Earlier styles were connected with geographical origin, like French ballet, Italian ballet, and Russian ballet. Later styles combined classical ballet and other dance techniques, like neoclassical ballet and contemporary ballet.
In the 19th century, romantic era brought romantic ballet style, the most performed classical ballet style. In the center of attention are ballerinas, female dancers, in classical short white tutus. They often played the role of mystical female that enslaved mortal men's heart. Characteristics of this style are pointe work, precise body movements, and intense emotions. Best known romantic ballets are La Sylphide and Coppélia.
Classical ballet style , like French, Italian and Russian, is characterized by classical ballet vocabulary and techniques. Classical ballet has training methods which often got their names by their creators, like Cecchetti method, after Italian ballet dancer Enrico Cecchetti. In 1920 in London was created a Royal Academy of Dance method. This English style merged French, Italian, Russian and Danish styles. Best known classical ballets are by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, like The Nutcracker and Swan Lake.
Neoclassical ballet style opposite to classical ballet has abstract elements, as no strict scenery, plot and costumes and minimal set design. It eliminates the formalities and opens up to modern techniques and ideas. Modern ballet style emerged from neoclassical ballet style. Opposed to delicate moves greater athleticism was favored.
Contemporary ballet style utilized ballet techniques, like classical ballet and elements from modern, ethnic and jazz styles and allows experimentations with ballet and modern dance. There is a fine line between contemporary ballet and contemporary dance, and also between contemporary ballet and neoclassical and modern ballet. Dancers moves are bigger, faster, and so it is characterized by robust athleticism, floor work, turn-in of the legs, dancing barefoot, acting and mime.
Methods represent formalized and standardized classical ballet training systems, often founded by one creator or a ballet group.
Italian ballet style has Cecchetti method named by ballet dancer Enrico Cecchetti.
Russian ballet style has Vaganova method named by dancer Agrippina Vaganova and Legat method named by Nikolai Legat.
English ballet style has Royal Academy of Dance training system that was created by the group of professional ballet dancers.
French and American ballet style are not standardized as training system or method by one creator. French ballet style has training system from groups like Paris Opera Ballet School.
Ballet technique formalized methods and execution of body movement. They define toe pointing, body posture, arm movement and mode of turn. A great part of ballet training drill are ballet techniques. They are practiced to become a part of ballet dancers, to develop aesthetics of ballet and avoid injuries.
Ballet terminology has a great vocabulary that defines formalized positions or movements.