The Paris Opéra Ballet is the oldest national ballet company in the world. It can be linked all the way back to 1661 with King Louis XVI and his establishment of the Académie Royale de Danse. Its official name is Ballet de l’Opéra National de Paris.
Other firsts associated with the Paris Opera Ballet are the first Ballet Master, Pierre Beauchamp and the first ballerina, Mlle de la Fontaine. Other great choreographers to have worked there include; Jean Dauberval, Philippe Taglioni, Jules Perrot, Jean Coralli, Kenneth MacMillan, and Rudolf Nureyev among others.
The dancers at the ballet have five ranks. From highest to lowest they are; étoiles, premières sujets, sujets, coryphées, and quadrilles.
The Paris Opéra Ballet School opened in 1713 under the name Ecole de l’Académie and will be celebrating its 300th anniversary in 2013. The school’s mission is “to train ballet dancers and provide dancers with professional training”.