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THE COMPANY

American Ballet Theatre

Bringing Dance to America and American Dance to the World®

Welcome to ABT.

American Ballet Theatre is an internationally celebrated cultural institution. We are America’s National Ballet Company because we are dedicated to preserving and extending the great legacy of classical dancing.

At ABT, we know that by sharing art we can develop a global community of art enthusiasts that transcends cultural boundaries. The American Ballet Theatre team – from staff, artists, and our Board of Trustees, to our dedicated volunteers – works tirelessly to produce innovative performances, reach the widest possible audience, and provide the highest quality education in classical dance.

At your fingertips is a wealth of information, but be warned: the more you learn, the more you’re going to fall in love. On behalf of our entire team, welcome to American Ballet Theatre.

Our Mission:

To create, to present, to preserve and to extend the great repertoire of classical dancing, through exciting performances and educational programming of the highest quality, presented to the widest possible audience.

Our History

Where It All Began.

American Ballet Theatre is considered one of the greatest dance companies in the world, revered as a living national treasure since its founding in 1939. Few ballet companies rival ABT in size, scope, and outreach. Though located in New York City, ABT annually tours the United States – performing for 300,000 people annually – and is the only major cultural institution to do so. The Company has made more than 30 international tours to 50 countries in order to share American ballet with the world, and on many of these engagements ABT received sponsorship from the State Department of the United States Government.

In the Autumn of 1939, ABT was launched with the mission of developing a repertoire of the best ballets from the past, and the creation of new works by gifted young choreographers, wherever they might be found. Under the direction of Luca Chase and Oliver Smith (1945 – 1980), the Company more than fulfilled this mission.

Members of the Artistic Committee of Ballet Theatre in 1947: Jerome Robbins, Lucia Chase, Agnes de Mille, Oliver Smith and Aaron Copland..Photo: Cecil Beaton.

Perhaps unmatched in the history of ballet, ABT’s repertoire includes full-length classics from the nineteenth century; Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty, and Giselle, the finest works from the early twentieth century; Apollo, Les Sylphides, Jardin aux Lilas, and Rodeo, and acclaimed contemporary masterpieces including Airs, Push Comes to Shove, and Duets. Throughout the curation of this exquisite repertoire, ABT has commissioned works by the choreographic geniuses of the twentieth century; George Balanchine, Antony Tudor, Jerome Robbins, Agnes de Mille and Twyla Tharp, among others.

Mikhail Baryshnikov became Artistic Director of American Ballet Theatre in 1980, succeeding Lucia Chase and Oliver Smith. Under his leadership, numerous classical ballets were staged, restaged, and refurbished and ABT strengthened and refined the classical tradition. In 1990, Jane Hermann and Oliver Smith succeeded Baryshnikov and established an agenda dedicated to maintaining the great traditions of the past while aggressively pursuing a vital and innovative future.

The original cast of Pillar of Fire (1942): Hugh Laing, Nora Kaye, Lucia Chase, Annabelle Lyon and Antony Tudor..Photo: Maurice Seymour.

In October 1992, former American Ballet Theatre Principal Dancer Kevin McKenzie was appointed Artistic Director and serves as such today. McKenzie, steadfast in his vision of ABT as “American”, is committed to maintaining the Company’s vast repertoire and bringing the art of dance theater to the great stages of the world. In upholding this mission, the Company has enjoyed successful engagements in Abu Dhabi, Brisbane, Hong Kong, Havana, Paris and Beijing.

On April 27, 2006, by an act of Congress, American Ballet Theatre became America’s National Ballet Company®.

The original cast of Fancy Free (1944): Jerome Robbins, John Kriza, Harold Lang, Janet Reed and Muriel Bentley..Photo: Maurice Seymour.

Who We Are

Designated America’s National Ballet Company® by an Act of Congress in 2006

Headquartered in New York City with spring and fall seasons at Lincoln Center

Committed to expanding ethnic and cultural diversity and inclusion in classical ballet through Project Plié

Quick Stats

136
cities toured in 50 countries
180+
new works commisioned
90
company dancers from 16 countries & 27 states
300K+
audience members annually
1M+
active & engaged social media fans
40K+
reached annually through ABT’s training & community programs

Annual Report & Financials

Explore our 2017 Annual Report! Click below to read online or for a downloadable report. 


Explore ABT’s financials by selecting a year below.

Master Calendar

View our Master Calendar to see our full schedule of Performances, Training and Community events in New York City, nationally and globally.

Learn More

Photo: Rosalie O'Connor

ABT News

Keep up to date with the latest ABT news and announcements through our Press Releases.

Browse News

Repertory Archive

Immerse yourself in the legacy of classical dance that ABT is dedicated to preserving and extending by exploring our Repertory Archive.

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