(ABT) US company founded 1939 (as the Ballet Theatre), aiming to present both classical and contemporary American ballet. ABT has a repertoire of exemplary range and quality with celebrity guest appearances. Based in New York, the company tours annually, and is considered one of the top six ballet companies in the world.
Among ABT's first ballerinas were Alicia Markova and Alicia Alonso. In the 1970s ABT opened its doors to the Soviet dancers who defected to the West, such as Rudolf Nureyev, Natalia Makarova, and Mikhail Baryshnikov (artistic director 1980–90).