Famous 19th Century Dancers

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Vote for Your Favourite 19th Century Dancers

 1 
Isadora Duncan
(Dancer & Choreographer)

Isadora Duncan
6
Birthdate: May 26, 1877
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: San Francisco, California, United States
Died: September 14, 1927

Isadora Duncan was a dancer acclaimed in USA, Europe, and the Soviet Union. Raised by a single mother, she grew up in poverty and started teaching dance to children to earn some money. She later joined Augustin Daly's theater company. Eventually, she opened her own dance schools to teach her unique philosophy and techniques to her students. 

 2 
Anna Pavlova
(Ballet dancer)

Anna Pavlova
3
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.

 3 
Mata Hari
(Exotic dancer & Spy)

Mata Hari
4
Birthdate: August 7, 1876
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Leeuwarden, Netherlands
Died: October 15, 1917
Mata Hari was a Dutch courtesan and exotic dancer, charged with spying for Germany during World War I. She was executed by a firing squad in France, and her head was preserved in a museum, but later went missing. The “femme fatale” has been immortalized in many films and books.
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 4 
Jack Haley
(Vaudevillian)

Jack Haley
3
Birthdate: August 10, 1897
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Died: June 6, 1979
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 5 
Loie Fuller
(Actor, Lighting designer, Choreographer, Artist, Dancer, Stage actor, Model)

Loie Fuller
3
Birthdate: January 15, 1862
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Illinois
Died: January 1, 1928

 6 
Sergei Diaghilev
(Art Critic)

Sergei Diaghilev
3
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.

 7 
Marius Petipa
(Ballet dancer)

Marius Petipa
2
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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 8 
George M. Cohan
(American playwright)

George M. Cohan
3
Birthdate: July 3, 1878
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.
Died: November 5, 1942

 9 
Adele Astaire
(Actor, Dancer, Stage actor)

Adele Astaire
3
Birthdate: September 10, 1896
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Omaha
Died: January 25, 1981

 10 
Marie Taglioni
(Ballet Dancer)

Marie Taglioni
2
Birthdate: April 23, 1804
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Stockholm, Sweden
Died: April 22, 1884

 11 
Michel Fokine
(Choreographer)

Michel Fokine
2
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.

 12 
Lola Montez
(Stage dancer)

Lola Montez
3
Birthdate: February 17, 1821
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Grange, Ireland
Died: January 17, 1861

 13 
Busby Berkeley
(Film director)

Busby Berkeley
3
Birthdate: November 29, 1895
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States
Died: March 14, 1976

 14 
Enrico Cecchetti
(Ballet Dancer)

Enrico Cecchetti
1
Birthdate: June 21, 1850
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Rome, Italy
Died: November 13, 1928

 15 
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. 

 16 
Irene Castle
(Dancer)

Irene Castle
2
Birthdate: April 17, 1893
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: New Rochelle, New York ,United States
Died: January 25, 1969

 17 

Marilyn Miller
2
Birthdate: September 1, 1898
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Evansville, Indiana, United States
Died: April 7, 1936

 18 

Gertrude Lawrence
3
Birthdate: July 4, 1898
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Newington, London, United Kingdom
Died: September 6, 1952

Gertrude Lawrence was an English actress, singer, and dancer. She also performed musical comedy in the West End of London and on Broadway in New York. She was introduced to the entertainment world as a child and grew up to become a famous multi-faceted performer. She won several awards. In her later years, she taught acting. 

 19 
La Goulue
(Dancer)

La Goulue
2
Birthdate: July 12, 1866
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Clichy, Hauts-de-Seine, France
Died: January 29, 1929

La Goulue was a French can-can dancer who became a favorite subject for painter Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec at the peak of her popularity. Dubbed the Queen of Montmartre, Goulue is remembered for performing at the Moulin Rouge near Montmartre where she was a star. After parting ways with Moulin Rouge, she lost a considerable amount of money and died poor.

 20 
Jane Avril
(Dancer)

Jane Avril
2
Birthdate: June 9, 1868
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: January 31, 1943

Jane Avril was a French dancer who specialized in can-can, a popular music-hall dance of the 1840s. Avril was made famous by popular French painter Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec who often depicted Jane Avril in his paintings. In the 1952 British drama film Moulin Rouge, Jane Avril was played by Hungarian-American actress Zsa Zsa Gabor.

 21 

Ruth St. Denis
2
Birthdate: January 20, 1879
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Newark, New Jersey, U.S.
Died: July 21, 1968

 22 
Anita Berber
(Dancer)

Anita Berber
2
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.

 23 
Doris Humphrey
(Dancer and Choreographer)

Doris Humphrey
2
Birthdate: October 17, 1895
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Chicago
Died: December 29, 1958

One of the pioneers of American modern dance, Doris Humphrey had begun her career with the Denishawn dance school. The daughter of a pianist mother, she later launched her own dance school with her mother as the manager. She also excelled in American vaudeville and promoted the dance movement theory.

