Famous American Choreographers

Step up mates! It is time to explore the life, feats, and deeds of some of America's most exceptionally talented choreographers, right here. America has been the minefield of creative force, as far as dancing goes. Thanks to some of America's cutting-edge choreographers, the country's dance forms underwent sea change in the last century. It is because of this extraordinarily talented, diverse, and distinctive lot of choreographers, American dancers are counted among the bests in the world today. A riveting fusion of visuals, dance, music, and fantasy, these choreographers inserted new soul to every dance move they fashioned. These high profile choreographers have an impressive list of credits to their name and have teamed up with some of the biggest celebrity dancers of their times. American choreographers have been the driving force behind some of America's most celebrated dancers. So what are you waiting for? Pull up your socks, put on your dancing shoes, and get waltzing down the timeline, trivia, and interesting facts of America's famous choreographers in the biographies here.

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

Michael Jackson
10
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
6
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 
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.

 4 
Mikhail Baryshnikov
(Choreographer, Dance)

Mikhail Baryshnikov
4
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.

 5 
Jennifer Lopez
(Singer, Actress, Dancer)

Jennifer Lopez
6
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.

 6 
Paula Abdul
(Her Album 'Forever Your Girl' was One of The Most Successful Albums in 1988)

Paula Abdul
8
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.

 7 
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.
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 8 
Julianne Hough
(Judge on Dancing with the Stars)

Julianne Hough
8
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.

 9 
Isadora Duncan
(Dancer & Choreographer)

Isadora Duncan
4
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. 

 10 
Teyana Taylor
(Singer-Songwriter Who Appeared on MTV's 'My Super Sweet 16')

Teyana Taylor
4
Birthdate: December 10, 1990
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Harlem, New York, United States

R&B and hip-hop singer Teyana Taylor gained fame with MTV's My Super Sweet 16. She signed with Kanye West’s label and also appeared on the reality show Teyana and Iman, with her husband, NBA player Iman Shumpert. In December 2020, she announced her retirement from music through Instagram.

 11 
Derek Hough
(Professional Dancer and Six Times Winner of the Dance Competition Series 'Dancing with the Stars')

Derek Hough
4
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.

 12 
Abby Lee Miller
(Dance Instructor)

Abby Lee Miller
8
Birthdate: September 21, 1965
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States

Abby Lee Miller is a choreographer, dance instructor, and reality TV personality. She is credited with founding the Abby Lee Dance Company where the popular TV series Dance Moms was filmed. The series follows the training of children in dance under the tutelage of Miller. In 2018, Miller was diagnosed with a type of cancer that has left her wheelchair-bound.

 13 
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.

 14 
Debbie Allen
(Actress Best Known for Her Work in the Musical-Drama Television Series 'Fame')

Debbie Allen
4
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. 

 15 
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.

 16 
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.

 17 
Todrick Hall
(Singer)

Todrick Hall
4
Birthdate: April 4, 1985
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Arlington, Texas, United States
Rapper/choreographer Todrick Hall gained fame after appearing in the ninth season of American Idol. His YouTube videos, featuring his songs and parodies, too, became viral. He has also been a judge on RuPaul's Drag Race and is openly gay. He has also appeared as Billy Flynn in the play Chicago.

 18 

Harry Shum Jr.
4
Birthdate: April 28, 1982
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Limon, Costa Rica

Harry Shum Jr. is an actor, dancer, choreographer, and singer. He is best known for his work in films like Step Up 2: The Streets, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny, and Crazy Rich Asians. Also a popular TV actor, Harry's award-winning portrayal of a bisexual person in Shadowhunters gained him a large fan following within the LGBT community.

 19 
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.

 20 
Cheryl Burke
(Dancer)

Cheryl Burke
4
Birthdate: May 3, 1984
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: San Francisco, California, United States

Cheryl Burke is an American dancer, TV host, and model. Best known for appearing as a professional dancer on the popular dance competition TV series Dancing with the Stars, Burke became the first professional to win two consecutive seasons. In 2008, she set up her dance studio and created her own line of sportswear in 2009.

 21 

Ashley Roberts
4
Birthdate: September 14, 1981
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Phoenix, Arizona, USA

 22 
Martha Graham
(Modern Dancer and Choreographer Known for Her 'Graham Technique' Style)

Martha Graham
5
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.  

