Famous 20th Century Ballet Dancers

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 Mikhail Baryshnikov

Mikhail Baryshnikov.
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Famous As: Ballet Dancer
Birthdate: January 27, 1948
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Riga

Latvian-born Russian-American dancer and choreographer Mikhail Baryshnikov was a prominent male classical dancer of the 1970s and 1980s. Born in Latvian SSR, he moved to America where he joined the New York City Ballet. Within years, he became one of the most widely recognized contemporary ballet dancers in the world. He is also a dramatic actor.

 2 Benjamin Millepied

Mikhail Baryshnikov.
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Famous As: Ballet Dancer, Choreographer
Birthdate: June 10, 1977
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Bordeaux
French dancer Benjamin Millepied was initially associated with the New York City Ballet. He launched the LA Dance Project and was the director of dance at the Paris Opera Ballet. He gained fame as the choreographer of the iconic movie Black Swan, and later married its lead actor, Natalie Portman.
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 3 Alexander Godunov

Mikhail Baryshnikov.
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Famous As: Ballet Dancer
Birthdate: November 28, 1949
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, Sakhalin
Died: May 18, 1995
Russian ballet dancer Alexander Godunov was part of the Bolshoi Ballet. He defected to the U.S. in 1979, causing significant U.S.-Soviet tension. He had also appeared in many films, such as Anna Karenina and Die Hard. His final days were marked by alcoholism, which also eventually caused his death.

 4 Margot Fonteyn

Mikhail Baryshnikov.
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Famous As: Ballerina, Choreographer
Birthdate: May 18, 1919
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Reigate, England
Died: February 21, 1991

 5 George Balanchine

Mikhail Baryshnikov.
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Famous As: Choreographer
Birthdate: January 22, 1904
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: St. Petersburg, Russia
Died: April 30, 1983
George Balanchine was a Georgian-American ballet choreographer. One of the most prominent choreographers of the 20th century, Balanchine won several prestigious awards like the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1983. Referred to as the father of American ballet, Balanchine is credited with co-founding the New York City Ballet. He was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame in 1988.

 6 Rudolf Nureyev

Mikhail Baryshnikov.
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Famous As: Ballet Dancer & Choreographer
Birthdate: March 17, 1938
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Irkutsk, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
Died: January 6, 1993

Born into a Tatar Muslim family, Rudolf Nureyev grew up to gain fans both for his exceptional ballet skills and for his sharp cheek bones. One of the greatest male ballet dancers ever, he gained fame performing with stars such as Margot Fonteynhe. A closeted homosexual, he died of AIDS.

 7 Galina Ulanova

Mikhail Baryshnikov.
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Famous As: Ballet Dancer, Choreographer
Birthdate: January 8, 1910
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Saint Petersburg
Died: March 21, 1998
Born to dancer parents, Soviet ballerina Galina Ulanova was destined to follow in their footsteps. The dancer who had performed with both Mariinsky and Bolshoi theaters remains the only two-time Hero of Socialist Labour winner. She amazed audiences in Giselle, Swan Lake, and Romeo and Juliet.
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 8 Maria Tallchief

Mikhail Baryshnikov
4
Famous As: Ballet dancer
Birthdate: January 24, 1925
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Fairfax
Died: April 11, 2013

Maria Tallchief was an American ballet dancer. Widely regarded as America's first major prima ballerina, Tallchief is credited with revolutionizing ballet. A close associate of George Balanchine, Tallchief went on to become the first star in New York City Ballet, the company co-founded by Balanchine. A National Medal of Arts recipient, Tallchief also received other prestigious awards during her career.

 9 Sergei Diaghilev

Mikhail Baryshnikov
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Famous As: Art Critic
Birthdate: March 31, 1872
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Chudovsky District, Russia
Died: August 19, 1929

 10 Maya Plisetskaya

Mikhail Baryshnikov
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Famous As: Ballet dancer, Dancer, Choreographer, Actor, Prima ballerina assoluta
Birthdate: November 20, 1925
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Moscow
Died: May 2, 2015

 11 Phyllis Smith

Mikhail Baryshnikov.
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: July 10, 1951
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: The Hill, St. Louis, Missouri

Phyllis Smith is an American actress best known for portraying Phyllis Vance in the popular mockumentary TV series, The Office, for which she received a couple of Screen Actors Guild Awards. Also known for her skills as a voice actress, Smith was honored with the prestigious Annie Award for voicing Sadness in the 2015 computer-animated comedy film, Inside Out.

 12 Darcey Bussell

Mikhail Baryshnikov.
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Famous As: Ballerina
Birthdate: April 27, 1969
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: London

 13 Gwen Verdon

Mikhail Baryshnikov.
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: January 13, 1925
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Culver City, California, United States
Died: October 18, 2000

Four-time Tony-winning actor Gwen Verdon is remembered for her SAG-nominated performance in Marvin’s Room. She was known for her signature red hair and her love for cats. She was nominated for Emmys for the series Magnum, P.I., Dream On, and Homicide: Life on the Street. She inspired the series Fosse/Verdon.

