Choreographers

Choreographers are the creative administrators of any activity or piece in a motion, like a dance or theater choreography. They are in charge of designing the structure of the piece, the notations, the narration, the specification of movements and finally, provide their support in the execution of the composition. Nowadays, choreographers are found in a range of other fields other than dance including ice skating, choirs, theatre, synchronized sports, cheerleading, cinematography and gymnastics. Dance choreography, specifically known as dance composition, is one of the largest originators of choreographers, who specialize in a plethora of dance forms including jazz, ballet, contemporary, Latin American dances, folk dances, classical dances, Oriental dance forms etc. In dance choreography, choreographers are given the responsibility of designing a dance piece, arranging the sequence of steps, understanding the dancers’ weaknesses and strengths, honing the dancers’ skills and extracting the best from them in a composition. This is either done by applying either one or two of the basic choreographic methods viz., improvisation or planned choreography. Popular choreographers include Debbie Allen, Bob Avian, Lea Anderson, Fred Astaire and Paula Abdul to name a few. Scroll down for a more comprehensive list of choreographers. Explore details about them in their biographies, which include trivia, interesting facts, timeline and life history.

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

Michael Jackson
8
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
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

Fred Astaire
6
Famous As: Actor
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

Eugene Curran Kelly
4
Famous As: Actor, Dancer
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.

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 4 Mikhail Baryshnikov

Mikhail Baryshnikov
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Famous As: Choreographer, Dance
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.

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 5 Gregory Hines

Gregory Hines
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Famous As: Dancer, Choreographer and Actor
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.

 6 Benjamin Millepied

Benjamin Millepied
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Famous As: Choreographer
Birthdate: June 15, 1977
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Bordeaux, France
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.

 7 Rudolf Nureyev

Rudolf Nureyev
3
Famous As: Ballet Dancer & Choreographer
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.

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 8 Isadora Duncan

Isadora Duncan
4
Famous As: Dancer & Choreographer
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. 

 9 Jennifer Lopez

Jennifer Lopez
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Famous As: Singer, Actress, Dancer
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.

 10 Paula Abdul

Paula Abdul
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Famous As: Her Album 'Forever Your Girl' was One of The Most Successful Albums in 1988
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.

 11 Julianne Hough

Julianne Hough
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Famous As: Judge on Dancing with the Stars
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.

 12 Martha Graham

Martha Graham
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Famous As: Modern dancer and choreographer
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.  

 13 Derek Hough

Derek Hough
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Famous As: Professional Dancer
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.

 14 Abby Lee Miller

Abby Lee Miller
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Famous As: Dance Instructor
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.

 15 Debbie Allen

Debbie Allen
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Famous As: Actress
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. 

 16 Lisa Niemi

Lisa Niemi
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Famous As: Actress, Director
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.

 17 Rosie Perez

Rosie Perez
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Famous As: Actress
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.

 18 Todrick Hall

Todrick Hall
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Famous As: Singer
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.

 19 Harry Shum Jr.

Harry Shum Jr.
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Famous As: Actor
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.

 20 Margot Fonteyn

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

 21 Rob Marshall

Rob Marshall
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Famous As: Director
Birthdate: October 17, 1960
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Madison, Wisconsin, USA

 22 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
George Balanchine was a Georgian-American ballet choreographer. One of the most prominent choreographers of the 20th century, Balanchine won several prestigious awards like the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1983. Referred to as the father of American ballet, Balanchine is credited with co-founding the New York City Ballet. He was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame in 1988.

 23 Vaslav Nijinsky

Vaslav Nijinsky
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Famous As: Ballet dancer
Birthdate: March 12, 1889
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Kyiv, Ukraine
Died: April 8, 1950

Vaslav Nijinsky was a ballet dancer and choreographer. He is counted among the greatest male dancers of the early 20th century. He was known for the intensity of his characterizations. He was brilliant and could dance en pointe, a rare skill few male dancers of his era possessed. He suffered from mental health issues in his later life. 

 24 Cheryl Burke

Cheryl Burke
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Famous As: Dancer
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.

