Famous 20th Century Choreographers

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

Vote for Your Favourite Choreographers

 1 Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson
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Famous As: King of Pop
Birthdate: August 29, 1958
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Gary, Indiana, United States
Died: June 25, 2009

The King of Pop and an international superstar, Michael Jackson was a musical entertainer whose work – both with Jackson 5 and solo – won accolades and hearts worldwide. Equally popular were his unique dance moves that created sensation and shaped future dance styles. Amongst the most successful entertainers of all time, Jackson was later accused of child molestation.  

 2 Fred Astaire

Fred Astaire
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: May 10, 1899
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Omaha, Nebraska, United States
Died: June 22, 1987

Fred Astaire was an American actor, television presenter, dancer, choreographer, and singer. Widely regarded as the most influential dancer in film history, Astaire was known for his innovation, perfectionism, and an uncanny sense of rhythm. Also known for his fashion sense, Fred Astaire remained a male fashion icon throughout his career, which spanned more than seven decades.

 3 Bob Fosse

Bob Fosse
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Famous As: Dancer
Birthdate: June 23, 1927
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Died: September 23, 1987
Legendary dancer, choreographer, and director Bob Fosse is best remembered for his Academy Award-winning direction in the musical film Cabaret. Renowned for his signature “jazz hands” style, he also earned the Palme D'Or for All That Jazz and nine Tony Awards for various stage productions, eight of them for choreography. 
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 4 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.

 5 Gregory Hines

Gregory Hines
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Famous As: Dancer and Actor
Birthdate: February 14, 1946
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States
Died: August 9, 2003
Gregory Hines is remembered as one of the greatest tap dancers in the world. His performance in the Broadway play Jelly's Last Jam won him a Tony and a Drama Desk award. He also won an Emmy for his voice role in Little Bill and hosted his own show.

 6 Eugene Curran Kelly

Eugene Curran Kelly
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Famous As: American dancer
Birthdate: August 23, 1912
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: February 2, 1996

Actor, dancer, singer, and filmmaker, Gene Kelly, was one of the most popular Hollywood figures in the 1940s and 1950s. Among his other achievements, he is credited to have popularized the genre of musical films in Hollywood. As a filmmaker, he often experimented with camera techniques and special effects. He received an Academy Honorary Award in 1952.

 7 Jennifer Lopez

Jennifer Lopez
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Famous As: Singer, Actress, Dancer
Birthdate: July 24, 1969
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States

Jennifer Lopez established herself as the highest-paid Latin actress in Hollywood after starring in films such as Out of Sight, The Wedding Planner, Maid in Manhattan and Shall We Dance’. She is also an accomplished dancer and commercially very successful singer. She helped propel the Latin pop movement in American music. She is also a fashion designer and a businesswoman.

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 8 Paula Abdul

Paula Abdul
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Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: June 19, 1962
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: San Fernando, California, United States

Starting her career as a cheerleader, Paula Abdul went on to choreograph music videos for Janet Jackson. She then tried her hand at singing-songwriting and released a highly successful debut studio album. Also an award-winning actress, Paula was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. She has also appeared in TV shows like American Idol.

 9 Julianne Hough

Julianne Hough
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Famous As: Dancer
Birthdate: July 20, 1988
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Orem, Utah, United States
Julianne Hough shot to fame with Dancing with the Stars, in 2007, and eventually won two seasons and returned as a judge. Fans also remember her as Sandy from Grease Live! She aced the U.S. Country charts with her debut album and was also a judge on America's Got Talent.

 10 Rosie Perez

Rosie Perez
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Famous As: Film Actress & Show Host
Birthdate: September 6, 1964
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Bushwick, New York City, New York, United States
Rosa Perez is best known for her Academy Award-nominated role of Carla Rodrigo in Fearless and her Emmy-nominated choreography in the series In Living Color. She has also appeared in Broadway plays such as The Ritz and has co-hosted The View. She is also associated with major HIV/AIDS awareness campaigns.

 11 Debbie Allen

Debbie Allen
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: January 16, 1950
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Houston, Texas, United States

Debbie Allen is an actress, dancer, choreographer, and singer-songwriter.  She appeared in the musical-drama TV series Fame and also worked as the series’ principal choreographer. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including three Emmy Awards. She runs the Debbie Allen Dance Academy in Los Angeles and is a former member of the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities. 

