What Is the Oldest Ballet Company in the World?


The oldest ballet company in the world is a disputed title. While most agree that the first ballet company was formed in 1581 as part of the French royal court, there are many other companies that have been around for centuries.

The Royal Ballet of France is widely considered to be the oldest ballet company in the world, and it was founded by King Louis XIV in 1661. This company was responsible for developing and popularizing ballet throughout Europe, and it has since become one of the most prestigious and influential ballet companies in the world.

The Bolshoi Ballet, founded in 1776, is another of the oldest ballet companies still performing today. Located in Moscow, Russia, this company has a long history of producing classic ballets such as The Nutcracker and Swan Lake. The Bolshoi Ballet is also renowned for its innovative approach to classical dance and its commitment to preserving traditional Russian culture through their performances.

The Royal Danish Ballet dates back to 1748 and is considered one of the oldest continuously operating ballet companies in Europe. This company has been instrumental in developing modern dance techniques such as pointe work and partnering, as well as introducing European audiences to classic ballets like Giselle and La Sylphide.

The Mariinsky Ballet is another venerable institution with a long history stretching back to 1738. Located in St. Petersburg, Russia, this company has been instrumental in promoting Russian culture throughout Europe and beyond with their iconic productions such as The Sleeping Beauty and The Firebird.

These are just some of the oldest ballet companies still performing today; there are dozens more that have been around for centuries or more but may not be as well known or have achieved international acclaim like these four companies have.

Conclusion: While there are many contenders for the title of “Oldest Ballet Company,” most experts agree that either the Royal Ballet of France (founded 1661) or Bolshoi Ballet (founded 1776) can lay claim to being some of the oldest continuously active performing arts institutions in the world.