 14 Valerie Harper

Mikhail Baryshnikov.
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: August 22, 1939
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Suffern, New York
Valerie Harper is best remembered as Rhoda Morgenstern from The Mary Tyler Moore Show and its spin-off, Rhoda, with the role winning her four Emmys. She also hosted Nova and was seen as Valerie Hogan in the sitcom Valerie. She also earned a Tony nomination for the play Looped.

 15 Natalia Makarova

Mikhail Baryshnikov
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Famous As: Ballet dancer, Choreographer, Ballet master, Actor
Birthdate: November 21, 1940
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Saint Petersburg

 16 Rochelle Aytes

Mikhail Baryshnikov.
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: May 17, 1976
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Harlem, New York City, New York

Actress and model, Rochelle Aytes, gained international fame for her role in the  ABC drama series Mistresses. An alumnus of the State University of New York at Purchase College, she began her career soon after her graduation. After appearing in commercials for several popular brands, she made her acting debut. She has since acted in many films and TV shows.

 17 Sylvie Guillem

Mikhail Baryshnikov
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Famous As: Ballet dancer, Choreographer
Birthdate: February 25, 1965
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Paris

 18 Katherine LaNasa

Mikhail Baryshnikov.
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: December 1, 1966
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: New Orleans, Louisiana

Katherine LaNasa is an American actress known for her starring roles in films like The Campaign and Jayne Mansfield's Car. A former ballet dancer and choreographer, LaNasa started dancing at the age of 12. During the late-1980s, LaNasa assisted choreographer John Carrafa for the 1989 crime and dance drama film Rooftops.

 19 Victoria Rowell

Mikhail Baryshnikov
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: May 10, 1959
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Portland, Maine, USA

Victoria Rowell is an American actress, dancer, writer, and producer. She is best known for playing Drucilla Winters in the popular television soap opera The Young and the Restless for which she received three Daytime Emmy Award nominations and 11 NAACP Image Awards. Victoria Rowell is also credited with creating the web television comedy series The Rich and the Ruthless.

 20 Olga Khokhlova

Mikhail Baryshnikov.
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Famous As: First Wife of Picasso
Birthdate: June 17, 1891
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Nizhyn, Chernigov Governorate, Russian Empire.
Died: February 11, 1955

Olga Khokhlova was a Ukrainian ballet dancer. She also served as one of Pablo Picasso's early artistic muses before marrying him in 1918. Olga met Picasso at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris where the latter had designed the set and costumes for a ballet titled Parade, in which Olga performed. She left her ballet group after meeting Pablo Picasso.

 21 Twyla Tharp

Mikhail Baryshnikov.
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Famous As: Dancer and Choreographer
Birthdate: July 1, 1941
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Portland

Twyla Tharp is an American dancer, author, and choreographer. She is credited with founding Twyla Tharp Dance, which she formed in 1966. In 1976, Twyla Tharp choreographed Push Comes to Shove, which is now regarded as the finest example of crossover ballet. Twyla Tharp has received several prestigious awards, including two Emmy Awards and the National Medal of the Arts.

 22 Isabella Boylston

Mikhail Baryshnikov
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Famous As: Ballet dancer
Birthdate: October 13, 1986
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Sun Valley

Isabella Boylston is an American ballerina who is part of the ballet company, American Ballet Theatre, where she is the current principal dancer. In 2009, she received the Princess Grace Award for her contribution as a dancer. Boylston is also known for her philanthropic efforts; in 2020, she participated in a fundraiser to help fellow dancers amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

 23 Michel Fokine

Mikhail Baryshnikov
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Famous As: Choreographer
Birthdate: April 23, 1880
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Saint Petersburg, Russia
Died: August 22, 1942

 24 Robin Antin

Mikhail Baryshnikov
3
Famous As: Ballet dancer, Choreographer, Television presenter, Actor, Dancer
Birthdate: July 6, 1961
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Los Angeles

Robin Antin is an American dancer, actress, singer, entrepreneur, clothing designer, and choreographer. Antin is credited with founding the Pussycat Dolls, a modern burlesque troupe that went on to become famous. She is also credited with creating other popular girl groups like the Paradiso Girls, Girlicious, and G.R.L. As a choreographer, she has worked with well-known personalities like Paris Hilton.

 25 Frederick Ashton

Mikhail Baryshnikov
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Famous As: Choreographer
Birthdate: September 17, 1904
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Guayaquil, Ecuador
Died: October 18, 1988

 26 Sir Robert Helpmann

Mikhail Baryshnikov
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Famous As: Dancer
Birthdate: April 9, 1909
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Mount Gambier, Australia
Died: September 28, 1986

 27 Sascha Radetsky

Mikhail Baryshnikov
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Famous As: Choreographer, Actor
Birthdate: March 29, 1977
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Santa Cruz

Sascha Radetsky is an American former actor and ballet dancer. He served as a soloist in the American Ballet Theatre (ABT) and performed as a principal dancer in the Dutch National Ballet. In 2018, he was chosen as the artistic director of ABT's Studio Company. As an actor, Sascha Radetsky played prominent roles in films like Center Stage.

