Famous American Ballet Dancers

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Pointed shoes, tutu dress and graceful movements – ballet dance can get you swooned. But this right-out-from-the heaven-seeming dance form isn’t all hunky-dory – years of dedication, passion, concentration and coordination are just telling signs of becoming a ballet dancer. There is a lot of strength involved as dancers are required to have stamina, endurance, power, flexibility, precision, posture, sense of rhythm and gross motor skills to become the best. Having it roots well laid during the Italian Renaissance period, ballet dance evolved and spread across the globe. Interestingly, once a male-dominated dance form, ballet soon opened its doors to women in the 17th century. Ballet reached the American shores during the 19th century. George Balanchine is credited for opening the first state-of-art ballet school in America. Since then, the dance form rose in popularity as more and more people, both men and women, got involved in the dance form. Over the years, America has produced some of the finest and world-class ballet performers. Mikhail Baryshnikov, Julie Kent, David Hallberg, Isabella Boylston, Ethan Stiefel, Susan Jaffe, Gillian Murphy are some of many American ballet wonders. Misty Copeland, the current principal dancer for American Ballet Theatre, is the first African American woman to enjoy the position. Check this section to know about famous American ballet dancers.
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 1 
Mikhail Baryshnikov
(One of the Greatest Ballet Dancers of the 20th Century)
Mikhail Baryshnikov
11
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.

 2 
Misty Copeland
(The First African-American Woman to Serve as the 'American Ballet Theatre' Company's Principal Dancer)
Misty Copeland
16
Birthdate: 1982
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Kansas City, Missouri, United States
Ballet dancer Misty Copeland is known for her association with American Ballet Theatre and is the first Black woman to become the principal dancer there. She also gained fame as a public speaker and stage performer. Named to Time 100, she has also written a memoir and narrated a documentary.
 3 
Alexander Godunov
(American Ballet Dancer, Actor and Member of the ‘Bolshoi Ballet’)
Alexander Godunov
6
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.
 4 
Martha Graham
(Modern Dancer and Choreographer Known for Her 'Graham Technique' Style)
Martha Graham
6
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.  

 5 
Mayte Garcia
(Actress & Dancer Known as the World’s Youngest Professional Belly Dancer)
Mayte Garcia
8
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.

 6 
Maria Tallchief
(Ballet dancer)
Maria Tallchief
6
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.

 7 
Amanda Schull
(Known for Her Lead Role in the Film 'Center Stage' and the TV Series 'Suits')
Amanda Schull
13
Birthdate: August 26, 1978
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Honolulu, Hawaii, United States

Amanda Schull is an American actress known for her portrayal of Jody Sawyer in the 2000 teen drama film Center Stage. A former professional ballet dancer, Schull has also played important roles in other dance-based films like Mao's Last Dancer.

 8 
Michaela DePrince
(Sierra Leonean-American Ballet Dancer)
Michaela DePrince
5
Birthdate: January 6, 1995
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Kenema, Sierra Leone

Michaela DePrince is a Sierra Leonean-American ballerina and writer. She is credited with co-authoring a book titled Taking Flight: From War Orphan to Star Ballerina. Michaela DePrince achieved popularity in 2011 when she was featured in a documentary titled First Position, which follows her and other ballerinas as they prepare for the upcoming Youth America Grand Prix.

 9 
Leslie Caron
(Actress & Dancer Known for Her Films: 'Lili' and 'The L-Shaped Room')
Leslie Caron
8
Birthdate: July 1, 1931
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Boulogne-sur-Seine, Paris, France
French-American actor Leslie Caron is best known for her BAFTA-winning roles in The L-Shaped Room and Lili. She has also won a Golden Globe and an Emmy. A seasoned actor, she began her career as a ballerina. She has also been a jury member at various international film festivals.
 10 
Yvonne Craig
(Best Known for Her Role as 'Batgirl/Barbara Gordon' in the 1960s Television Series 'Batman')
Yvonne Craig
6
Birthdate: May 16, 1937
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Taylorville, Illinois, United States
Died: August 17, 2015

Yvonne Craig was an American actress best known for her portrayal of Batgirl in the iconic 1960s TV series Batman. Such was her popularity that she was called a pioneer of female superheroes during the 1960s. Also remembered for her skills as a ballet dancer, Yvonne Craig's training as a ballerina helped her a lot while performing stunts in Batman.