 12 Rob Marshall

Rob Marshall
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Famous As: Director
Birthdate: October 17, 1960
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Madison, Wisconsin, USA

 13 Pawan Kalyan

Pawan Kalyan
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Famous As: Film director, Actor, Choreographer, Screenwriter
Birthdate: September 2, 1971
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Bapatla

Pawan Kalyan is an Indian actor, screenwriter, director, stunt coordinator, politician, and philanthropist. Best known for his work in the Telugu film industry, Pawan Kalyan is one of the most popular actors of his generation. He is also known for his humanitarian work; he is credited with establishing a charitable organization called Common Man Protection Force.

 14 Margot Fonteyn

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

 15 Carrie Ann Inaba

Carrie Ann Inaba
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Famous As: Actor, Singer, Choreographer, Dancer, Television actor
Birthdate: January 5, 1968
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Honolulu

 16 Prabhu Deva

Prabhu Deva
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Famous As: Film director, Actor, Choreographer, Dancer
Birthdate: April 3, 1973
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Mysore

 17 Darcey Bussell

Darcey Bussell
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Famous As: Ballerina
Birthdate: April 27, 1969
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: London

 18 Ashley Roberts

Ashley Roberts
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Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: September 14, 1981
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Phoenix, Arizona, USA

 19 Vaslav Nijinsky

Vaslav Nijinsky
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Famous As: Ballet dancer
Birthdate: March 12, 1889
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Kyiv, Ukraine
Died: April 8, 1950

Vaslav Nijinsky was a ballet dancer and choreographer. He is counted among the greatest male dancers of the early 20th century. He was known for the intensity of his characterizations. He was brilliant and could dance en pointe, a rare skill few male dancers of his era possessed. He suffered from mental health issues in his later life. 

 20 George Balanchine

George Balanchine
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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.

 21 Alyssa Edwards

Alyssa Edwards
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Famous As: Drag Performer
Birthdate: January 16, 1980
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Mesquite, Texas

Alyssa Edwards is an American choreographer, drag performer, and businessperson. She gained international prominence after participating in the reality competition TV series RuPaul's Drag Race in 2013. In June 2019, she was ranked fifth in New York magazine's most powerful drag queens in America list. Alyssa Edwards’ life and career inspired the 2018 docuseries Dancing Queen which premiered on Netflix.

 22 Jerome Robbins

Jerome Robbins
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Famous As: Dance Choreographer
Birthdate: October 11, 1918
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Manhattan
Died: July 29, 1998

 23 Twyla Tharp

Twyla Tharp
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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.

 24 Bruno Tonioli

Bruno Tonioli
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Famous As: Choreographer
Birthdate: November 25, 1955
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Ferrara, Italy
Italian choreographer Bruno Tonioli gained fame as a Latin and ball dancer. He was a judge on the dance reality shows Strictly Come Dancing and Dancing with the Stars and also appeared on DanceX and Dance War. He is gay and has often spoken of the homophobia he has faced.

 25 Savion Glover

Savion Glover
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Famous As: Actor, Choreographer, Television actor, Stage actor
Birthdate: November 19, 1973
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Newark

 26 Q'orianka Kilcher

Q'orianka Kilcher
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: February 11, 1990
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Schweigmatt, Baden-Württemberg, Germany

Q'orianka Kilcher is an American actress, activist, and singer. She is best known for playing important characters in films like The New World and Princess Kaiulani. As an activist, Kilcher has been visiting universities and colleges and delivering speeches at organizations like Amnesty International. 

 27 Katherine LaNasa

Katherine LaNasa
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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.

 28 Rudolf Nureyev

Rudolf Nureyev
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Famous As: Ballet Dancer & Choreographer
Birthdate: March 17, 1938
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Irkutsk, Russia
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.

 29 Gates McFadden

Gates McFadden
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: March 2, 1949
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, United States

 30 Khandi Alexander

Khandi Alexander
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Famous As: Dancer, Actress
Birthdate: September 4, 1957
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: New York City, New York

 31 Peta Murgatroyd

Peta Murgatroyd
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Famous As: Dancer
Birthdate: July 14, 1986
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Auckland, New Zealand

 32 Merce Cunningham

Merce Cunningham
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Famous As: Dancer and Choreographer
Birthdate: April 16, 1919
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Centralia, Washington
Died: July 26, 2009
American dancer and choreographer Merce Cunningham was at the forefront of American modern dance for more than 50 years.  Cunningham was honoured with Japan's Praemium Imperiale and a British Laurence Olivier Award. He was also named Officier of the Légion d'honneur in France. A documentary titled Cunningham was made on his life in 2019.

