Famous 19th Century Ballet Dancers

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 1 
Anna Pavlova
(Ballet dancer)

Anna Pavlova
4
Birthdate: February 12, 1881
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Saint Petersburg, Russia
Died: January 23, 1931

One of the first ballerinas to travel extensively around the world, Anna Pavlova had first gained an interest in the dance form after watching an adaptation of The Sleeping Beauty. She initially gained fame dancing with Mikhail Mordkin and later made waves with her iconic role in The Dying Swan.

 2 
Sergei Diaghilev
(Art Critic)

Sergei Diaghilev
4
Birthdate: March 31, 1872
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Chudovsky District, Russia
Died: August 19, 1929

Sergei Diaghilev was a Russian ballet impresario, patron, and art critic. He is credited with founding the popular ballet company Ballets Russes, which has produced some of the greatest and popular choreographers and dancers like Tamara Karsavina, Lydia Sokolova, Serge Lifar, and Alicia Markova. Sergei Diaghilev is remembered for placing the needs of his company and dancers above his own.

 3 
Marius Petipa
(Ballet dancer)

Marius Petipa
3
Birthdate: March 11, 1818
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Marseille, France
Died: July 14, 1910

Marius Petipa was a French pedagogue, ballet dancer, and choreographer. He is widely regarded as one of the most influential and important ballet choreographers and masters in ballet history. From 1871 to 1903, he served as the principal choreographer and Ballet Master of the popular Imperial Russian Ballet. In the 1983 biopic Anna Pavlova, Petipa was played by Pyotr Gusev.

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 4 
Marie Taglioni
(Ballet Dancer)

Marie Taglioni
3
Birthdate: April 23, 1804
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Stockholm, Sweden
Died: April 22, 1884

 5 
Mathilde Kschessinska
(Ballerina from the Polish noble family Krzesiński)

Mathilde Kschessinska
3
Birthdate: August 18, 1872
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Ligovo
Died: June 7, 1971

Mathilde Kschessinska was a Russian ballerina hailing from the Polish noble family Krzesiński. She was the daughter of Feliks Krzesiński, who danced in Saint Petersburg.  As a young woman, she married Grand Duke Andrei Vladimirovich of Russia. She later opened her own ballet school and trained students, such as Margot Fonteyn, Alicia Markova, and André Eglevsky. 

 6 
Michel Fokine
(Choreographer)

Michel Fokine
3
Birthdate: April 23, 1880
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Saint Petersburg, Russia
Died: August 22, 1942

Michel Fokine was a Russian dancer and choreographer whose pieces are performed internationally to this day. Fokine is credited with choreographing the works of popular dancers like Anna Pavlova. Renowned for his groundbreaking works, such as Le Pavillon d'Armide, Michel Fokine has been portrayed in a couple of films, namely Nijinsky and A Woman for All Time.

 7 
Anita Berber
(Dancer)

Anita Berber
3
Birthdate: June 10, 1899
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Leipzig, Germany
Died: November 10, 1928

Anita Berber was a German dancer, writer, and actress. Berber's addiction to drugs and her choice of clothing in public events, which challenged social taboos at that time, overshadowed her professional achievements. In addition to her personal life, Anita Berber also achieved notoriety as a dancer; some of her performances featured total nudity. She died of tuberculosis at age 29.

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 8 
Enrico Cecchetti
(Ballet Dancer)

Enrico Cecchetti
2
Birthdate: June 21, 1850
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Rome, Italy
Died: November 13, 1928

 9 
Cleo de Merode
(Ballet dancer)

Cleo de Merode
3
Birthdate: September 27, 1875
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: October 17, 1966

Cleo de Merode was a French dancer whose glamor overshadowed her dancing skills. Often referred to as the first modern celebrity and the first real celebrity icon, de Mérode was also the first female public figure whose pictures were distributed worldwide. She is also remembered for her sculpture La Danseuse which was sculpted from a plaster cast of her body.

