Ballet is really an early movie

I think it is is in my mind.

My long since gone conducting teacher, Emanuel Balaban, was the music director of the Ballet Russe after WWII.  Although he made his mark in opera, he always told me that a well choreographed ballet gave him the most satisfaction..the telling of a story without a word being spoken was to him, a silent movie (without text titles) with the orchestra supplying the music. 

There were settings in the 19th century called "Tableau Vivants" scenes.  On the Steppes of Central Asia by Borodin is a famous one. Simply they were sets with living actors, animals, etc. with music that went with them....ballet without movement - a freeze frame if you will.  Ballet, in a simple comparison, when it went past the unstoried to the storied (from just a bunch dancing to a bunch dancing in the context of a story - think of the Nutcracker ballet and you'll get the idea of what is a storied ballet.....anyway these were motion pictures of a sort..the tableau vivant brought to the next scene.

Here is the opening to Stravinsky's Petrushka ballet "brought to life".... enjoy (ps I posted the closing scene here),