Famous 20th Century Dancers

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Vote for Your Favourite 20th Century Dancers

 1 
Michael Jackson
(One of the Most Significant Cultural Figures of the 20th Century Popularly Known as the 'King of Pop')

Michael Jackson
19
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
(Singer-songwriter)

Shakira
8
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 
James Brown
(Central Progenitor of Funk Music and Referred to as 'Godfather of Soul')

James Brown
6
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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 4 

Fred Astaire
9
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.

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 5 
Ginger Rogers
(Actress, Dancer)

Ginger Rogers
5
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.

 6 
Eugene Curran Kelly
(Actor, Dancer)

Eugene Curran Kelly
4
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 
Donny Osmond
(Actor, Singer, Dancer)

Donny Osmond
4
Birthdate: December 9, 1957
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Ogden, Utah, United States
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 8 

Sammy Davis Jr.
9
Birthdate: December 8, 1925
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Harlem, 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.

 9 
Mikhail Baryshnikov
(Choreographer, Dance)

Mikhail Baryshnikov
9
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.

 10 
Lance Bass
(Singer)

Lance Bass
4
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.  

 11 
Gregory Hines
(Dancer, Choreographer and Actor)

Gregory Hines
4
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.

 12 
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. 

 13 
Rudolf Nureyev
(Choreographer & One of the Greatest Male Ballet Dancers of His Generation)

Rudolf Nureyev
4
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.

 14 
Jennifer Lopez
(Singer, Actress, Dancer)

Jennifer Lopez
29
Birthdate: July 24, 1969
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Castle Hill, 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.

 15 
Pink
(Singer and Songwriter Known for Her Rock-Influenced Pop Songs, Distinctive Raspy Voice and Acrobatic Stage Presence)

Pink
4
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.

 16 
Randy Jackson
(Singer-songwriter)

Randy Jackson
4
Birthdate: October 31, 1961
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Gary, Indiana, United States

 17 
JC Chasez
(Singer-songwriter, producer best known as a former member of the boy band NSYNC)

JC Chasez
4
Birthdate: August 8, 1976
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Bowie, Maryland, United States

 18 
Rita Hayworth
(Actress, Dancer)

Rita Hayworth
5
Birthdate: October 17, 1918
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States
Died: May 14, 1987

Rita Hayworth was one of the most glamorous Hollywood actresses of the 1930s and 1940s. 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, was marked by a series of failed marriages.

 19 
Paula Abdul
(Her Album 'Forever Your Girl' was One of The Most Successful Albums in 1988)

Paula Abdul
20
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.

 20 
Joel Grey
(Actor, Singer, Dancer)

Joel Grey
4
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.

 21 
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.

 22 
Bruno Tonioli
(Choreographer & Judge of the Reality TV Shows 'Strictly Come Dancing' and 'Dancing With the Stars')

Bruno Tonioli
4
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.

 23 
Kelly Ripa
(Actress, Dancer)

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

 24 
Alexander Godunov
(Ballet Dancer)

Alexander Godunov
3
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.

 25 
Barbara Stanwyck
(Actress known for her strong, realistic screen presence and versatility.)

Barbara Stanwyck
4
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.

 26 

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

 27 
Dita Von Teese
(Dancer, Actress)

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

 28 
Alesha Dixon
(Singer, Model, Dancer)

Alesha Dixon
8
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. 

 29 
Mark Ballas
(Singer, Dancer, Choreographer, Stage actor, Guitarist)

Mark Ballas
3
Birthdate: May 24, 1986
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Houston

 30 
Eartha Kitt
(Singer with a Distinctive Voice Known for her Hits "Let's Do It", and "C'est si bon")

Eartha Kitt
6
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.

 31 
Rosie Perez
(Actress)

Rosie Perez
4
Birthdate: September 6, 1964
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Bushwick, 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.

 32 

Yvonne De Carlo
5
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.

 33 
André 3000
(Rapper)

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

 34 
Roselyn Sánchez
(Singer-songwriter, Actress)

Roselyn Sánchez
4
Birthdate: April 2, 1973
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: San Juan, Puerto Rico

Roselyn Sánchez is a Puerto Rican singer, dancer, songwriter, actress, model, producer, and writer. She is best known for playing Elena Delgado in the popular police procedural drama TV series Without a Trace, for which she received the 2008 ALMA Award. Roselyn Sánchez also works with organizations like Fundación de Niños San Jorge, which helps sick children from poor families.

