English ballet company and school. In 1931 Ninette de Valois and Lilian Baylis organized the Vic-Wells Ballet, naming it for the two theatres (Old Vic and Sadler's Wells) where it performed. In the 1940s the group was called the Sadler's Wells Ballet, after its theatre; it moved to Covent Garden in 1946. Alicia Markova, Margot Fonteyn, and Robert Helpmann were among the company's early members. By the 1950s the Sadler's Wells Ballet had expanded to include its own school and a separate touring company; in 1956 it received a royal charter and was renamed the Royal Ballet. Dancers such as Rudolf Nureyev and choreographers such as Frederick Ashton, Kenneth MacMillan, and Bronislava Nijinska were associated with the company.
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