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The Royal Ballet

The Royal Ballet is one of the oldest, and one of the greatest and most famous ballet

Companies in the world. It all began in 1926 when dancer and choreographer, Dame Ninette de Valois, assembled a small ballet company and school for girls, called the Vic-Wells Ballet.

In 1931 the Sadler’s Wells Theatre became the home of both the Vic-Wells ballet and the

Vic-Wells ballet school. The Company was renamed the Sadler’s Wells Ballet and the school

became Sadler’s Wells Ballet School. They performed at the Sadler’s Wells Theatre until

the beginning of World War II and then spent time touring and performing for the Allied

Troops. One of the most famous ballerinas, Alicia Markova, was mentored by Dame Ninette and

became the Company’s first Prima Ballerina.

In 1946, after the end of the War, the Royal Opera House reopened in Covent Garden and

the Sadler’s Wells Ballet Company was invited to become the resident Company there.

In 1956 Queen Elizabeth II granted the Sadler’s Wells Ballet and Ballet School a Royal

Charter, to safeguard the future of the Company and they became The Royal Ballet and

Royal Ballet School.

In May 2006, The Royal Ballet celebrated its 75th anniversary with the recreation of The

Sleeping Beauty, which was their first production at Covent Garden in 1946. It is one of the few ballet companies in the world to have employed four dancers who were recognised as Prima Ballerina Assoluta, a title given to a ballerina who was considered to have exceptional talent above the other leading ballerinas. One of these dancers was Dame Margot Fonteyn, who trained at the Royal Ballet School and spent her entire career with the Company. As a gift for her 60 th Birthday, Dame Margot was recognised as Prima Ballerina Assoluta.

Today, the Royal Ballet school is the leading classical ballet school in the UK and one of the

world’s most celebrated centres for dance. It is the official school of the Royal Ballet and the

Birmingham Royal Ballet. It attracts dancers from all over the world and is the driving force

behind the development of Ballet.

The Royal Ballet is proud to be a place where the most dynamic dancers come together to

perform exceptional standards of artistry with a world-class orchestra and a team of leading

choreographers, composers, conductors, and designers. The Company is committed to

enriching people’s lives through ballet and to give the audience an amazing theatrical

experience not just in the UK but throughout the world.

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