English National Ballet brings world-class classical ballet to the widest possible audience - delighting them with the traditional and inspiring them with the new. We aspire to be the United Kingdom’s most exciting and creative ballet company.
We honor the tradition of great classical ballet while embracing change, evolving the art form for future generations and encouraging audiences to deepen their appreciation of it.
Alicia Markova, Anton Dolin and Julian Braunsweg founded Festival Ballet in 1950. It arose from successful gala programmes featuring Markova and Dolin that had been presented throughout the previous year. The Company's original title was chosen by Markova to reflect the imminent Festival of Britain. From the start, touring throughout England has been at the heart of the Company's activities and from 1951 the Company has toured abroad on a regular basis. In 1951 the Company began touring both nationally and internationally. The first appearance in Manchester was on the 5 February 1951 at the Opera House which is where English National Ballet had been on the pre-company tour which consisted of the Gala Performances.