 28 Kenneth MacMillan

Mikhail Baryshnikov
3
Famous As: Ballet dancer
Birthdate: December 11, 1929
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Dunfermline, England
Died: October 29, 1992

 29 Pina Bausch

Mikhail Baryshnikov
3
Famous As: Dancer
Birthdate: July 27, 1940
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Solingen, Germany
Died: June 30, 2009

 30 Franceska Mann

Mikhail Baryshnikov
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Famous As: Dancer
Birthdate: February 4, 1917
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Warsaw, Poland
Died: October 23, 1943

 31 Pati Behrs

Mikhail Baryshnikov
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Famous As: Ballet dancer
Birthdate: February 13, 1922
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Turkey
Died: July 4, 2004

Pati Behrs was a Russian-American actress and prima ballerina. In addition to being a celebrity, Pati Behrs was also an animal rights advocate who worked closely with the California-based non-profit corporation, Actors and Others for Animals. She presented Actors and Others with her famous baby grand piano, which was later sold to help animals in need.

 32 Alicia Markova

Mikhail Baryshnikov
3
Famous As: Ballerina
Birthdate: December 1, 1910
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Finsbury Park, Harringay, England
Died: December 2, 2004

 33 Ethan Stiefel

Mikhail Baryshnikov
3
Famous As: Choreographer, Actor
Birthdate: February 13, 1973
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Tyrone

Ethan Stiefel is an American dancer, director, and choreographer. From 1997 to 2012, he served as the principal dancer at the famous American Ballet Theatre. From 2011 to 2014, he was associated with the Royal New Zealand Ballet where he was the artistic director. Currently, Ethan Stiefel is widely regarded as the world's greatest male ballet dancer.

 34 Lindsay Kemp

Mikhail Baryshnikov
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Famous As: Choreographer, Actor, Ballet dancer, Mime artist
Birthdate: May 3, 1938
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: South Shields

 35 Suzanne Farrell

Mikhail Baryshnikov
3
Famous As: Ballet dancer
Birthdate: August 16, 1945
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Cincinnati

 36 Agnes de Mille

Mikhail Baryshnikov.
3
Famous As: American dancer and choreographer
Birthdate: September 18, 1905
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: New York City
Died: October 7, 1993

 37 Olga Baclanova

Mikhail Baryshnikov
3
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: August 19, 1893
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Moscow, Russia
Died: September 6, 1974

 38 Michael Kidd

Mikhail Baryshnikov.
3
Famous As: Choreographer, Ballet Dancer
Birthdate: August 12, 1915
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: New York City
Died: December 23, 2007

 39 Wendy Whelan

Mikhail Baryshnikov
3
Famous As: Ballet dancer
Birthdate: May 7, 1967
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Louisville

 40 Anita Berber

Mikhail Baryshnikov
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Famous As: Dancer
Birthdate: June 10, 1899
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Leipzig, Germany
Died: November 10, 1928

 41 Lydia Lopokova

Mikhail Baryshnikov
3
Famous As: Ballet dancer
Birthdate: October 21, 1891
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Saint Petersburg, Russian
Died: June 8, 1981

 42 Robert Joffrey

Mikhail Baryshnikov.
2
Famous As: Co-founder of Joffrey Ballet
Birthdate: December 24, 1930
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Seattle
Died: March 25, 1988

 43 Du Juan

Mikhail Baryshnikov
3
Famous As: Actor, Ballet dancer, Model
Birthdate: September 15, 1982
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Shanghai

 44 Justin Peck

Mikhail Baryshnikov
3
Famous As: Choreographer
Birthdate: September 8, 1987
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Washington, D.C., United States

 45 Sir Anton Dolin

Mikhail Baryshnikov
2
Famous As: Ballet dancer
Birthdate: July 27, 1904
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Slinfold, West Sussex
Died: November 25, 1983

 46 Enrico Cecchetti

Mikhail Baryshnikov
2
Famous As: Ballet Dancer
Birthdate: June 21, 1850
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Rome, Italy
Died: November 13, 1928

 47 Christopher Wheeldon

Mikhail Baryshnikov
3
Famous As: Choreographer
Birthdate: March 22, 1973
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Yeovil, England

 48 Cleo de Merode

Mikhail Baryshnikov
3
Famous As: Ballet dancer
Birthdate: September 27, 1875
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: October 17, 1966

 49 Amalia Hern├índez

Mikhail Baryshnikov
3
Famous As: Choreographer
Birthdate: September 19, 1917
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Mexico City, Mexico
Died: November 5, 2000

 50 Leslie Browne

Mikhail Baryshnikov
3
Famous As: Actor, Ballet dancer
Birthdate: June 29, 1957
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: New York City