Cambridge Encyclopedia » Cambridge Encyclopedia Vol. 5

American Ballet Theatre

20th

Renowned ballet company based at the Metropolitan Opera House in the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, New York, USA. Originally named Ballet Theatre, it was launched in 1939 by Richard Pleasant under the direction (1945–80) of Lucia Chase and Oliver Smith. Its aim is to present the great full-length ballets of the 19th-c, the finest works from the early 20th-c, and contemporary masterpieces. It has commissioned works by all the great choreographers of the 20th-c, including Balanchine, Antony Tudor, Jerome Robbins, Agnes de Mille, and Twyla Tharp. Important directors have included Mikhail Baryshnikov (1980–9). In 1992 the former American Ballet Theatre's principal dancer, Kevin McKenzie, was appointed artistic director.

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