Famous 20th Century 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 Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson
17
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 Shakira

Shakira
4
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: February 2, 1977
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Barranquilla, Colombia

Grammy award winning Colombian pop singer, Shakira is best known for hits like Whenever, Wherever and Hips Don't Lie. One of the most successful Latin American recording artists, she is also one of the world's best-selling music artists. Her first hit album was Pies Descalzos after which she entered the English music market with her big hit album, Laundry Service.

 3 Patrick Swayze

Patrick Swayze
4
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: August 18, 1952
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Houston, Texas, United States
Died: September 14, 2009

Patrick Swayze, the American actor, dancer, singer and songwriter, was very popular during the 1980s. His movie the ‘Dirty Dancing’ catapulted him to stardom. Ghost was another of his hit films. Swayze died in September, 2009, at the age of 57 due to pancreatic cancer. His final role was that of a FBI Agent in the television series ‘The Beast’.

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 4 Justin Randall Timberlake

Justin Randall Timberlake
5
Famous As: American singer-songwriter
Birthdate: January 31, 1981
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Memphis, Tennessee, United States

Justin Randall Timberlake is an American actor, singer-songwriter, and record producer. Regarded as a pop icon, Timberlake has sold more than 56 million singles worldwide, which makes him one of the best-selling music artists. In 2007 and 2013, he was named in Time magazine's 100 most influential people in the world list. Timberlake is also known for his philanthropic activities.

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 5 Channing Tatum

Channing Tatum
5
Famous As: Actor, Dancer, Producer
Birthdate: April 26, 1980
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Cullman, Alabama, United States

Actor, producer, and dancer Channing Tatum has been active in the entertainment industry for around two decades. He is best known for his leading role in the film Magic Mike. After dropping out of college as a young man, he started working as a dancer. Hollywood soon came calling and he proceeded to become a film star.

 6 Christopher Maurice Brown

Christopher Maurice Brown
4
Famous As: American singer-songwriter
Birthdate: May 5, 1989
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Tappahannock, Virginia, United States

 7 James Brown

James Brown
5
Famous As: Musician, recording artist, producer, dancer, bandleader
Birthdate: May 3, 1933
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Barnwell, South Carolina, United States
Died: December 25, 2006

Referred to by honorific nicknames, such as Godfather of Soul, James Brown was a prominent figure of 20th century music. A progenitor of funk music, Brown influenced the development of many music genres. An inductee of the Rhythm & Blues Music Hall of Fame, Brown is ranked seventh in Rolling Stone magazine's 100 Greatest Artists of All Time list.

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 8 Fred Astaire

Fred Astaire
9
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.

 9 Derek Hough

Derek Hough
9
Famous As: Professional Dancer
Birthdate: May 17, 1985
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Salt Lake City, Utah, United States

Derek Hough is an American Latin and ballroom dancer and choreographer. After winning the dance competition TV series, Dancing with the Stars, for a record six times, Hough used his popularity to launch his acting and singing career. Also a writer, his book Taking the Lead was featured in The New York Times Best Seller list.

 10 Donny Osmond

Donny Osmond
4
Famous As: Actor, Singer, Dancer
Birthdate: December 9, 1957
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Ogden, Utah, United States

 11 Ginger Rogers

Ginger Rogers
4
Famous As: Actress, Dancer
Birthdate: July 16, 1911
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Independence, Missouri, United States
Died: April 25, 1995

Ginger Rogers was an American actress, singer, and dancer. Often regarded as an American icon, Rogers played an important role in popularizing the Golden Age of Hollywood. After winning the Academy Award for portraying the title character in Kitty Foyle, Rogers became one of the highest-paid actresses during the 1940s. Her life inspired a musical titled Backwards in High Heels.

 12 Bob Fosse

Bob Fosse
6
Famous As: Dancer
Birthdate: June 23, 1927
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States
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. 

 13 Sammy Davis Jr.

Sammy Davis Jr.
9
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: December 8, 1925
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States
Died: May 16, 1990

Nicknamed “Mister Show Business,” posthumous Grammy-winner Samuel Davis Jr. was a multifaceted performer who excelled in dancing, singing, and acting. From delivering vaudeville performances as a child, Samuel graduated to creating Billboard charters and performing with Frank Sinatra as part of the Rat Pack. Sadly, he died in debt.