 25 Ashley Roberts

Ashley Roberts
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Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: September 14, 1981
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Phoenix, Arizona, USA

 26 Carrie Ann Inaba

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

 27 Darcey Bussell

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

 28 Jerome Robbins

Jerome Robbins
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Famous As: Dance Choreographer
Birthdate: October 11, 1918
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Manhattan
Died: July 29, 1998

 29 Larry Bourgeois

Larry Bourgeois
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Famous As: Dancer
Birthdate: December 6, 1988
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Sarcelles

Larry Bourgeois became an international sensation performing as part of the hip-hop dance duo Les Twins, with his identical twin brother, Laurent Bourgeois. The French-born dancer first gained fame when a YouTube video of the duo went viral in the U.S. He has also modeled at the Paris Fashion Week.

 30 Twyla Tharp

Twyla Tharp
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Famous As: Dancer and Choreographer
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.

 31 Alyssa Edwards

Alyssa Edwards
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Famous As: Drag Performer
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.

 32 Savion Glover

Savion Glover
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Famous As: Actor, Choreographer, Television actor, Stage actor
Birthdate: November 19, 1973
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Newark

 33 Witney Carson

Witney Carson
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Famous As: Dancer. Choreographer
Birthdate: October 17, 1993
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: American Fork, Utah, United States

 34 Q'orianka Kilcher

Q'orianka Kilcher
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: February 11, 1990
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Schweigmatt, Baden-W├╝rttemberg, Germany

Q'orianka Kilcher is an American actress, activist, and singer. She is best known for playing important characters in films like The New World and Princess Kaiulani. As an activist, Kilcher has been visiting universities and colleges and delivering speeches at organizations like Amnesty International. 

 35 Pawan Kalyan

Pawan Kalyan
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Famous As: Film director, Actor, Choreographer, Screenwriter
Birthdate: September 2, 1971
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Bapatla

Pawan Kalyan is an Indian actor, screenwriter, director, stunt coordinator, politician, and philanthropist. Best known for his work in the Telugu film industry, Pawan Kalyan is one of the most popular actors of his generation. He is also known for his humanitarian work; he is credited with establishing a charitable organization called Common Man Protection Force.

 36 Tony Jaa

Tony Jaa
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: February 5, 1976
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Surin, Thailand

 37 Katherine LaNasa

Katherine LaNasa
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Famous As: Actress
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.

 38 Gates McFadden

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

 39 Katherine Dunham

Katherine Dunham
3
Famous As: Dancer, Choreographer
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.

 40 Bruno Tonioli

Bruno Tonioli
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Famous As: Choreographer
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.

 41 Merce Cunningham

Merce Cunningham
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Famous As: Dancer and Choreographer
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.

 42 Pasha Kovalev

Pasha Kovalev
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Famous As: Ballroom and Latin Dancer, Best Known as Participant of 'So You Think You Can Dance'
Birthdate: January 19, 1980
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Komsomolsk-on-Amur, Russia
Pasha Kovalev is a Russian ballroom and Latin dancer. He soared to fame with the shows So You Think You Can Dance and Strictly Come Dancing. He had earlier moved to the U.S. with his dance partner Anya Garnis. He has also appeared in the Broadway production Burn the Floor.

 43 Peta Murgatroyd

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

 44 Prabhu Deva

Prabhu Deva
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Famous As: Film director, Actor, Choreographer, Dancer
Birthdate: April 3, 1973
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Mysore

Born Prabhu Sundaram, Prabhu Deva soared to fame with the song Mukkabla from Kadhalan. Born to a movie choreographer father, he followed in his footsteps to learn classical dance at an early age. The Padma Shri- and two-time National Award-winning dancer later gravitated to acting and direction.

 45 Mark Ballas

Mark Ballas
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Famous As: Singer, Dancer, Choreographer, Stage actor, Guitarist
Birthdate: May 24, 1986
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Houston

 46 Ann Reinking

Ann Reinking
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Famous As: Actor, Choreographer, Dancer, Stage actor
Birthdate: November 10, 1949
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Seattle

 47 Kimberly Wyatt

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

 48 Kevin Clifton

Kevin Clifton
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Famous As: Professional Dancer
Birthdate: October 13, 1982
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Waltham, United Kingdom
Professional dancer Kevin Clifton won Strictly Come Dancing with partner Stacey Dooley in 2018. He had started learning Latin and ballroom dance as a child and competed across the world with his sister, Joanne. The former youth world number 1 dancer was ranked seventh in the world when he retired.

 49 Kenny Ortega

Kenny Ortega
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Famous As: Filmmaker
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. 

 50 Loie Fuller

Loie Fuller
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Famous As: Actor, Lighting designer, Choreographer, Artist, Dancer, Stage actor, Model
Birthdate: January 15, 1862
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Illinois
Died: January 1, 1928