What Are Three Key Characteristics of Ballet in the Romantic Era?


Romantic era ballet was an important part of the early 19th century European dance scene. It was characterized by its larger-than-life plots, its focus on soloist dancers, and its emphasis on emotions and storytelling. While many of the conventions of ballet have changed since then, the three key characteristics of Romantic era ballet still remain.


Romantic era ballets were known for their grand storylines and large scale productions. Some ballets even featured multiple acts or scenes that told a single story.

These stories often focused on themes such as love, tragedy and heroism. The plots were often based on literature or mythology, and could be extremely intricate with multiple characters and plotlines that intertwined with each other.

Soloist Dancers

The Romantic era saw the emergence of the soloist dancer. These dancers would take center stage and be the focus of the production, performing complex steps in intricate costumes that showcased their skill.

Soloists could also take on different roles in a production, allowing them to play both lead and supporting roles in a single show. This allowed for greater flexibility in storytelling and made performances more dynamic.

Emotional Storytelling

One of the most distinctive characteristics of Romantic era ballets was their strong emphasis on emotion and storytelling through dance. Choreographers sought to evoke strong feelings in their audience by combining graceful movements with dramatic music and costumes to create a powerful narrative experience that could move audiences to tears or laughter. In this way, romantic era ballets sought to capture both the beauty and power of human emotion through movement.


The three key characteristics of Romantic era ballet are its grand plots, its focus on soloist dancers, and its emphasis on emotional storytelling through movement. While many aspects have changed since this period in history, these elements remain at the heart of what makes ballet so captivating even today.