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The Azerbaijani ballet originated in 1940, with the creation of the Maiden Tower ballet by Afrasiyab Badalbeyli. During that period, ballet was a relatively new genre for Azerbaijani spectators, but Maiden Tower managed to attract a large audience. It notably featured the first Azerbaijani ballerina, Gamar Almaszadeh, Badalbeyli's wife at the time.
The ballet Gulshan written by Soltan Hajibeyov was the second ballet staged successfully at the Azerbaijan State Academic Opera and Ballet Theater in 1950.
Dancers such as Gamar Almaszadeh, Leyla Vakilova, Konstantin Batashov, Rafiga Akhundova, Vladimir Pletnyov and Chimnaz Babayeva made great contributions in Azerbaijani ballet. In addition, directors such as Ismayil Hidayetzade, Mehdi Mammadov, Adil Isgandarov, Sultan Dadashov and Firudin Safarov and conductors such as Niyazi, Ashraf Hasanov, Ahad Israfilzade, Rauf Abdullayev and Kamal Abdullayev also contributed to the development of Azerbaijani ballet.
In 1969, dancers of the Azerbaijan State Academic Opera and Ballet Theater were awarded a diploma by the Paris Dance Academy at the International Dance Festival held at Champs-Élysées theater in Paris.
In 2010, the Azerbaijan State Academic Opera and Ballet Theater celebrated its 100th anniversary.
The most important ballets in the Azerbaijani repertoire include: