballarat. The existence of the towns is due to the heavy immigration which followed upon the discovery of the gold-fields in 1851. In 1854, in their resistance of an arbitrary tax, the miners came into armed conflict with the authorities; but a commission was appointed to investigate their grievances; and a charter was granted to the town in 1855. In 1870 Ballarat was raised to the rank of a city.

BALLAST (O. Swed. barlast, perhaps from bar, bare or mere, and last, load), heavy material, such as gravel, stone or metal, placed in the hold of a ship in order to immerse her sufficiently to give adequate stability. In botany “ballast plants” are so-called because they have been introduced into countries in which they are not indigenous through their seeds being carried in such ballast. A ship “in ballast” is one which carries no paying cargo. In modern vessels the place of ballast is taken by water-tanks which are filled more or less as required to trim the ship. The term is also applied to materials like gravel, broken slag, burnt clay, &c., used to form the bed in which the sleepers or ties of a railway track are laid, and also to the sand which a balloonist takes up with him, in order that, by throwing portions of it out of the car from time to time, he may lighten his balloon when he desires to rise to a higher level.

BALLATER (Gaelic for “the town on a sloping hill”), a village in the parish of Glenmuick, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, 670 ft. above the sea, on the left bank of the Dee, here crossed by a fine bridge, 43¼ m. by rail W. by S. of Aberdeen. It is the terminus of the Deeside railway and the station for Balmoral, 9 m. to the W. Founded in 1770 to provide accommodation for the visitors to the mineral wells of Pannanich, 1½ m. to the E., it has since become a popular summer resort. It contains the Albert Memorial Hall and the barracks for the sovereign’s bodyguard, used when the king is in residence at Balmoral. Red granite is the chief building material of the houses. Ballatrich farm, where Byron spent part of his boyhood, lies some 4 m. to the E. Ballater has a mean temperature of 44.6° F., and an average annual rainfall of 33.4 in.

BALLENSTEDT, a town of Germany, in the duchy of Anhalt, on the river Getel, 20 m. E. of Quedlinburg by rail. Pop. (1900) 5423. It is pleasantly situated under the north-eastern declivity of the Harz mountains. The inhabitants are mostly engaged in agriculture and there is practically no other industry. The palace of the dukes of Anhalt, standing on an eminence, contains a library and collections of various kinds, including a good picture gallery. It is approached by a fine avenue of trees and is surrounded by a well-wooded park. In the Schlosskirche the grave of Albert the Bear, margrave of Brandenburg (1100–1170) has been discovered.

BALLET, a performance in which dancing, music and pantomime are involved. Originally derived from the (Sicilian) Gr. βαλλίζειν, to dance, the word has passed through the Med. Lat. ballare (with ballator as synonymous with saltator) to the Ital. ballare and ballata, to the Fr. ballet, to the O. Eng. word ballette, and to ballad. In O. Fr., according to Rousseau, ballet signifies “to dance, to sing, to rejoice”; and thus it incorporates three distinct modern words, “ballet, ball and ballad.” Through the gradual changes in the amusements of different ages, the meaning of the first two words has at length become limited to dancing, and the third is now confined to singing. But, although ballads are no longer the vocal accompaniments to dances round the maypole, old ballads are still sung to dance tunes. The present acceptation of the word ballet is—a theatrical representation in which a story is told only by gesture, accompanied by music, which should be characterized by stronger emphasis than would be employed with the voice. The dancing should be connected with the story but is more commonly incidental. The French word was found to be so comprehensive as to require further definition, and thus the above-described would be distinguished as the ballet d’action or pantomime ballet, while a single scene, such as that of a village festival with its dances, would now be termed a divertissement.

The ballet d’action, to which the changed meaning of the word is to be ascribed, and therewith the introduction of modern ballet, has been generally attributed to the 15th century. Novelty of entertainment was then sought for in the splendid courts of Italy, in order to celebrate events which were thought great in their time, such as the marriages of princes, or the triumphs of their arms. Invention was on the rack for novelty, and the skill of the machinist was taxed to the utmost. It has been supposed that the art of the old Roman pantomimi was then revived, to add to the attractions of court-dances. Under the Roman empire the pantomimi had represented either a mythological story, or perhaps a scene from a Greek tragedy, by mute gestures, while a chorus, placed in the background, sang cantica to narrate the fable, or to describe the action of the scene. The question is whether mute pantomimic action, which is the essence of modern ballet, was carried through those court entertainments, in which kings, queens, princes and princesses, took parts with the courtiers; or whether it is of later growth, and derived from professional dances upon the stage. The former is the general opinion, but the court entertainments of Italy and France were masques or masks which included declamation and song, like those of Ben Jonson with Inigo Jones for the court of James I.

The earliest modern ballet on record was that given by Bergonzio di Botta at Tortona to celebrate the marriage of the duke of Milan in 1489. The ballet, like other forms of dancing, was developed and perfected in France; it is closely associated with the history of the opera; but in England it came much later than the opera, for it was not introduced until the 18th century, and in the first Italian operas given in London there was no ballet. During the regency of Lord Middlesex a ballet-master was appointed and a corps of dancers formed. The ballet has had three distinct stages in its development. For a long time it was to be found only at the court, when princely entertainments were given to celebrate great occasions. At that time ladies of the highest rank performed in the ballet and spent much time in practising and perfecting themselves for it. Catherine de’Medici introduced these entertainments into France and spent large sums of money on devising performances to distract her son’s attention from the affairs of the state. Baltasarini, otherwise known as Beaujoyeulx, was the composer of a famous entertainment given by Catherine in 1581 called the “Ballet Comique de la Reyne.” This marks an era in the history of the opera and ballet, for we find here for the first time dance and music arranged for the display of coherent dramatic ideas. Henry IV., Louis XIII. and XIV. were all lovers of the ballet and performed various characters in them, and Richelieu used the ballet as an instrument for the expression of political purposes. Lully was the first to make an art of the composition of ballet music and he was the first to insist on the admission of women as ballet dancers, feminine characters having hitherto been assumed by men dressed as women. When Louis XIV. became too fat to dance, the ballet at court became unpopular and thus was ended the first stage of its development. It was then adopted in the colleges at prize distributions and other occasions, when the ballets of Lully and Quinault were commonly performed. The third period in the history of the ballet was marked by its appearance on the stage, where it has remained ever since. It should be added that up till the third period dramatic poems had accompanied the ballet and the dramatic meaning was helped out with speech and song; but with the advent of the third period speech disappeared and the purely pantomime performance, or ballet d’action, was instituted.

The father of ballet dancing as we know it at the present day was Jean Georges Noverre (q.v.). The ballet d’action was really invented by him; in fact, the ballet has never advanced beyond the stage to which he brought it; it has rather gone back. The