Russian ballet is a form of ballet characteristic of or originating from Russia. In the early 19th century, the theaters were opened up to anyone who could afford a ticket. There was a seating section called a rayok, or 'paradise gallery', that consisted of simple wooden benches. This allowed non-wealthy people access to the ballet, because tickets in this section were inexpensive.
The first ballet company was the Imperial School of Ballet in St. Petersburg in the 1740s. The Ballets Russes was a ballet company founded in the 1909 by Sergey Diaghilev, an enormously important figure in the Russian ballet scene. The headquarters of his ballet company was located in Paris, France. A protégé of Diaghilev, George Balanchine, founded the New York City Ballet in 1948. Today, the Kirov Ballet company (now known as the Mariinsky Ballet) and the Bolshoi company are two world-renowned Russian ballet companies that tour the world.