Based in New York, the American Ballet Theater, also known as ABT, was first launched in 1939 as the Mordkin Ballet. On its early days, the company aimed to develop a unique repertoire of the best ballet performances from the past and incorporate them to the contemporary masterpieces. They also maintain such aim to encourage the creation of new ballet art forms by the gifted young choreographers of today’s fast-paced world.
That original aim of the American Ballet Theater was maintained until the company was officially recognized as the American Ballet Theater in 1940. That time, the company was directed by Lucia Chase and Richard Pleasant, with the help of another gifted choreographer, Oliver Smith. With the leadership of these people, the company fulfilled that aim dramatically.
It is further worth noting that during the reign of Chase, and Pleasant, the American Ballet Theater’s repertoire became unmatched in the history of ballet. They began to successfully stage the greatest performances ever known to man, such as The Sleeping Beauty, Giselle, Swan Lake, Apollo, Airs, Push Comes to Shove, Duets, Jardin aux Lilas and Rodeo, and Les Sylphides. All of these performances were acclaimed by millions of spectators from around the world, uplifting the reputation that the American Ballet Theater has gained before.
The American Ballet Theater was passed under the management of Mikhail Baryshnikov in 1980, succeeding Chase, and Pleasant’s leadership. Under his rule as the artistic director, the company was able to stage a number of ballets that are classical in nature. These ballets weren’t only staged, but they were restaged and refurbished, opening the door to the company’s strengthening and refining its classical tradition. It was only in 1990 that the company was passed to the new management, particularly under the leadership of Jane Hermann and Oliver Smith. It was during this time that the company realized to keep their tradition of the past while trying to pursue and develop new forms of the art for the company’s future.
Today, the American Ballet Theater has notably enjoyed remarkable successes as they keep their long standing commitment and dedication to bringing up the finest performances to the widest national and international audience. They then started to form ties between countries in the whole world and that’s what opened up a new door for the company to stage the greatest performances in some of the great theaters worldwide. The American Ballet Theater has successfully conquered not only the entire America, but also Europe and Asia.