 10 
Bronislava Nijinska
(Ballet Dancer)

Bronislava Nijinska
3
Birthdate: January 8, 1891
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Minsk, Belarus
Died: February 21, 1972

 11 
Tamara Karsavina
(Prima Ballerina)

Tamara Karsavina
3
Birthdate: March 9, 1885
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Saint Petersburg, Russia
Died: May 26, 1978

Tamara Karsavina was a Russian ballet dancer who served as a principal artist at Sergei Diaghilev's popular company The Ballets Russes. Karsavina also taught ballet and is credited with co-founding modern British ballet. After settling in Britain, Tamara Karsavina popularized the dance form in Britain and helped establish The Royal Academy of Dance as well as The Royal Ballet.

 12 
Pierina Legnani
(Ballerina)

Pierina Legnani
3
Birthdate: September 30, 1868
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Italy
Died: November 15, 1930

 13 
Agrippina Vaganova
(Ballet Teacher)

Agrippina Vaganova
2
Birthdate: June 26, 1879
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Saint Petersburg, Russia
Died: November 5, 1951

The person behind the development of the Vaganova method, Agrippina Vaganova was a significant name in the Russian ballet scene. She also penned Fundamentals of the Classical Dance, which is the most-followed text on ballet. At Mariinsky Ballet, she was known as the queen of variations.

 14 
Marie van Goethem
(Ballet Dancer)

Marie van Goethem
2
Birthdate: June 7, 1865
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Paris, France

Marie van Goethem was a French ballet dancer who worked with the Paris Opera Ballet. She is best remembered for posing as a model for Impressionist artist Edgar Degas's famous statue Little Dancer of Fourteen Years. Marie van Goethem's life and career have inspired several fictitious and non-fictitious novels and documentaries.

 15 
Carlotta Grisi
(Ballet dancer)

Carlotta Grisi
2
Birthdate: June 28, 1819
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Vižinada, Croatia
Died: May 20, 1899

 16 

Jean-Georges Noverre
4
Birthdate: April 29, 1727
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: October 19, 1810

Jean-Georges Noverre was a French balletmaster and dancer. It is widely believed that he created ballet d'action, a predecessor of the story ballet of the 19th century. Noverre's works continue to inspire and influence several ballet dancers around the world. Such was his contribution to ballet that Jean-Georges Noverre's birthday is celebrated as International Dance Day.

 17 
August Bournonville
(Ballet Master)

August Bournonville
2
Birthdate: August 21, 1805
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Copenhagen, Denmark
Died: November 30, 1879

 18 
Emma Livry
(Ballet Dancer)

Emma Livry
2
Birthdate: September 24, 1842
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: France
Died: July 26, 1863

Emma Livry was a French ballet dancer. A student of Marie Taglioni, Livry was one of the last ballet dancers of the Romantic ballet era. Emma Livry is best remembered for her untimely death at the age of 20; she died of burn injuries when her outfit caught fire while practicing for her upcoming performance.

 19 
Fanny Elssler
(Ballerina)

Fanny Elssler
2
Birthdate: June 23, 1810
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Gumpendorf, Vienna
Died: November 27, 1884

 20 

Olga Preobrajenska
2
Birthdate: February 2, 1871
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: St. Petersburg, Russia
Died: December 27, 1962

Olga Preobrajenska was a Russian ballet dancer who worked at the popular Imperial Russian Ballet. Although she was born with a crooked spine, Preobrajenska went on to pursue her dream of becoming a prima ballerina. Remembered for her turnout and toe point, Preobrajenska exhibited the desired grace of a dancer with ease. She also taught popular ballerinas like Irina Baronova.

 21 
Jules Perrot
(Dancer)

Jules Perrot
2
Birthdate: August 18, 1810
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Lyon, France
Died: August 29, 1892

Jules Perrot was a French dancer and choreographer who served as the ballet master of the prestigious Imperial Russian Ballet. Perrot is credited with creating some of the 19th century's most popular ballets, such as La Esmeralda, Pas de Quatre, Giselle, and Ondine. During his illustrious career, Jules Perrot coached famous ballerinas like Carlotta Grisi and Fanny Cerrito.

