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|Year founded||Approx. 1740|
1 Theatre Square
|Reserve Troupe Director||Andrei Bugaev|
|Parent company||Mariinsky Theatre|
|Associated schools||Vaganova Ballet Academy|
The Mariinsky Ballet is the resident classical ballet company of the Mariinsky Theatre in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Founded in the 18th century and originally known as the Imperial Russian Ballet, the Mariinsky Ballet is one of the world's leading ballet companies. Internationally, the Mariinsky Ballet continues to be known by its former Soviet name the Kirov Ballet. The Mariinsky Ballet is the parent company of the Vaganova Ballet Academy, a leading international ballet school.
The Mariinsky Ballet was founded in the 1740s, following the formation of the first Russian dance school in 1738.
The Imperial Theatre School as it was originally known, was established on 4 May 1738, at the Winter Palace in Saint Petersburg. It would become the predecessor of today's Vaganova Ballet Academy. The school's founder director was the French ballet master and teacher Jean-Baptiste Landé and the purpose of creating the school was to train young dancers to form the first Russian ballet company. The first group of students included twelve boys and twelve girls, who later went on to form what would become the predecessor of today's Mariinsky Ballet.
Very little information exists from the formative years of the ballet company, however it is known that both the school and the ballet company were linked by name, becoming the Imperial Ballet School and Imperial Russian Ballet, names that continued to be used until the abolition of Imperial rule. In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, the Imperial Russian Ballet soon rose to prominence and would employ some of the most influential and famous names in ballet history including Charles Didelot, Marie Taglioni, Christian Johansson, Enrico Cecchetti, Jules Perrot, Fanny Cerrito and Carlotta Grisi.
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