 11 
Alvin Ailey
(Dancer)
Alvin Ailey
4
Birthdate: January 5, 1931
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Rogers, Texas, United States
Died: December 1, 1989
 12 
Julia Goldani Telles
(Actress and Ballet Dancer)
Julia Goldani Telles
4
Birthdate: March 18, 1995
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States

Julia Goldani Telles is an American ballet dancer and actress best known for portraying the role of Sasha Torres in a comedy-drama TV series titled Bunheads. Apart from playing prominent roles in films and TV series, Julia Goldani Telles has also appeared in a number of ballet performances, such as Swan Lake, Nutcracker, Don Quixote, and Sleeping Beauty.

 13 
Katherine LaNasa
(Actress Known for Her Roles in the Sitcom ‘Three Sisters’ and Films: ‘The Frozen Ground’, 'The Campaign')
Katherine LaNasa
8
Birthdate: December 1, 1966
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: New Orleans, Louisiana, United States

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.

 14 
Twyla Tharp
(Dancer and Choreographer)
Twyla Tharp
4
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.

 15 
Isabella Boylston
(Ballet dancer)
Isabella Boylston
4
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.

 16 
Langston Fishburne
4
Birthdate: December 14, 1987
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York

Langston Fishburne is an American actor best known for portraying the younger version of Bill Foster in the 2018 superhero film Ant-Man and the Wasp; the older version of Bill Foster was played by his real-life father Laurence Fishburne. A multi-talented personality, Langston Fishburne also studied ballet in New York City.  

 17 
S. E. Cupp
(Television presenter)
S. E. Cupp
4
Birthdate: February 23, 1979
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Oceanside, California, U.S.

S. E. Cupp is an American TV host, writer, and political commentator. As a writer, Cupp has contributed to several popular publications like The Washington Post, Maxim, and New York Daily News. A regular guest host on Fox News' talk show Red Eye w/ Greg Gutfeld, Cupp has also hosted other talk shows like The Cycle.

 18 
Robin Antin
(Ballet dancer, Choreographer, Television presenter, Actor, Dancer)
Robin Antin
5
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.

 19 
Pati Behrs
(Ballet dancer)
Pati Behrs
3
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.

 20 
Agnes de Mille
(American dancer and choreographer)
Agnes de Mille
3
Birthdate: September 18, 1905
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: New York City
Died: October 7, 1993
 21 
Sascha Radetsky
(Choreographer, Actor)
Sascha Radetsky
4
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.

 22 
Suzanne Farrell
(Ballet dancer)
Suzanne Farrell
3
Birthdate: August 16, 1945
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Cincinnati
 23 
Ethan Stiefel
(Choreographer, Actor)
Ethan Stiefel
3
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.

 24 
Michael Kidd
(Choreographer, Ballet Dancer)
Michael Kidd
3
Birthdate: August 12, 1915
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: New York City
Died: December 23, 2007
 25 
Wendy Whelan
(Ballet dancer)
Wendy Whelan
3
Birthdate: May 7, 1967
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Louisville
 26 
Irina Dvorovenko
(Ballet dancer)
Irina Dvorovenko
3
Birthdate: August 28, 1973
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Kyiv, Ukrainian SSR, Soviet Union USSR
 27 
Justin Peck
(Choreographer)
Justin Peck
3
Birthdate: September 8, 1987
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Washington, D.C., United States
 28 
Gelsey Kirkland
(Ballet dancer)
Gelsey Kirkland
0
Birthdate: December 29, 1952
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, United States
 29 
Robert Joffrey
(Co-founder of Joffrey Ballet)
Robert Joffrey
2
Birthdate: December 24, 1930
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Seattle
Died: March 25, 1988
 30 
Leslie Browne
(Actor, Ballet dancer)
Leslie Browne
3
Birthdate: June 29, 1957
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: New York City
 31 
Eliot Feld
(Choreographer)
Eliot Feld
3
Birthdate: July 5, 1942
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States
 32 
Janet Collins
(Ballet Dancer)
Janet Collins
3
Birthdate: March 7, 1917
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: New Orleans, Louisiana, United States
Died: May 28, 2003
 33 
Gillian Murphy
(Ballet dancer)
Gillian Murphy
0
Birthdate: April 11, 1979
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Wimbledon, London, England
 34 
Viper
(Pornographic actress)
Viper
0
Birthdate: September 12, 1959
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Oak Ridge, Tennessee, United States
Died: December 24, 2010
 35 
Edward Villella
(Choreographer)
Edward Villella
3
Birthdate: October 1, 1936
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Bayside, New York, United States
 36 
William Forsythe
(Choreographer)
William Forsythe
0
Birthdate: December 30, 1949
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States
 37 
Nora Kaye
(Ballerina)
Nora Kaye
3
Birthdate: January 17, 1920
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States
Died: February 28, 1987
 38 
Alexandra Danilova
(Russian-American Ballet Dancer)
Alexandra Danilova
2
Birthdate: November 20, 1903
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Petergof, Russia
Died: July 13, 1997