 14 Mikhail Baryshnikov

Mikhail Baryshnikov
9
Famous As: Choreographer, Dance
Birthdate: January 27, 1948
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Riga, Latvia

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.

 15 Lance Bass

Lance Bass
4
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: May 4, 1979
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Laurel, Mississippi, United States
Lance Bass is best known as a member of the 1990s’ boy band NSYNC. He owns a production company and had once formed a music management firm. He came out as gay on People magazine, was awarded the Human Rights Campaign Visibility Award, and has authored a bestselling memoir.  

 16 Eugene Curran Kelly

Eugene Curran Kelly
4
Famous As: Actor, 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.

 17 Gregory Hines

Gregory Hines
4
Famous As: Dancer, Choreographer and Actor
Birthdate: February 14, 1946
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: New York, 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.

 18 Isadora Duncan

Isadora Duncan
5
Famous As: Dancer & Choreographer
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. 

 19 Jennifer Lopez

Jennifer Lopez
26
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.

 20 Judy Garland

Judy Garland
4
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: June 10, 1922
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Grand Rapids, Minnesota, United States
Died: June 22, 1969
American actress and singer, Judy Garland, was one of the most iconic artists of Hollywood's Golden Era. In a career that spanned forty five years, her exceptional talent shone brightly, especially in movies like The Wizard of Oz and A Star Is Born. The personal life of the superstar though, was full of struggles including drugs, alcohols and unsuccessful marriages.

 21 Pink

Pink
4
Famous As: Singer-Songwriter
Birthdate: September 8, 1979
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Doylestown, Pennsylvania, United States

Pink is an American singer-songwriter known for her acrobatic stage presence and raspy voice. Having sold more than 90 million records worldwide, Pink is one of the best-selling musicians in the world. A recipient of several prestigious awards, Pink was named in VH1's 100 Greatest Women in Music list. Her work has inspired many other artists like Taylor Swift.

 22 Rudolf Nureyev

Rudolf Nureyev
4
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.

 23 Rita Hayworth

Rita Hayworth
4
Famous As: Actress, Dancer
Birthdate: October 17, 1918
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States
Died: May 14, 1987

One of the most glamorous Hollywood actresses of the 1940s, Rita Hayworth was also a brilliant dancer. Her filmography includes 61 films among which the most notable ones are The Strawberry BlondeGilda and Cover Girl. The personal life of the actress, who was also known as the Love Goddess, though was marked by a series of failed marriages.

 24 Grant Gustin

Grant Gustin
4
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: January 14, 1990
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Norfolk, Virginia, United States
Grant Gustin is best known as Barry Allen/The Flash from the series The Flash and the entire Arrowverse TV franchise. Fans have also loved him as Sebastian Smythe in the series Glee. He also portrayed Baby John in the Broadway revival of the musical West Side Story.

 25 Bruno Tonioli

Bruno Tonioli
4
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.

 26 Paula Abdul

Paula Abdul
19
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.

 27 Bindi Irwin

Bindi Irwin
14
Famous As: Television Personality
Birthdate: July 24, 1998
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Buderim, Australia

Daughter of legendary Australian wildlife expert The Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin, Bindi Irwin has followed in her father’s footsteps and is now a renowned conservationist and TV personality. Her stint on Bindi the Jungle Girl made her the youngest Daytime Emmy winner. She is also associated with the Australia Zoo.

 28 JC Chasez

JC Chasez
4
Famous As: Singer, Actor, Singer-songwriter, Composer, Record producer
Birthdate: August 8, 1976
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Washington, D.C.

 29 Randy Jackson

Randy Jackson
4
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: October 31, 1961
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Gary, Indiana, United States

 30 Matthew Morrison

Matthew Morrison
11
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: October 30, 1978
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Fort Ord, California Fort Ord, California, United States

 31 Joel Grey

Joel Grey
4
Famous As: Actor, Singer, Dancer
Birthdate: April 11, 1932
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Cleveland, Ohio, United States

Joel Grey is an American actor, dancer, singer, photographer, and director. He is best known for his portrayal of the Master of Ceremonies in the popular musical Cabaret, for which he won the 1967 Tony Award. He then reprised his role in the 1972 film adaptation, winning an Academy Award and a British Academy Film Award for his performance.

 32 Alexander Godunov

Alexander Godunov
3
Famous As: Ballet Dancer
Birthdate: November 28, 1949
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Sakhalin, Russia
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.

 33 Mata Hari

Mata Hari
4
Famous As: Exotic dancer & Spy
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.

