Open main menu
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
270
BALL–FLOWER—BALLISTICS

essence of Noverre's theory was that mere display was not enough to ensure interest and life for the ballet; and some years ago Sir Augustus Harris expressed a similar opinion when he was asked wherein lay the reason of the decadence of the modern ballet. Noverre brought to a high degree of perfection the art of presenting a story by means of pantomime, and he never allowed dancing which was not the direct expression of a particular attitude of mind. Apart from Noverre, the greatest ballet-master was undoubtedly Gaetano Apolline Balthazare Vestris (q.v.), who modestly called himself le dieu de la danse, and was, indeed, the finest male dancer that Europe ever produced. Gluck composed Iphigénie en Aulide in conjunction with Vestris. In 1750 the two greatest dancers of the day performed together in Paris in a ballet-opera called Léandre et Héro; the dancers were Vestris and Madame Camargo (q.v.), who introduced short skirts in the ballet.

The word "balette" was first used in the English language by Dryden in 1667, and the first descriptive ballet seen in London was The Tavern Bilkers, which was played at Drury Lane in 1702. Since then the ballet in England has been purely exotic and has merely followed on the lines of French developments. The palmy days of the ballet in England were in the first half of the 19th century, when a royal revenue was spent on the maintenance of this fashionable attraction. Some famous dancers of this period were Carlotta Grisi, Mdlle Taglioni (who is said to have turned the heads of an entire generation), Fanny Elssler, Mdlle Cerito, Miss P. Horton, Miss Lucile Grahn and Mdlle Carolina Rosati. In later years Kate Vaughan was a remarkably graceful dancer of a new type in England, and, in Sir Augustus Harris's opinion, she did much to elevate the modern art. She was the first to make skirt-dancing popular, although that achievement will not be regarded as an unmixed benefit by every student of the art. Skirt-dancing, in itself a beautiful exhibition, is a departure from true dancing in the sense that the steps are of little importance in it; and we have seen its development extend to a mere exhibition of whirling draperies under many-coloured lime-lights. The best known of Miss Vaughan's disciples and imitators (each of whom has contributed something to the art on her own account) were Miss Sylvia Grey and Miss Letty Lind. Of the older and classical school of ballet-dancing Adeline Genée became in London the finest exponent. But ballet-dancing, affected by a tendency in modern entertainment to make less and less demands on the intelligence and intellectual appreciation of the public, and more and more demands on the eye—the sense most easily affected—has gradually developed into a spectacle, the chief interest of which is quite independent of dancing. Thousands of pounds are spent on dressing a small army of women who do little but march about the stage and group themselves in accordance with some design of colour and mass; and no more is asked of the intelligence than to believe that a ballet dressed, for example, in military uniform is a compliment to or glorification of the army. Only a few out of hundreds of members of the corps de ballet are really dancers and they perform against a background of colour afforded by the majority. It seems unlikely that we shall see any revival of the best period and styles of dancing until a higher standard of grace and manners becomes fashionable in society. With the constantly increasing abolition of ceremony, courtliness of manner is bound to diminish; and only in an atmosphere of ceremony, courtesy and chivalry can the dance maintain itself in perfection.

Literature.—One of the most complete books on the ballet is by the Jesuit, Claude François Menestrier, Des ballets anciens et modernes, 12mo (1682). He was the inventor of a ballet for Louis XIV. in 1658; and in his book he analyses about fifty of the early Italian and French ballets. See also Noverre, Lettres sur la danse (1760; new ed. 1804); Castel-Blaze, La Danse et les ballets (1832), and Les Origines de l'opéra (1869).

BALL-FLOWER, an architectural ornament in the form of a ball inserted in the cup of a flower, which came into use in the latter part of the 13th, and was in great vogue in the early part of the 14th century. It is generally placed in rows at equal distances in the hollow of a moulding, frequently by the sides of mullions. The earliest known is said to be in the west part of Salisbury cathedral, where it is mixed with the tooth ornament. It seems to have been used more and more frequently, till at Gloucester cathedral, in the south side, it is in profusion.

BALLIA, a town and district of British India, in the Benares division of the United Provinces. The town is situated on the left bank of the Ganges, below the confidence of the lesser Sarju. It is really an aggregation of rural villages. Pop. (1901) 15,278.

The district of Ballia, constituted in 1879, occupies an angle at the junction of the Gogra with the Ganges, being bordered by two districts of Behar. It contains an area of 1245 sq. m. Owing to the great pressure on the soil from the density of the population, to the reluctance to part with land characteristic of small proprietors, to the generally great productiveness of land and to the very light assessment of government revenue, land in Ballia, for agricultural purposes merely, has a market value higher than in almost any other district. It commonly brings in Rs. 200 per bigha, or £20 per acre, and sometimes double that figure. In 1901 the population was 987,768, showing a decrease of 5% in the decade. The principal crops are rice, barley, other food-grains, pulse, sugar-cane and opium. There are practically no manufactures, except that of sugar. Trade is carried on largely by way of the two bordering rivers.

BALLINA, a seaport and market-town of county Mayo, Ireland, in the north parliamentary division, on the left bank of the river Moy, with a station on the Killala branch of the Midland Great Western railway. Pop. of urban district (1901) 4505. Across the river, and therefore in county Sligo, is the suburb of Ardnaree, connected with Ballina by two bridges. In Ardnaree is the Roman Catholic cathedral (diocese of Killala), with an east window of Munich glass, and the ruins of an Augustinian abbey (1427) adjoining. There is a Roman Catholic diocesan college and the Protestant parish church is also in Ardnaree. A convent was erected in 1867. In trade and population Ballina is the first town in the county. The salmon fishery and fish-curing are important branches of its trade; and it has also breweries and flour-mills and manufactures snuff and coarse linen. On the 25th of August 1798, Ballina was entered by the French under General Humbert, marching from their landing-place at Killala. In the neighbourhood there is the interesting cromlech of the four Maels, which, if actually erected over the criminals whose name it bears, is proved by the early annals of Ireland to belong to the 7th century A.D. Their story relates that these men, foster-brothers of Cellach, bishop of Kilmore-Moy, murdered him at the instigation of Guaire Aidhne, king of Connaught, but were themselves executed at Ardnare (Ard-na-riaghadh, the hill of the executions) by the bishop's brother. The Moy is a notable salmon river for rod fishing and its tributaries and the neighbouring lakes contain trout.

BALLINASLOE, a market town of county Galway, Ireland, in the east parliamentary division, 91 m. W. of Dublin, on the Midland Great Western main line. Pop. of urban district (1901) 4904. The river Suck, an affluent of the Shannon, divides it into two parts, of which the eastern was in county Roscommon until 1898. The town contains remains of a castle of Elizabethan date. Industries include brewing, flour-milling, tanning, hat-making and carriage-building. Trade is assisted by water communication through the Grand canal to the Shannon. The town is widely celebrated for its great annual cattle-fair held in October, at which vast numbers of cattle and sheep are offered for sale. Adjoining the town is Garbally Castle, the seat of the earl of Clancarty, into the demesne of which the great fair extends from the town.

BALLISTICS (from the Gr. βάλλειν, to throw), the science of throwing warlike missiles or projectiles. It is now divided into two parts:—Exterior Ballistics, in which the motion of the projectile is considered after it has received its initial impulse, when the projectile is moving freely under the influence of gravity and the resistance of the air, and it is required to determine the circumstances so as to hit a certain object, with a view to its destruction or perforation; and Interior Ballislics, in which the pressure of the powder-gas is analysed in the bore