 35 
Danny Kaye
(Actor)

Danny Kaye
5
Birthdate: January 18, 1911
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States
Died: March 3, 1987
Danny Kaye is best remembered for his pantomimes, physical comedy, and patter songs, one of the most popular being Inchworm. Some of his most notable movies were the 1947 movie The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, The Court Jester, and Hans Christian Andersen. He was UNICEF’s first ambassador-at-large.

 36 
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.

 37 
James Cagney
(Actor, Dancer)

James Cagney
4
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.

 38 
Debbie Allen
(Actress Best Known for Her Work in the Musical-Drama Television Series 'Fame')

Debbie Allen
6
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. 

 39 
Michael Flatley
(Dancer & Musician)

Michael Flatley
3
Birthdate: July 16, 1958
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States

Born in Chicago, Irish-origin entertainer Michael Flatley took to dancing inspired by his step dancer mother and music-loving father. Initially a gambler and stockbroker, he later performed with The Chieftains and then choreographed the globally renowned show Riverdance. He later launched shows such as Lord of the Dance and Celtic Tiger.

 40 
Lisa Niemi
(Writer, Director and Lead Actress of the Film 'One Last Dance')

Lisa Niemi
4
Birthdate: May 26, 1956
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Houston, Texas, United States
Lisa Niemi is known for her appearance in Steel Dawn and One Last Dance, with her former husband Patrick Swayze. She also released memoirs, both New York Times bestsellers and one of them co-written by Swayze. Swayze’s death due to pancreatic cancer led her to spread awareness about the ailment.

 41 
MC Hammer
(One of the Most Significant Rappers and Dancers of All Time)

MC Hammer
4
Birthdate: March 30, 1962
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Oakland, California, United States
Rap legend MC Hammer, a pioneer of the pop-rap genre, became the first hip-hop artist to earn the “diamond” status. He is also known for his chartbusting tracks such as U Can't Touch This and his signature "Hammer pants." He later became a preacher and hosted his own reality show.

 42 
Dulé Hill
(Actor)

Dulé Hill
4
Birthdate: May 3, 1975
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Orange, New Jersey, USA

 43 

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

 44 
Martha Graham
(Modern Dancer and Choreographer Known for Her 'Graham Technique' Style)

Martha Graham
4
Birthdate: May 11, 1894
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Allegheny, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: April 1, 1991

Martha Graham was a modern dancer and choreographer who revolutionized American dance. She developed what later became known as the Graham technique, a modern dance movement style and pedagogy. She had an extensive career spanning over 70 years. The Martha Graham School, founded in 1926, is the oldest school of dance in USA.  

 45 
Keith Flint
(Singer, Dancer, Motorcycle racer)

Keith Flint
4
Birthdate: September 17, 1969
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Redbridge, London, England
Died: March 4, 2019
Keith Flint, founding member of the electronic dance group The Prodigy, has delivered international hits such as Firestarter and Breathe. He later led the band Flint. He also owned a motorcycle racing team that became Isle of Man TT champions four times. He is known for his tattoos and piercings.

 46 
Teri Garr
(Actress)

Teri Garr
4
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.

 47 
Bebe Neuwirth
(Actress)

Bebe Neuwirth
5
Birthdate: December 31, 1958
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Newark, New Jersey
Bebe Neuwirth is best known as Lilith Sternin from Cheers and its spin-off, Frasier, a role that won her two Emmys. She is also a talented stage actor, who has delivered Tony Award–winning performances in Sweet Charity and Chicago. A cat lover, she has donated to various animal charities.

 48 
Mayte Garcia
(Actress & Dancer Known as the World’s Youngest Professional Belly Dancer)

Mayte Garcia
4
Birthdate: November 12, 1973
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Fort Rucker, Alabama, United States

Mayte Garcia is an American dancer, singer, and actress. She has worked with popular artists like Britney Spears. Mayte Garcia was married to record producer and musician, Prince, from 1996 to 2000. Mayte Garcia has also written a book titled The Most Beautiful: My Life with Prince which was published in 2017.

 49 

Buddy Ebsen
4
Birthdate: April 2, 1908
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Belleville, Illinois, United States
Died: July 6, 2003

Actor and dancer Buddy Ebsen is best remembered for playing Jed Clampett in the CBS television sitcom, The Beverly Hillbillies. In a career spanning seven decades, he appeared in numerous films and TV shows, playing versatile roles. Beginning his career as a dancer, he soon ventured into acting. He has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

 50 
Patrick Swayze
(Known For His Role in 'Dirty Dancing' & 'Ghost')

Patrick Swayze
0
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’.