Royal Ballet. Name bestowed by Royal charter in 1956 on former SW Ballet (CG), SW Theatre Ballet (SW), and SW Ballet School. Originated in Acad. of Choreographic Art, formed by Ninette de Valois in London, 1926. This sch. moved in 1931 to newly-built SW Th. under direction of Lilian Baylis. Became Vic-Wells Ballet, dir. by Constant Lambert and with Ashton and de Valois as leading choreogs. Visited Paris 1937, Holland 1940. Became resident co. at CG from 1946, opening with famous prod. of The Sleeping Beauty. Second co. (orig. SW Opera Ballet) formed 1946. Many eminent dancers worked for prin. co., incl. Fonteyn (from 1934), Dolin, Helpmann, Turner, Somes, Grey, Shearer, Massine, Nerina, Beriosova, Blair, Nureyev, Sibley, Park, and Collier. Choreogs. have incl. Massine, Balanchine, Cranko, Tudor, and MacMillan. NY début 1949. Art. dirs.: Ninette de Valois (1931–63), Frederick Ashton (1963–70), Kenneth MacMillan (1970–7); Norman Morrice (1977–86), and Anthony Dowell from 1986.
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