 34 Rob McElhenney

Rob McElhenney
6
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: April 14, 1977
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

 35 Liza Minnelli

Liza Minnelli
4
Famous As: Actress, Singer
Birthdate: March 12, 1946
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States

The daughter of popular actress and singer Judy Garland, Liza Minnelli followed in her mother's footsteps to become an award-winning actress and singer. Known for her powerful contralto singing voice and energetic stage presence, Liza Minnelli is the recipient of an Academy Award and Tony Award. Also a known philanthropist, Minnelli spends much of her time with various nonprofit organizations.

 36 Kelly Ripa

Kelly Ripa
5
Famous As: Actress, Dancer
Birthdate: October 2, 1970
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Stratford, New Jersey, United States

 37 Barbara Stanwyck

Barbara Stanwyck
4
Famous As: Actress known for her strong, realistic screen presence and versatility.
Birthdate: July 16, 1907
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States
Died: January 20, 1990

Barbara Stanwyck went on to become one of the greatest actresses of Classical Hollywood cinema after being orphaned at age four. One of the favorite actresses of directors like Cecil B. DeMille, Barbara had become the highest-paid actress in America by 1944. Known for her realistic screen presence, Barbara won several prestigious honorary lifetime awards for her contribution to cinema.

 38 Alesha Dixon

Alesha Dixon
7
Famous As: Singer, Model, Dancer
Birthdate: October 7, 1978
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: London

Alesha Dixon is an English singer-songwriter, rapper, and TV personality. She initially wanted to become a teacher, but destiny had other plans for her, and she ended up entering the music world. She rose to fame as a singer in the 2000s as a member of the girl group Mis-Teeq. She later pursued a successful solo career as well. 

 39 Mark Ballas

Mark Ballas
3
Famous As: Singer, Dancer, Choreographer, Stage actor, Guitarist
Birthdate: May 24, 1986
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Houston

 40 Dita Von Teese

Dita Von Teese
4
Famous As: Dancer, Actress
Birthdate: September 28, 1972
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Rochester, Michigan, United States

 41 Rosie Perez

Rosie Perez
4
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.

 42 Yvonne De Carlo

Yvonne De Carlo
4
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: September 1, 1922
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Vancouver, Canada
Died: January 8, 2007

Canadian-American actress, dancer, and singer, Yvonne De Carlo, was an internationally known Hollywood film star in the 1940s and 1950s. Born to an ambitious mother, she was groomed for a career in the show business from her childhood. She began her career as a dancer and eventually started acting. She had an extensive career spanning over five decades.

 43 André 3000

André 3000
6
Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: May 27, 1975
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Atlanta, Georgia, United States

 44 Julianne Hough

Julianne Hough
15
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.

 45 Teri Garr

Teri Garr
4
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: December 11, 1947
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Lakewood, Ohio, United States

Teri Garr is best known for her Academy Award-nominated role of Sandra Lester in Tootsie. Fans also loved her in Mr. Mom, One from the Heart, and After Hours. After revealing her long struggle with multiple sclerosis, she began raising awareness about the condition and retired from acting.

 46 Michael Flatley

Michael Flatley
3
Famous As: Dancer & Musician
Birthdate: July 16, 1958
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States

 47 Eartha Kitt

Eartha Kitt
6
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: January 17, 1927
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: North, South Carolina, United States
Died: December 25, 2008

Eartha Kitt was an American actress, comedian, dancer, and singer-songwriter. Renowned for her distinctive singing style, Kitt recorded several chartbusting songs during the 1950s. Also a well-known activist, Eartha Kitt established a non-profit organization called the Kittsville Youth Foundation, which helped underprivileged youths in Los Angeles. She was also an ardent advocate for same-sex marriage and LGBT rights.

 48 James Cagney

James Cagney
4
Famous As: Actor, Dancer
Birthdate: July 17, 1899
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Lower East Side, New York, United States
Died: March 30, 1986

James Cagney was an American dancer and actor who won the Academy Award for his performance in the 1942 musical, Yankee Doodle Dandy. In 1984, he was honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his contributions to the entertainment industry. In 1999, he was named in the American Film Institute's Greatest Male Stars of the Classical Hollywood Cinema list.

 49 Anna Pavlova

Anna Pavlova
3
Famous As: Ballet dancer
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.

 50 Debbie Allen

Debbie Allen
6
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.