There is nothing more Russian than the ballet. It has its origins in the reign of the Empress Anna in the early eighteenth century. The greater ties with Western Europe established under Peter the Great led her to invite a Frenchman Jean-Baptiste Lande, to live in Saint-Petersburg in order to teach dancing to the court. Noting that the Russians possessed a natural feel for dance, he set up, with the approval and help of Empress Elizabeth, a permanent company, which was the foundation of the Imperial Ballet.
In the beginning of the nineteenth century the ballet school became a fully-fledged Imperial Institutions, where academic subjects were taught alongside ballet and were the aim was to cultivate native talent. By the end of the nineteenth century, ballet was the art par excellence, just as elsewhere in Europe it was in decline. This was firstly because the Russians loved it and secondly because the Tsar provided huge subsidies. Ballet was so strongly identified with Russia that it became a tradition. And acquired dynastic elements in its teaching, where the teachers passed their knowledge on to their successors.
You can visit the Russian ballet if you order the guides private tour in St Petersburg.