Royal Danish Ballet

Royal Danish Ballet
Royal Danish Theater.

The Royal Danish Ballet is one of the oldest ballet companies in the world. Based in Copenhagen, Denmark, it originates from 1748, when the Royal Danish Theatre was founded, and was finally organized in 1771 in response to the great popularity of French and Italian styles of dance. The company was founded with the opening of the Royal Danish Theatre, which has served as its home since that time.

Bournonville, 1841.



From the outset, the Royal Danish Ballet employed some of the leading dancers and choreographers. Within a few years of its founding, in 1771, the Royal Theater Ballet School was established to provide native dancers, of which one of the first was Anine Frölich. One of its early masters, Vincenzo Galeotti is credited with choreographing Amors og Balletmesterens Luner (The Whims of Cupid and the Ballet Master), the world's oldest ballet still performed with its original choreography. Galeotti was master of the company from 1775 to 1816, and that ballet is still part of the company's repertoire.

Another major master of the troupe was the Danish August Bournonville. During the half-century that Bournonville led the company (1828-1879), he choreographed some fifty ballets, of which about a dozen are still part of the company's repertoire. The works are highly influenced by the French school of dance, since Bournonville studied in that country, and include key roles for male dancers, undoubtedly written with himself in mind. After his death, one of his successors, Hans Beck, used the basic steps he learned in Bournonville's classes to create the Bournonville school to teach contemporary dancers the tradition of the old master.

The third great period of the Danish Royal Ballet came in 1932, when Harald Lander took over the helm of the corps. Trained in the United States and the Soviet Union, he both adapted traditional ballets and choreographed original works for the company. He encouraged local choreographers, who went on to create prominent works that won international acclaim. Among them was Børge Ralov, who choreographed the first modern Danish Ballet, The Widow in the Mirror, in 1934. He also trained many prominent international dancers, including Erik Bruhn.

A prominent company director was Henning Kronstam (1978-1982), who directed the 1979 Bournonville Festival.

In the latter half of the 20th century, the Royal Danish Ballet underwent another transformation, with many internationally prominent choreographers, including George Balanchine commissioned to work with it. Though modern works assumed increasingly important stature in the repertoire, the Ballet continued to remain loyal to its classical roots as well, earning it the reputation as one of the finest corps of dancers in the world, incorporating foreign as well as native-born talent.

In 2007 the appointment of New York City Ballet principal dancer Nikolaj Hübbe as balletmaster was announced.

Artistic Directors

  • 1748-1753 Des Larches
  • 1755-1756 Neudin
  • 1756-1763 Antonio Como
  • 1763-1767 Antonio Sacco
  • 1767-1768 Jean Baptiste Martin
  • 1768-1770 Innocente Gambuzzi
  • 1770-1771 Martini
  • 1771-1772 Vincenzo Piatolli
  • 1772-1773 Domenico Andriani
  • 1773-1775 Vincenzo Piatolli
  • 1775-1816 Vincenzo Galeotti
  • 1816-1823 Antoine Bournonville
  • 1823-1830 Pierre Larcher
  • 1830-1877 August Bournonville
  • 1877-1890 Ludvig Gade
  • 1890-1894 Emil Hansen
  • 1894-1915 Hans Beck


Principal dancers

  • Amy Watson
  • Gitte Lindstrøm
  • Gudrun Bojesen
  • Susanne Grinder
  • Yao Wei
  • Alban Lendorf
  • Andrew Bowman
  • Jean-Lucien Massot
  • Kristoffer Sakurai
  • Mads Blangstrup
  • Marcin Kupinski
  • Thomas Lund
  • Ulrik Birkkjær


  • Alexandra Lo Sardo
  • Christina Michanek
  • Diana Cuni
  • Femke Mølbach Slot
  • J'aime Crandall
  • Jodie Thomas
  • Kizzy Matiakis
  • Lena-Maria Gruber
  • Lesley Culver
  • Tina Højlund
  • Alexander Stæger
  • Fernando Mora
  • Gregory Dean
  • Morten Eggert
  • Nicolai Hansen
  • Sebastian Kloborg
  • Tim Matiakis

Character dancers

  • Eva Kloborg
  • Jette Buchwald
  • Lis Jeppesen
  • Mette Bødtcher
  • Erling Eliasson
  • Flemming Ryberg
  • Mogens Boesen
  • Poul-Erik Hesselkilde

Corps de ballet

  • Alba Nadal
  • Amalie Adrian
  • Birgitta Lawrence
  • Camilla Ruelykke Holst
  • Carling Talcott
  • Caroline Baldwin
  • Cecilie Lassen
  • Charlotte Aamand
  • Ditte Teildorf
  • Elisabeth Dam
  • Ellen Green
  • Emma Håkansson
  • Esther Lee Wilkinson
  • Giorgia Minnella
  • Hilary Guswiler
  • Holly Jean Dorger
  • Josee Howard
  • Josephine Berggreen
  • Julie Valentin
  • Kristine Drewsen
  • Laure Dougy
  • Louise Midjord
  • Louise Østergaard
  • Maria Bernholdt
  • Maria Stokholm
  • Mathilde Søe
  • Oda Grøner
  • Rebecca Labbé
  • Sascha Haugland
  • Shelby Elsbree
  • Stephanie Sahlgren
  • Tara Schaufuss
  • Benjamin Buza
  • Bryant Steenstra
  • Byron Mildwater
  • Cédric Lambrette
  • Charles Andersen
  • Christian Hammeken
  • Christopher Rickert
  • Constantine Baecher
  • Eliabe D'Abadia
  • Gábor Baunoch
  • James Clark
  • Jón Axel Fransson
  • Julien Ringdahl
  • Julien Roman
  • Jonathan Chmelensky
  • Thomas Flindt Jeppesen


  • Astrid Elbo
  • Benita Bünger
  • Ida Praetorius
  • Stephanie Chen Gundorph Møller
  • Viktoria Falck-Schmidt
  • Andreas Kaas
  • Jeppe Banke
  • Lukas Hartvig-Møller
  • Luke Schaufuss
  • Magnus Christoffersen
  • Oscar Nilsson

External links

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