 33 Katherine Dunham

Katherine Dunham
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Famous As: Dancer, Choreographer, Social Activist, Author
Birthdate: June 22, 1909
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Glen Ellyn
Died: May 21, 2006

Dancer, choreographer, and social activist Katherine Dunham was also a qualified anthropologist. She experimented with various ritual dances, and her innovations included a ballet performance based on Caribbean dance. She also pioneered the Dunham Technique of dance pedagogy and used the pen-name Kaye Dunn to write several works.

 34 Ann Reinking

Ann Reinking
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Famous As: Actor, Choreographer, Dancer, Stage actor
Birthdate: November 10, 1949
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Seattle

 35 Adam Rippon

Adam Rippon
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Famous As: Figure skater
Birthdate: November 11, 1989
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Scranton, Pennsylvania, United States

 36 Kenny Ortega

Kenny Ortega
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Famous As: Film Producer, Director, Choreographer
Birthdate: April 18, 1950
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Palo Alto, California
Emmy-winning choreographer Kenny Ortega is best known for directing and choreographing the High School Musical TV film series and the Descendants trilogy, both for Disney Channel. Ortega has also directed shows for popular artists such as Michael Jackson, Gloria Estefan, and Cher. He is also openly gay. 

 37 Kimberly Wyatt

Kimberly Wyatt
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Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: February 4, 1982
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Warrensburg, Missouri, United States

 38 Mark Ballas

Mark Ballas
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Famous As: Singer, Dancer, Choreographer, Stage actor, Guitarist
Birthdate: May 24, 1986
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Houston

 39 Briana Evigan

Briana Evigan
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: October 23, 1986
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, USA

 40 Craig Revel Horwood

Craig Revel Horwood
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Famous As: Reality TV Personalities
Birthdate: January 4, 1965
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Ballarat, Australia

 41 Michael Flatley

Michael Flatley
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Famous As: Dancer & Musician
Birthdate: July 16, 1958
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States

 42 Arshad Warsi

Arshad Warsi
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: April 19, 1968
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Bombay, Maharashtra, India

Orphaned at 14, Arshad Warsi quit school after the 10th standard and took to selling cosmetics at 17. His interest in dance made him join Akbar Sami's dance group. He later launched his own dance studio. He eventually soared to fame as Circuit in Munna Bhai M.B.B.S. and also won a Filmfare.

 43 Janette Manrara

Janette Manrara
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Famous As: Dancer
Birthdate: November 16, 1983
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Miami, Florida, United States
Miami-based Cuban dancer Janette Manrara is best known for her stint on the reality show Strictly Come Dancing. Fans have also loved her in Glee, Burn the Floor, and So You Think You Can Dance. She is married to her Strictly Come Dancing co-star Slovenian dancer Aljaž Škorjanec.

 44 Iko Uwais

Iko Uwais
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: February 12, 1983
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Jakarta, Indonesia

 45 Françoise Gilot

Françoise Gilot
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Famous As: Painter, Choreographer, Model
Birthdate: November 26, 1921
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Neuilly-sur-Seine

Françoise Gilot is a French painter whose professional career was overshadowed by her long and turbulent relationship with Spanish painter Pablo Picasso. After breaking up with Picasso, with whom Gilot had two children, the former deterred galleries from buying her work. He even tried blocking the release of her memoir Life With Picasso which was released in 1964.

 46 Sergei Diaghilev

Sergei Diaghilev
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Famous As: Art Critic
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.

 47 Columbus Short

Columbus Short
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Famous As: Choreographer
Birthdate: September 19, 1982
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Kansas City, Missouri, USA

 48 Raghav Juyal

Raghav Juyal
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: July 10, 1991
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: India

Raghav Juyal is an Indian dancer, actor, and television presenter. He is best known for reinventing and popularizing the Slow Motion Walk dance move in India. He is nicknamed King of Slow Motion for his unusual dance moves that look like a slow-motion video clip. He has appeared in many Indian dance films like ABCD 2 and Street Dancer 3D.

 49 Ashley Banjo

Ashley Banjo
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Famous As: Choreographer
Birthdate: October 4, 1988
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Leytonstone

 50 Raoul Trujillo

Raoul Trujillo
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Famous As: Choreographer
Birthdate: May 8, 1955
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Santa Fe, New Mexico, United States