Ballet Dancers

Who among us has not admired those beautiful and elegant ballerinas skillfully gliding across the dance floor swaying to melodious music? Ballet dancers are the individuals who practice the art of ballet, a type of performance dance that originated in Italy during the Renaissance period. Classical ballet, though one of the most prestigious forms of dance is also a very demanding one. A ballet dancer’s career is fleeting—it begins early and ends early. A typical ballet dancer has a very grueling schedule. They go through years of rigorous training, hours of rehearsals and classes, and harsh physical demands. It is such a demanding career that only the ones with an intense passion for the art form can persevere in this field. Anna Pavlova, undoubtedly one of the most celebrated ballet dancers ever, was renowned for her role of the Dying Swan which immortalized her. Vaslav Nijinsky who performed during the early 20th century was counted among the greatest male ballet dancers for his magnificent leaps and intense characterization. Russian actor Mikhail Nikolaevich Baryshnikov is also counted along Nijinsky as one of the greatest male ballet dancers. Even though ballet dancers have a brief career, they get to enjoy tremendous face and acclaim within this short period. Browse on to learn about the famous ballet dancers who have left their marks on the dance world.

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 1 Misty Copeland

Misty Copeland
6
Famous As: Ballet Dancer
Birthdate: September 10, 1982
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Kansas City, Missouri
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.

 2 Amanda Schull

Amanda Schull
5
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: August 26, 1978
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Honolulu, Hawaii, USA
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 3 Darcey Bussell

Darcey Bussell
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Famous As: Ballerina
Birthdate: April 27, 1969
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: London

 4 Glynis Johns

Glynis Johns
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: October 5, 1923
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Pretoria, South Africa

The veteran British actress who belongs to the Golden Age of Hollywood is known for her stellar roles in films like Miranda, Third Time Lucky and State Secret. Glynis Johns is also a singer, distinguished by her husky voice. She acted on the stage and the television. The daughter of actor, Mervyn Johns, has a son from her first marriage.

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 5 Marius Petipa

Marius Petipa
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Famous As: Ballet dancer
Birthdate: March 11, 1818
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Marseille, France
Died: July 14, 1910

 6 Edward Villella

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

 7 Yvette Chauviré

Yvette Chauviré
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Famous As: Ballerina
Birthdate: April 22, 1917
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: October 19, 2016
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 8 Benjamin Millepied

Benjamin Millepied
2
Famous As: Ballet Dancer, Choreographer
Birthdate: June 10, 1977
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Bordeaux
French dancer Benjamin Millepied was initially associated with the New York City Ballet. He launched the LA Dance Project and was the director of dance at the Paris Opera Ballet. He gained fame as the choreographer of the iconic movie Black Swan, and later married its lead actor, Natalie Portman.

 9 Mikhail Baryshnikov

Mikhail Baryshnikov
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Famous As: Ballet Dancer
Birthdate: January 27, 1948
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Riga

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 Valerie Harper

Valerie Harper
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: August 22, 1939
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Suffern, New York
Valerie Harper is best remembered as Rhoda Morgenstern from The Mary Tyler Moore Show and its spin-off, Rhoda, with the role winning her four Emmys. She also hosted Nova and was seen as Valerie Hogan in the sitcom Valerie. She also earned a Tony nomination for the play Looped.

 11 Charisma Carpenter

Charisma Carpenter
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: July 23, 1970
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Charisma Carpenter is best known as Cordelia Chase from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its spin-off, Angel; Lacy from The Expendables film franchise; and Beth Sullivan from the Josh Kirby... Time Warrior! movie series. She has also posed for Playboy and appeared in the series Charmed and Veronica Mars.

 12 Sonoya Mizuno

Sonoya Mizuno
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: July 1, 1986
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Tokyo

Sonoya Mizuno is an English actress, ballet dancer, and model. She started her professional career as a model, working for world-renowned brands, such as Saint Laurent, Chanel, and Louis Vuitton. Thanks to her skills as a ballet dancer, which she learnt at the Royal Ballet School, Mizuno landed roles in dance films like High Strung, which kick-started her film career.

