Famous American Ballet Dancers

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.

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
(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.

 2 
Misty Copeland
(Ballet Dancer)

Misty Copeland
14
Birthdate: January 27, 1948, 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 
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.  

 4 
Alexander Godunov
(Ballet Dancer)

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.

 5 
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.

 6 
Amanda Schull
(Actress Known for Her Lead Role in the 2000 Film 'Center Stage' and the TV Series 'Suits')

Amanda Schull
11
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.

 7 
Michaela DePrince
(Ballet dancer)

Michaela DePrince
3
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.

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 8 
Leslie Caron
(Actress, Dancer)

Leslie Caron
4
Birthdate: July 1, 1931
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Boulogne-Billancourt, 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.

 9 
Maria Tallchief
(Ballet dancer)

Maria Tallchief
4
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.

 10 
Yvonne Craig
(Ballet dancer)

Yvonne Craig
4
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 
Katherine LaNasa
(Actress Known for Her Roles in the Sitcom ‘Three Sisters’ and Films: ‘The Frozen Ground’, 'The Campaign')

Katherine LaNasa
6
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.

 12 
Alvin Ailey
(Dancer)

Alvin Ailey
4
Birthdate: January 5, 1931
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Rogers, Texas, United States
Died: December 1, 1989

 13 

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.

 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 
Andrea Parker
(Actress)

Andrea Parker
4
Birthdate: March 8, 1970
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Monterey County, California, USA

Andrea Parker is an American actress known for playing important roles in popular TV series like ER, Pretty Little Liars, and Desperate Housewives. In 2005, Parker was honored with the Women's Image Network Award under the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series category for her portrayal of Lydia Weston in the popular sitcom Less Than Perfect.

 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 
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.

 18 
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.

 19 
Robin Antin
(Ballet dancer, Choreographer, Television presenter, Actor, Dancer)

Robin Antin
3
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.

 20 
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.

 21 
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

 22 
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.

 23 
Suzanne Farrell
(Ballet dancer)

Suzanne Farrell
3
Birthdate: August 16, 1945
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Cincinnati

 24 
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.

 25 
Wendy Whelan
(Ballet dancer)

Wendy Whelan
3
Birthdate: May 7, 1967
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Louisville

 26 
Michael Kidd
(Choreographer, Ballet Dancer)

Michael Kidd
3
Birthdate: August 12, 1915
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: New York City
Died: December 23, 2007

 27 
Michel Fokine
(Choreographer)

Michel Fokine
3
Birthdate: April 23, 1880
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Saint Petersburg, Russia
Died: August 22, 1942

Michel Fokine was a Russian dancer and choreographer whose pieces are performed internationally to this day. Fokine is credited with choreographing the works of popular dancers like Anna Pavlova. Renowned for his groundbreaking works, such as Le Pavillon d'Armide, Michel Fokine has been portrayed in a couple of films, namely Nijinsky and A Woman for All Time.

 28 
Justin Peck
(Choreographer)

Justin Peck
3
Birthdate: September 8, 1987
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Washington, D.C., United States

 29 
Irina Dvorovenko
(Ballet dancer)

Irina Dvorovenko
3
Birthdate: August 28, 1973
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Kyiv, Ukrainian SSR, Soviet Union USSR

 30 
Robert Joffrey
(Co-founder of Joffrey Ballet)

Robert Joffrey
2
Birthdate: December 24, 1930
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Seattle
Died: March 25, 1988

 31 
Leslie Browne
(Actor, Ballet dancer)

Leslie Browne
3
Birthdate: June 29, 1957
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: New York City

 32 
Gelsey Kirkland
(Ballet dancer)

Gelsey Kirkland
0
Birthdate: December 29, 1952
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, United States

 33 
Eliot Feld
(Choreographer)

Eliot Feld
3
Birthdate: July 5, 1942
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States

 34 
Janet Collins
(Ballet Dancer)

Janet Collins
3
Birthdate: March 7, 1917
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: New Orleans, Louisiana, United States
Died: May 28, 2003

 35 
Edward Villella
(Choreographer)

Edward Villella
3
Birthdate: October 1, 1936
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Bayside, New York, United States

 36 
Gillian Murphy
(Ballet dancer)

Gillian Murphy
0
Birthdate: April 11, 1979
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Wimbledon, London, England

 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 
William Forsythe
(Choreographer)

William Forsythe
0
Birthdate: December 30, 1949
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States

 39 
Roland Petit
(Dancer and choreographer)

Roland Petit
2
Birthdate: January 13, 1924
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Villemomble, France
Died: July 10, 2011

Roland Petit was a French dancer, choreographer, and ballet company director. Renowned for his creative ballets, Petit is credited with choreographing several internationally acclaimed dancers. He is also credited with founding the Ballet National de Marseille in Marseille, France. In 1994, Roland Petit was honored with the prestigious Prix Benois de la Danse for his contribution as a choreographer.

 40 

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.

 41 
Erick Hawkins
(Choreographer)

Erick Hawkins
2
Birthdate: April 23, 1909
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Trinidad, Colorado, United States
Died: November 23, 1994

 42 
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

 43 

Marjorie Tallchief
2
Birthdate: October 19, 1926
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Denver, Colorado, 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 
Michael Smuin
(Ballet dancer)

Michael Smuin
1
Birthdate: October 13, 1938
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Missoula, Montana, United States
Died: April 23, 2007

 46 
Patricia McBride
(Ballerina)

Patricia McBride
2
Birthdate: August 23, 1942
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Teaneck, New Jersey, United States

 47 
Pearl Lang
(Dancer)

Pearl Lang
2
Birthdate: May 20, 1921
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States
Died: February 24, 2009

 48 
Alexei Ratmansky
(Choreographer)

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.

 49 
John Neumeier
(Ballet dancer)

John Neumeier
2
Birthdate: February 24, 1939
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States

 50 
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.