Ballet History Timeline

Our Ballet History Timeline is currently under construction and will be available for you to enjoy soon.

Ballet history timeline
Click to launch the Timeline

An interactive history

This unique and exciting online project traces the story of the founding of a national ballet in Britain.

Our Ballet History Timeline is an online tool that relates to the wider history of Classical ballet as a theatre art form.

Set out as an easy-to-explore linear chronology, the Timeline is illustrated by archival treasures from The Royal Ballet School Special Collections, allowing these wonderful items to be seen online for the first time, and appreciated within their proper historical context.

The Timeline currently features nearly 750 images of items held in The Royal Ballet School Special Collections. It comprises nearly 67,000 words, including detailed image captions, written by The Royal Ballet School’s Manager of Special Collections, Anna Meadmore.

This Ballet History Timeline is not only a fantastic interactive reference, it also an inspiring, free educational resource for students of dance studies. Any direct quotes from authors have been referenced in the text and all sources can be found by clicking the Bibliography tab.

The Timeline was created by The Royal Ballet School to mark the 90th year since it was founded by Dame Ninette de Valois in 1926.

An ongoing project

The Timeline is an ongoing project: it currently sets the scene in the 1860s and continues through to 1956, the year in which Dame Ninette de Valois’ School and Companies were awarded a Royal Charter. In due course, the Timeline will extend further – back in time, and forward to the present – so that more of the fascinating material held in The Royal Ballet School Special Collections can be explored online.

How to navigate the Timeline

The Timeline works on both desktop and mobile devices but, due to the extent of the materials, is best discovered on a desktop computer.

A click on each main image in the Timeline will open it; many items have further ‘Read more’, ‘Biography’ or ‘Gallery’ tabs to investigate. An ‘Information’ tab gives credits and copyright information.

Watch our video guide to take a closer look:


Our Ballet History Timeline builds on content originally developed for the Julia Farron Ballet Resource Centre, an information database formerly located in White Lodge Museum (2009-15).

The Royal Ballet School is extremely grateful that this vital work was made possible by generous donations from: Julia Farron, the Foyle Foundation, the Idlewild Trust and an anonymous donor.

Shopping Basket