 23 
Carrie Ann Inaba
(Television personality, dancer, choreographer best known for her work on ABC TV's Dancing with the Stars for which she has served as a judge since 2005)

Carrie Ann Inaba
4
Birthdate: January 5, 1968
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Honolulu, Hawaii, United States

 24 
Alyssa Edwards
(Drag Performer & Choreographer Best Known As a Contestant of 'RuPaul's Drag Race')

Alyssa Edwards
6
Birthdate: January 16, 1980
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Mesquite, Texas, United States

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.

 25 
Witney Carson
(Dancer. Choreographer)

Witney Carson
4
Birthdate: October 17, 1993
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: American Fork, Utah, United States

 26 

Gates McFadden
4
Birthdate: March 2, 1949
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, United States

 27 
Katherine LaNasa
(Actress Known for Her Roles in the Sitcom ‘Three Sisters’ and Films: ‘The Frozen Ground’, 'The Campaign')

Katherine LaNasa
4
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.

 28 
Rob Marshall
(Director)

Rob Marshall
3
Birthdate: October 17, 1960
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Madison, Wisconsin, USA

 29 
Jerome Robbins
(Dance Choreographer)

Jerome Robbins
3
Birthdate: October 11, 1918
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Manhattan
Died: July 29, 1998

 30 
Mark Ballas
(Singer, Dancer, Choreographer, Stage actor, Guitarist)

Mark Ballas
4
Birthdate: May 24, 1986
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Houston

 31 
Twyla Tharp
(Dancer and Choreographer)

Twyla Tharp
3
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.

 32 

Peta Murgatroyd
4
Birthdate: July 14, 1986
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Auckland, New Zealand

 33 
Ann Reinking
(Actor, Choreographer, Dancer, Stage actor)

Ann Reinking
4
Birthdate: November 10, 1949
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Seattle

 34 

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

 35 
Kenny Ortega
(Filmmaker)

Kenny Ortega
3
Birthdate: April 18, 1950
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Palo Alto, California, United States
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. 

 36 
Khandi Alexander
(Dancer, Actress)

Khandi Alexander
3
Birthdate: September 4, 1957
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Jacksonville, Florida, United States

 37 
Adam Rippon
(Figure skater)

Adam Rippon
6
Birthdate: November 11, 1989
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Scranton, Pennsylvania, United States

 38 
Savion Glover
(Actor, Choreographer, Television actor, Stage actor)

Savion Glover
3
Birthdate: November 19, 1973
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Newark

 39 
Shura Baryshnikov
(Dancer, Choreographer, Actress)

Shura Baryshnikov
3
Birthdate: March 15, 1981
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Stillwater, Minnesota, United States

 40 

Janette Manrara
5
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.

 41 
Michael Flatley
(Dancer & Musician)

Michael Flatley
4
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.

 42 
Raoul Trujillo
(Choreographer)

Raoul Trujillo
3
Birthdate: May 8, 1955
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Santa Fe, New Mexico, United States

 43 
Columbus Short
(Choreographer)

Columbus Short
4
Birthdate: September 19, 1982
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Kansas City, Missouri, USA

 44 
Katherine Dunham
(Dancer, Choreographer)

Katherine Dunham
3
Birthdate: June 22, 1909
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Glen Ellyn, Illinois, United States
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.

 45 
Briana Evigan
(Actress)

Briana Evigan
4
Birthdate: October 23, 1986
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, USA

 46 
Merce Cunningham
(Dancer and Choreographer)

Merce Cunningham
3
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.

 47 
Patsy Swayze
(Choreographer)

Patsy Swayze
3
Birthdate: February 7, 1927
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Harris County, Texas, United States
Died: September 16, 2013

 48 
Frank Dux
(Martial artist, fight choreographer)

Frank Dux
4
Birthdate: April 6, 1956
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Toronto, Canada

Frank Dux is a Canadian martial artist and fight choreographer. He began his training in ninjutsu as a teenager. He claims he served in the United States Marine Corps Reserve for a few years and was awarded the Medal of Honor; however, this claim is disputed. He later founded his own school of ninjutsu called Dux Ryu Ninjutsu. 

 49 
Alvin Ailey
(Dancer)

Alvin Ailey
3
Birthdate: January 5, 1931
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Rogers, Texas, United States
Died: December 1, 1989

 50 
Loie Fuller
(Actor, Lighting designer, Choreographer, Artist, Dancer, Stage actor, Model)

Loie Fuller
3
Birthdate: January 15, 1862
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Illinois
Died: January 1, 1928