Stuttgart Ballet, the first major German ballet company. The company, housed in the Württemberg Staatstheater, rose rapidly to fame in the 1960s under the direction of John Cranko (1927–73), who left his position as staff choreographer of Great Britain's Royal Ballet to direct the company in 1961. He recruited spirited young dancers from around the world, staging colorful full-length "story" ballets. These included Romeo and Juliet, Eugene Onegin, The Taming of the Shrew, and Carmen. The company performs throughout Germany and on extensive tours abroad.