American Ballet Theatre
American Ballet Theatre is recognized as one of the great dance companies in the world, for its combination of size, scope and outreach. Since its foundation in 1940, ABT annually tours the United States, performing for more than 600,000 people, and is the only major cultural institution to do so. It has also made more than 15 international tours to 42 countries and been sponsored by the State Department of the United States on many of these engagements.
When American Ballet Theatre was launched in 1939, the aim was to develop a repertoire of the best ballets from the past and to encourage the creation of new works by gifted young choreographers, wherever they might be found. Under the direction of Lucia Chase and Oliver Smith from 1940 to 1980, the Company more than fulfilled that aim.