 22 

Albertina Rasch
2
Birthdate: January 19, 1891
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Died: October 2, 1967

 23 
Arthur Saint-Léon
(Ballet Master)

Arthur Saint-Léon
2
Birthdate: September 17, 1821
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: September 2, 1870

Arthur Saint-Léon was a ballet master who worked with the Imperial Russian Ballet from 1859 to 1869. He is remembered for choreographing a popular ballet named Coppélia. He is also remembered for inventing a method of choreographic notation, which was the first notation to document the movements of the torso, head, and arms apart from the movements of the feet.  

 24 

Charles Didelot
2
Birthdate: March 27, 1767
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Stockholm, Sweden
Died: November 7, 1837

Charles Didelot was a French dancer and choreographer. Didelot is credited with creating ballet shoes and popularizing Russian ballet around the world. After studying with prominent balletmasters like Jean Dauberval and Jean-Georges Noverre, Charles Didelot went on to teach ballet at the Imperial Theatres of Russian Empire. He is also credited with choreographing the famous Flore et Zéphire in 1796.

 25 
Fanny Cerrito
(Ballet Dancer)

Fanny Cerrito
1
Birthdate: May 11, 1817
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Naples, Italy
Died: May 6, 1909

 26 
Jackson Haines
(Ballet Dancer)

Jackson Haines
1
Birthdate: 1840 AD
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States
Died: 1875 AD

 27 

Filippo Taglioni
1
Birthdate: November 5, 1777
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Milan, Italy
Died: February 11, 1871

 28 
Adeline Genée
(British dancer)

Adeline Genée
1
Birthdate: January 6, 1878
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Aarhus, Denmark
Died: April 23, 1970

 29 
Jean Coralli
(Ballet dancer)

Jean Coralli
1
Birthdate: January 15, 1779
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: May 1, 1854

Best known for co-creating the romantic ballet Giselle with Jules Perrot, Jean Coralli was associated with La Scala in Milan and Porte-Saint-Martin Theater in Paris. The famed ballet dancer and choreographer, who was the son of a Théâtre Italien comedian, also excelled in works such as La Péri and La Tentation.

 30 
La Argentina
(Dancer)

La Argentina
1
Birthdate: September 4, 1890
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Died: July 18, 1936

 31 
Carlo Blasis
(Dancer)

Carlo Blasis
1
Birthdate: November 4, 1797
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Naples, Italy
Died: January 15, 1878

 32 

Alexander Alexeyevich Gorsky
1
Birthdate: August 6, 1871
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Saint Petersburg, Russia
Died: October 20, 1924

Alexander Alexeyevich Gorsky was a Russian ballet choreographer. A contemporary of Marius Petipa, Gorsky is best remembered for restaging the former's classical ballets like The Nutcracker, Don Quixote, and Swan Lake. Alexander Alexeyevich Gorsky is also remembered for valuing acting skills over dance technique which made him one of the most controversial ballet choreographers of his generation.

 33 
Lucile Grahn
(Ballerina)

Lucile Grahn
1
Birthdate: June 30, 1819
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Copenhagen, Denmark
Died: April 4, 1907

 34 

Marie-Madeleine Guimard
1
Birthdate: December 27, 1743
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: May 4, 1816

Marie-Madeleine Guimard is best remembered for her 30-year stint as the leading ballerina of the Paris Opéra. She began her dance career with Comédie-Française as a teenager. She was also a well-known courtesan who was kept by aristocrats and was herself a love child who was later legitimized.

 35 
Gaétan Vestris
(Ballet Dancer)

Gaétan Vestris
1
Birthdate: April 18, 1729
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Florence, Italy
Died: September 23, 1808

Gaétan Vestris was a French ballet dancer who served as a dancing master to the last King of France Louis XVI at the Paris Opéra. A composer of ballets, Gaétan Vestris was extremely popular and successful. He retired in favor of Jean Georges Noverre, who went on to become a great balletmaster.

