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Azerbaijani ballet originated with the creation of Maiden Tower ballet by Afrasiyab Badalbeyli in 1940. During that period, ballet was a relatively new genre for Azerbaijan spectators, but Maiden Tower managed to attract a large audience of spectators. 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 in the Azerbaijan State Academic Opera and Ballet Theater, in 1950, which also found great success.
The names 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 widely contributed into development of Azerbaijani ballet.
In 2010, Azerbaijan State Academic Opera and Ballet Theater celebrated its 100th anniversary.
The most influential ballets of Azerbaijan includes:
- The Maiden Tower by Afrasiyab Badalbeyli
- Ballet of "Smiling man" by Afrasiyab Badalbeyli
- Ballet of "Garaja" by Afrasiyab Badalbeyli
- Ballet of "Tarlan" by Afrasiyab Badalbeyli (children ballet)
- Ballet of "Seven Beauties" by Gara Garayev
- Ballet of "The Path of Thunder by Gara Garayev
- Ballet of "Leyli and Majnun" by Gara Garayev
- Ballet of "The Arabian Nights" by Fikret Amirov
- Ballet of "Nizami" by Fikret Amirov
- Ballet of "The Legend of Nasimi" by Fikret Amirov
- Ballet of "Caspian conquerors" by Fikret Amirov
- Ballet of "The Legend of Love" by Arif Malikov
- Ballet of "Stronger than Death" by Arif Malikov
- Ballet of "Twain" by Arif Malikov
- Ballet of "Poem of Two Hearts" by Arif Malikov
- Ballet of "Whites and blacks" by Khayyam Mirzezadeh
- Ballet of "Love and Death" by Polad Bulbuloglu
Many Azerbaijani dancers have gone on to reach worldwide acclaim; notable Azerbaijani dancers include:
- "Müsəlman Şərqində ilk balet". ocaz.eu (in Azerbaijani). Retrieved 29 June 2014.
- Shahverdiyev, Karim. "Azərbaycan baletini yaradısı, səhnəmizin şahzadəsi Qəmər xanım Almaszadə". www.musigi-dunya.az (in Azerbaijani). Retrieved 29 June 2014.
- Almaszade, Gamar. "My Life as Azerbaijan's First Ballerina". www.azer.com. Azerbaijan International. Retrieved 29 June 2014.
- Sharifov, Azad. "Remembering Gara Garayev". www.azer.com. Retrieved 29 June 2014.
- "Qəmər Almaszadə". adam.az.
- АЗЕРБАЙДЖАНСКИЙ БАЛЕТ в энциклопедии балета. www.ballet-enc.ru (in Russian). Retrieved 29 June 2014.
- Азербайджанский театр оперы и балета. www.belcanto.ru (in Russian). Retrieved 29 June 2014.
- Maclachlan, Fiona. "Happy Hundredth! Azerbaijan’s State Theatre of Opera and Ballet Approaches its Centenary". www.visions.az. Retrieved 28 October 2014.
- Gusman, Carolina. "SD Ballet premieres 'Seven Beauties'". www.utsandiego.com. Retrieved 28 October 2014.
- "Azerbaijani Ballet 'Seven Beauties' premieres in the United States to great acclaim". www.prnewswire.com. Retrieved 28 October 2014.