 13 Phyllis Smith

Phyllis Smith
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: July 10, 1951
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: The Hill, St. Louis, Missouri

Phyllis Smith is an American actress best known for portraying Phyllis Vance in the popular mockumentary TV series, The Office, for which she received a couple of Screen Actors Guild Awards. Also known for her skills as a voice actress, Smith was honored with the prestigious Annie Award for voicing Sadness in the 2015 computer-animated comedy film, Inside Out.

 14 Gwen Verdon

Gwen Verdon
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: January 13, 1925
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Culver City, California, United States
Died: October 18, 2000

Four-time Tony-winning actor Gwen Verdon is remembered for her SAG-nominated performance in Marvin’s Room. She was known for her signature red hair and her love for cats. She was nominated for Emmys for the series Magnum, P.I., Dream On, and Homicide: Life on the Street. She inspired the series Fosse/Verdon.

 15 Debbie McGee

Debbie McGee
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Famous As: Radio performer
Birthdate: October 31, 1958
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Kingston upon Thames, Surrey, England, UK

 16 S. E. Cupp

S. E. Cupp
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Famous As: Television presenter
Birthdate: February 23, 1979
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Oceanside, California, U.S.

 17 Katherine LaNasa

Katherine LaNasa
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: December 1, 1966
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: New Orleans, Louisiana

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.

 18 Kelly Bishop

Kelly Bishop
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: February 28, 1944
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA

 19 Yvonne Craig

Yvonne Joyce Craig
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Famous As: Ballet dancer
Birthdate: May 16, 1937
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Taylorville, Illinois, United States
Died: August 17, 2015

 20 Michael Flatley

Michael Flatley
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Famous As: Ballet dancer, Choreographer, Dancer
Birthdate: July 16, 1958
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Chicago

 21 Alexander Godunov

Alexander Godunov
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Famous As: Ballet Dancer
Birthdate: November 28, 1949
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, Sakhalin
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.

 22 Rochelle Aytes

Rochelle Aytes
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: May 17, 1976
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Harlem, New York City, New York

Actress and model, Rochelle Aytes, gained international fame for her role in the  ABC drama series Mistresses. An alumnus of the State University of New York at Purchase College, she began her career soon after her graduation. After appearing in commercials for several popular brands, she made her acting debut. She has since acted in many films and TV shows.

 23 Victoria Rowell

Victoria Rowell
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: May 10, 1959
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Portland, Maine, USA

 24 Linda Park

Linda Park
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: July 9, 1978
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Seoul, South Korea

South Korean-born Linda Park had to go through multiple auditions before grabbing her first lead role, Hoshi Sato in Star Trek: Enterprise. The actor who has also played the iconic Maggie in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, has always been open about her struggle with lupus.

 25 Anna Pavlova

Anna Pavlova
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Birthdate: February 12, 1881
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Ligovo, Saint Petersburg, Russian Empire
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.

 26 Julia Goldani Telles

Julia Goldani Telles
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: March 18, 1995
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California

 27 Martha Graham

Martha Graham
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Famous As: Modern dancer and choreographer
Birthdate: May 11, 1894
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Allegheny County
Died: April 1, 1991

 28 Andrea Parker

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

 29 George Balanchine

George Balanchine
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Famous As: Choreographer
Birthdate: January 22, 1904
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: St. Petersburg, Russia
Died: April 30, 1983

 30 Margot Fonteyn

Margot Fonteyn
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Famous As: Ballerina
Birthdate: May 18, 1919
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Reigate
Died: February 21, 1991

 31 Langston Fishburne

Langston Fishburne
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: December 14, 1987
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York

 32 Olga Khokhlova

Olga Khokhlova
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Famous As: First Wife of Picasso
Birthdate: June 17, 1891
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Nizhyn, Chernigov Governorate, Russian Empire.
Died: February 11, 1955

Olga Khokhlova was a Ukrainian ballet dancer. She also served as one of Pablo Picasso's early artistic muses before marrying him in 1918. Olga met Picasso at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris where the latter had designed the set and costumes for a ballet titled Parade, in which Olga performed. She left her ballet group after meeting Pablo Picasso.

