American Ballet Theatre: A History - The Choreographers for the Company

“Ballet Theatre, like almost all ballet in America, owes a lot to the Russian dancers who came here after the Revolution and settled in the 1920’s and 30’s,” says Anna Kisselgoff, former dance critic at The New York Times (1968-2005). “It was called Ballet Theatre, and not American Ballet Theatre but it was an American company from the start. There was no European company like it…and one reason among others was that it was not a one-choreographer company.”

“Every single choreographer of importance in 20th century made their mark in the first decade of American Ballet Theatre,” explains Alexei Ratmansky, ABT artist in residence (2009-present) and artistic director, Bolshoi Ballet.

Former ABT dancers Donald Saddler (1940-1947) and Alicia Alonso (1940-1960) describe the joy and challenges of working with several choreographers at once, including Antony Tudor, Madame Nijinska and Michel Fokine.