 24 
Cleo de Merode
(Ballet dancer)

Cleo de Merode
2
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.

 25 

Liane de Pougy
2
Birthdate: July 2, 1869
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: La Flèche, France
Died: December 26, 1950

Liane de Pougy was a French dancer and vedette who performed at the Folies Bergère in Paris. Remembered for her captivating looks, de Pougy was widely regarded as one of Paris's most notorious courtesans. She also served as the subject for many artists like Paul César Helleu and Jean Baptiste Guth.

 26 
Rudolf von Laban
(Dance Artist)

Rudolf von Laban
2
Birthdate: December 15, 1879
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Pozsony, Kingdom of Hungary, Austro-Hungarian Empire
Died: July 1, 1958

 27 
Ted Shawn
(Dancer)

Ted Shawn
2
Birthdate: October 21, 1891
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Kansas City, Missouri, United States
Died: January 9, 1972

 28 

La Belle Otero
2
Birthdate: November 4, 1868
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Valga, Spain
Died: April 10, 1965

 29 
Gauhar Jaan
(She was one of the first performers to record music on 78 rpm records in India)

Gauhar Jaan
0
Birthdate: June 26, 1873
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Azamgarh, India
Died: January 17, 1930

 30 

Florence Mills
2
Birthdate: January 25, 1896
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Washington, D.C., United States
Died: November 1, 1927

 31 
Bronislava Nijinska
(Ballet Dancer)

Bronislava Nijinska
2
Birthdate: January 8, 1891
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Minsk, Belarus
Died: February 21, 1972

 32 
Hetty Kelly
(Dancer)

Hetty Kelly
2
Birthdate: January 8, 1891, 1893
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Bristol, England
Died: September 30, 1918

 33 

Eddie Foy Sr.
2
Birthdate: March 9, 1856
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States
Died: February 16, 1928

 34 
Tamara Karsavina
(Prima Ballerina)

Tamara Karsavina
2
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.

 35 
Maud Allan
(Pianist)

Maud Allan
5
Birthdate: August 27, 1873
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Toronto, Canada
Died: October 7, 1956

Maud Allan was a Canadian dancer who became known for her Dance of the Seven Veils. She studied piano at the Hochschule für Musik and became a piano teacher. She later abandoned the piano in favor of dance. She was very creative as a dancer and even designed her own costumes. She became a dance teacher in her later years.  

 36 
Pierina Legnani
(Ballerina)

Pierina Legnani
2
Birthdate: September 30, 1868
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Italy
Died: November 15, 1930

 37 
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.

 38 
Carlotta Grisi
(Ballet dancer)

Carlotta Grisi
1
Birthdate: June 28, 1819
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Vižinada, Croatia
Died: May 20, 1899

 39 
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.

 40 

Jean-Georges Noverre
2
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.

 41 
August Bournonville
(Ballet Master)

August Bournonville
1
Birthdate: August 21, 1805
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Copenhagen, Denmark
Died: November 30, 1879

 42 
Lev Ivanov
(Dancer)

Lev Ivanov
1
Birthdate: March 2, 1834
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Moscow, Russia
Died: December 24, 1901

Lev Ivanov was a Russian choreographer and ballet dancer. Ivanov worked at the Imperial Russian Ballet where he served as the Second Balletmaster. He is best remembered for choreographing Acts II and IV of Swan Lake, including the famous Dance of the Little Swans. Lev Ivanov is also credited with choreographing The Nutcracker and Act II of Cinderella.

 43 
Emma Livry
(Ballet Dancer)

Emma Livry
1
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.

 44 
Hanya Holm
(Choreographer)

Hanya Holm
1
Birthdate: March 3, 1893
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Worms, Germany
Died: November 3, 1992

Hanya Holm was a dancer, choreographer, and dance educator. One of the founders of American modern dance, Holm taught at prestigious institutions like the Juilliard School. In 1976, she was honored with the Heritage Award by the National Dance Association. In 1988, Hanya Holm was made an inductee of The National Museum of Dance and Hall of Fame.

 45 

Edward Harrigan
1
Birthdate: October 26, 1844
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States
Died: June 6, 1911

 46 
Fanny Elssler
(Ballerina)

Fanny Elssler
1
Birthdate: June 23, 1810
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Gumpendorf, Vienna
Died: November 27, 1884

 47 

Olga Preobrajenska
1
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.

 48 
Jules Perrot
(Dancer)

Jules Perrot
1
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.

 49 
Valeska Gert
(Dancer)

Valeska Gert
1
Birthdate: January 11, 1892
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Berlin, Germany
Died: March 16, 1978

Valeska Gert was a German dancer, cabaret artist, pantomime, and actress. A pioneering performance artist, Gert is credited with establising the foundation for the punk movement. In 2004, Valeska Gert received a star on the Walk of Fame of Cabaret.

 50 

Albertina Rasch
1
Birthdate: January 19, 1891
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Died: October 2, 1967