Born in Russia, ballerina Alexandra Danilova later became an American citizen. Best known for her role in the film The Turning Point, she had also taught at the School of American Ballet. She was associated with both the Ballets Russes and the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo.

 39 
Marjorie Tallchief
2
Birthdate: October 19, 1926
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Denver, Colorado, United States
 40 
Phyllis Hill
(Ballet dancer, Actress)
Phyllis Hill
0
Birthdate: October 27, 1920
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States
Died: January 1, 1993
 41 
Erick Hawkins
(Choreographer)
Erick Hawkins
2
Birthdate: April 23, 1909
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Trinidad, Colorado, United States
Died: November 23, 1994
 42 
Alexei Ratmansky
(Russian-American Choreographer and Ballet Dancer Known for His Exceptional Musicality, Seemingly Limitless Energy, and Stylistic Versatility)
Alexei Ratmansky
2
Birthdate: August 27, 1968
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Saint Petersburg, Russia

Alexei Ratmansky was not just a phenomenal ballet dancer but also rescued the Bolshoi Ballet from a financial disaster as its artistic director. One of his best-known works as a choreographer was for Dreams of Japan. He was the first artist-in-residence at the American Ballet Theatre.

 43 
John Neumeier
(Ballet dancer)
John Neumeier
2
Birthdate: February 24, 1939
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States
 44 
Gerald Arpino
1
Birthdate: January 14, 1923
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Staten Island, New York, United States
Died: October 29, 2008
 45 
Pearl Lang
(Dancer)
Pearl Lang
2
Birthdate: May 20, 1921
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States
Died: February 24, 2009
 46 
Patricia McBride
(Ballerina)
Patricia McBride
2
Birthdate: August 23, 1942
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Teaneck, New Jersey, United States
 47 
Tamara Geva
(Ballet Dancer, Actress and Choreographer & Wife of Ballet Dancer George Balanchine)
Tamara Geva
2
Birthdate: March 17, 1906
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Saint Petersburg, Russia
Died: December 9, 1997

Tamara Geva was a Russian-born American ballet dancer, choreographer, and actress. The first wife of popular Georgian-American choreographer George Balanchine, Geva was instrumental in Balanchine's success in his early life. Apart from performing with her husband, Tamara Geva also danced in Sergei Diaghilev's popular dance company the Ballet Russes. She also choreographed several popular Broadway shows throughout her illustrious career.

 48 
Michael Smuin
(Ballet dancer)
Michael Smuin
1
Birthdate: October 13, 1938
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Missoula, Montana, United States
Died: April 23, 2007
 49 
Heidi Guenther
0
Birthdate: January 11, 1975
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: San Francisco, California, United States
Died: June 30, 1997
 50 
Antony Tudor
(English Ballet Dancer, Teacher, and Choreographer)
Antony Tudor
2
Birthdate: April 4, 1908
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: London, England
Died: April 19, 1987

Antony Tudor was an English ballet dancer, teacher, and choreographer. He is remembered for founding the London Ballet as well as the Philadelphia Ballet Guild. Tudor is also remembered for his association with the Royal Swedish Ballet, where he served as the artistic director from 1963 to 1964. He also taught ballet at institutions like the University of California, Irvine.