What Is the Oldest Ballet Company in America?


The oldest ballet company in America is the American Ballet Theatre (ABT), founded in 1940. It is one of the top leading classical ballet companies in the world, and is based in New York City. The company was founded by Lucia Chase and Richard Pleasant, who wanted to create a “national ballet” that could compete with European troupes on an international level.

ABT has a long history of producing world-renowned ballets such as Swan Lake and Giselle. Over the years, ABT has welcomed some of the most talented performers from around the world, including Mikhail Baryshnikov, Natalia Makarova, and Cynthia Gregory.

In addition to its impressive repertoire of ballets, ABT also presents a season of full-length productions each year. These productions are often adapted from classic literature or feature choreography from some of today’s most acclaimed choreographers. This season’s lineup includes works by Alexei Ratmansky, Jean-Christophe Maillot, William Forsythe, Twyla Tharp and Christopher Wheeldon.

A Commitment to Excellence

ABT is committed to delivering excellence in both performances and education. The company offers youth programs around the country that give aspiring dancers access to high-quality instruction and performance opportunities. ABT also hosts master classes throughout the year featuring dancers from its own roster as well as guest artists.


The American Ballet Theatre is the oldest ballet company in America, having been founded in 1940 by Lucia Chase and Richard Pleasant. It has since become one of the leading classical ballet companies in the world with a repertoire that includes some of the most iconic ballets ever created. In addition to performing these ballets throughout its season; ABT is committed to excellence by providing educational opportunities for aspiring dancers through its youth programs and master classes.