 33 Gabriela Rodríguez de Bukele

Gabriela Rodríguez de Bukele
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Famous As: Educator
Birthdate: March 31, 1985
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: San Salvador, El Salvador

 34 Isabella Boylston

Isabella Boylston
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Famous As: Ballet dancer
Birthdate: October 13, 1986
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Sun Valley

 35 Sir Robert Helpmann

Sir Robert Helpmann
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Famous As: Dancer
Birthdate: April 9, 1909
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Mount Gambier, Australia
Died: September 28, 1986

 36 Maria Tallchief

Maria Tallchief
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Famous As: Ballet dancer
Birthdate: January 24, 1925
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Fairfax
Died: April 11, 2013

 37 Twyla Tharp

Twyla Tharp
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Famous As: Dancer and Choreographer
Birthdate: July 1, 1941
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Portland

 38 Rudolf Nureyev

Rudolf Nureyev
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Famous As: Ballet Dancer & Choreographer
Birthdate: March 17, 1938
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Irkutsk, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
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.

 39 Sascha Radetsky

Sascha Radetsky
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Famous As: Choreographer, Actor
Birthdate: March 29, 1977
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Santa Cruz

 40 Robin Antin

Robin Antin
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Famous As: Ballet dancer, Choreographer, Television presenter, Actor, Dancer
Birthdate: July 6, 1961
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Los Angeles

 41 Pina Bausch

Pina Bausch
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Famous As: Dancer
Birthdate: July 27, 1940
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Solingen, Germany
Died: June 30, 2009

 42 Moira Shearer

Moira Shearer
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: January 17, 1926
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Dunfermline, United Kingdom
Died: January 31, 2006

 43 Michaela DePrince

Michaela DePrince
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Famous As: Ballet dancer
Birthdate: January 6, 1995
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Kenema, Sierra Leone

 44 Galina Ulanova

Galina Ulanova
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Famous As: Ballet Dancer, Choreographer
Birthdate: January 8, 1910
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Saint Petersburg
Died: March 21, 1998
Born to dancer parents, Soviet ballerina Galina Ulanova was destined to follow in their footsteps. The dancer who had performed with both Mariinsky and Bolshoi theaters remains the only two-time Hero of Socialist Labour winner. She amazed audiences in Giselle, Swan Lake, and Romeo and Juliet.

 45 Mathilde Kschessinska

Mathilde Kschessinska
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Famous As: ballet dancer
Birthdate: August 18, 1872
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Ligovo
Died: June 7, 1971

 46 Ethan Stiefel

Ethan Stiefel
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Famous As: Choreographer, Actor
Birthdate: February 13, 1973
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Tyrone

 47 Svetlana Zakharova

Svetlana Zakharova
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Famous As: ballet dancer, politician, choreographer, dancer
Birthdate: June 10, 1979
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Lutsk

 48 DJ BoBo

DJ BoBo
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Famous As: Singer, Composer, Ballet dancer, Disc jockey
Birthdate: January 5, 1968
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Switzerland

 49 Maya Plisetskaya

Maya Plisetskaya
0
Famous As: Ballet dancer, Dancer, Choreographer, Actor, Prima ballerina assoluta
Birthdate: November 20, 1925
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Moscow
Died: May 2, 2015

 50 Lindsay Kemp

Lindsay Kemp
0
Famous As: Choreographer, Actor, Ballet dancer, Mime artist
Birthdate: May 3, 1938
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: South Shields
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