 36 

Christian Johansson
1
Birthdate: May 20, 1817
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Stockholm, Sweden
Died: December 12, 1903

Christian Johansson was a ballet teacher and choreographer. He is best remembered for working at the Imperial Russian Ballet where he served as a ballet master. Johansson is widely regarded as one of the most prominent teachers in the history of Russian ballet. Christian Johansson is credited with influencing a generation of ballet dancers.

 37 

Yekaterina Geltzer
1
Birthdate: November 2, 1876
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Moscow, Russia
Died: December 12, 1962

Yekaterina Geltzer was a ballet dancer best remembered for her association with the Bolshoi Ballet where she was a prima ballerina. Geltzer helped safeguard the art of ballet in Russia after the 1917 Russian Revolution. In 1925, she became the first ballet dancer to be honored with the prestigious People's Artist of the RSFSR. 

 38 
Salvatore Viganò
(Choreographer)

Salvatore Viganò
1
Birthdate: March 25, 1769
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Naples, Italy
Died: August 10, 1821

 39 

Jean Dauberval
1
Birthdate: August 19, 1742
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Montpellier, France
Died: February 14, 1806

Jean Dauberval is remembered for his iconic ballet La fille mal gardée, one of the world’s first comic ballets. The Académie Royale de Musique ballet master has trained numerous ballet legends, such as Charles Didelot, who is also known as the father of the Russian ballet.

 40 

Vasily Tikhomirov
1
Birthdate: March 29, 1876
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Moscow, Russia
Died: June 20, 1956

A renowned Bolshoi Ballet dancer, Vasily Tikhomirov is best remembered for his performance in The Red Poppy with his wife Yekaterina Geltzer. His powerful and masculine moves added to the typical Bolshoi Ballet style of dance. He developed the Bolshoi school markedly after the 1917 Revolution.

 41 

Nicholas Sergeyev
1
Birthdate: September 27, 1876
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: St. Petersburg, Russia
Died: May 23, 1951

Nicholas Sergeyev was a Russian ballet choreographer, dancer, and teacher. He served as a theatre director of the Imperial Russian Ballet at the Maryinsky Theatre in St Petersburg. From 1919 onwards, he produced ballets for several leading western companies. Nicholas Sergeyev is credited with preserving the records of the Lev Ivanov and Marius Petipa choreographies of classical ballets.

 42 

Gasparo Angiolini
1
Birthdate: February 9, 1731
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Florence, Italy
Died: February 6, 1803

 43 

Felia Doubrovska
1
Birthdate: February 13, 1896
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: St. Petersburg, Russia
Died: September 18, 1981

Part of the Mariinsky Theatre, ballerina Felia Doubrovska later moved to the US, where her dancer husband accepted a teaching post and she joined the Metropolitan Opera of New York. Remembered for her performances in Les Noces and The Prodigal Son, she also later taught at the School of American Ballet.

 44 

Suzanne Douvillier
0
Birthdate: September 28, 1778
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Dole, France
Died: August 30, 1826

Popularly known as Madame Placide, Suzanne Douvillier is regarded by some as the first trained female choreographer to perform in the US. Not much is known about her childhood apart from the fact that she was an illegitimate child. She made history with her debut in The Bird Catcher.

 45 
Louis Duport
(Ballet dancer)

Louis Duport
0
Birthdate: January 1, 1786
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: October 19, 1853

A child prodigy, Louis Duport excelled in both dance and the violin since his early days. He not only developed the classical technique of ballet but also gained fame for his appearances in Charles Didelot’s ballets, such as Zéphyre et Flore. He was also a principal dancer at the Opéra de Paris.

 46 
Mary Ann Lee
(Ballerina)

Mary Ann Lee
0
Birthdate: January 1, 1786, 1824
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: January 25, 1899

 47 
Augusta Maywood
(Ballerina)

Augusta Maywood
0
Birthdate: 1825 AD
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States
Died: November 3, 1876

 48 
George Washington Smith
(Dancer)

George Washington Smith
0
Birthdate: 1820 AD
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: February 18, 1899