What Is the Difference Between NYC Ballet and ABT?


The New York City Ballet (NYCB) and the American Ballet Theatre (ABT) are two of the most prestigious ballet companies in the United States. Both organizations have contributed to the world of classical ballet in their own unique ways.

The NYCB was founded in 1948 by choreographer George Balanchine and Lincoln Kirstein. The company combines a blend of classical, contemporary, and neoclassical styles that make it a leader in modern ballet.

Many of Balanchine’s original works are still performed today, making it one of the most influential dance companies in the world.

The ABT was founded in 1940 by Lucia Chase and Richard Pleasant. It is known for its commitment to preserving the traditions of classical ballet. The company has an expansive repertoire that includes renowned works such as Swan Lake, Giselle, and Sleeping Beauty. ABT also presents original works created by some of today’s most acclaimed choreographers including Alexei Ratmansky and Twyla Tharp.


  • Style: The NYCB focuses on a blend of different styles while ABT is more traditional and dedicated to preserving classical ballet.
  • Choreographers: NYCB is heavily influenced by George Balanchine while ABT has several renowned choreographers on its roster.
  • Repertoire: NYCB performs a mix of original works as well as classic pieces while ABT primarily focuses on classic ballets.

Both organizations are highly respected for their contributions to the art form, but they each approach their craft from different perspectives.


The New York City Ballet and American Ballet Theatre are two iconic ballet companies with distinct styles and repertoires. While both organizations share a passion for classical ballet, they differ in terms of style, choreography, and repertoire. As such, each company offers something unique for audiences to appreciate.