Fans of classical ballet are no doubt familiar with the names on this list. Whether you are a new fan or a veteran of the classical theater scene, here are four of the top world-class ballets whose performance you will want to witness.
The Joffrey Ballet, “America’s Company of Firsts,” has a long, proud history. The Joffrey Ballet’s commitment to taking world-class work to a broad and varied audience has contributed to the company’s unprecedented capacity for achieving important “firsts.” The Joffrey Ballet’s long list of “firsts” includes being the first dance company to perform at the White House at Jacqueline Kennedy’s invitation. They are also the first to appear on television and the first and only dance company to appear on the cover of Time magazine. You can also add being the first to commission a rock ‘n’ roll ballet, as well as being the first company to have had a major motion picture based on it.
This ballet was founded by visionary teacher Robert Joffrey in 1956 and later led by celebrated choreographer Gerald Arpino from 1988 until 2007. Today The Joffrey Ballet is under the guidance of internationally renowned Artistic Director Ashley Wheater. The Joffrey Ballet has become one of the top dance companies in the world. The Chicago based company commits itself to artistic excellence as well as innovation.
Founded in 1776 and based at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, Russia, the Bolshoi Ballet is an internationally renowned classical ballet company. It is among the world’s oldest ballet companies. Along with the Mariinsky Ballet in Saint Petersburg, most recognize the Bolshoi as one of the foremost ballet companies in the world. With approximately 220 dancers, the Bolshoi Ballet is also one of the largest ballet companies today. This is fitting, since “bolshoi” means “big” or “grand” in Russian. Due to its size, the company operates two troupes of corps de ballet. This doubles the opportunities for classical ballet fans to witness the art of the Bolshoi.
Founded in 1931 by Dame Ninette de Valois, the Royal Ballet is the largest of the four world class ballet companies in Great Britain. It became the resident ballet company of the Royal Opera House in 1946 and was also granted a royal charter in 1956. The Royal Ballet prides itself for pushing the creative envelope. Their innovative and daring performances (2016 saw “Frankenstein” on their stage) combined with exceptional standards of stagecraft result in supreme theatre. They are a driving force behind the development of ballet as an art form. Based at the Royal Opera House in London’s Covent Garden, their world-class ballet dancers come together with a world-class orchestra. They have leading choreographers, composers, conductors, designers and also creative teams which combine to create awe-inspiring theatrical experiences worldwide.
Founded in 1962, The Australian Ballet is a young company by European standards. It is the also largest classical ballet company in Australia. In a short time it came to be recognized as one of the major international ballets in the world. Headquartered in Melbourne, the Australian Ballet’s home is the Primrose Potter Australian Ballet Centre. The company travels and performs regularly all over the vast continent while also making international appearances. Ballet devotees who make the trek can have the pleasure of an intimate performance at an annual outdoor tour on Hamilton Island. The Ballet’s artistic vision is of “Caring for Tradition, Daring to be Different”. They demonstrate this by visiting over 80 schools per year to teach young people the value of ballet.
If you do not have the opportunity to see these world-class ballets in person, find them online and on television. Many have made their performances available on video for the world to enjoy. So, tell us, have you been to any of these ballet companies?