American Ballet Theatre
Prominent ballet company based in New York City.

It was founded in 1939 as the Ballet Theatre (the name was changed in 1958) by Lucia Chase and Richard Pleasant to promote works "American in character." Oliver Smith replaced Pleasant as codirector in 1945; Mikhail Baryshnikov served as artistic director from 1980 to 1989 after dancing with the company in the 1970s. New ballets were created for the company by Agnes de Mille, Jerome Robbins, Twyla Tharp, and Antony Tudor; Michel Fokine revived many of his earlier works for them as well. Principal dancers have included Alicia Alonso, Erik Bruhn, Anton Dolin, and Natalia Makarova.

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▪ American ballet company
formerly  (1939–57) Ballet Theatre,  

      ballet company based in New York City and having an affiliated school. It was founded in 1939 by Lucia Chase and Richard Pleasant and presented its first performance on Jan. 11, 1940. Chase was director, with Oliver Smith, from 1945 to 1980; the dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov (Baryshnikov, Mikhail) was artistic director from 1980 to 1989.

      Works were created for the company by such choreographers as Antony Tudor, Agnes deMille, Jerome Robbins, Michael Kidd, Eliot Feld, Twyla Tharp, Glen Tetley, and Mikhail Baryshnikov; Michel Fokine (Fokine, Michel) revived many of his masterpieces for the company and created Bluebeard (1941) and Russian Soldier (1942). Such dancers as Alicia Alonso, Baryshnikov, Erik Bruhn, Anton Dolin, André Eglevsky, Cynthia Gregory, Rosella Hightower, Nora Kaye, John Kriza, Hugh Laing, Natalia Makarova, Alicia Markova, Ivan Nagy, Janet Reed, Violette Verdy, and Igor Youskevitch were members of the company.

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Universalium. 2010.

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