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.
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.
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.
Sergei Diaghilev was a Russian ballet impresario, patron, and art critic. He is credited with founding the popular ballet company Ballets Russes, which has produced some of the greatest and popular choreographers and dancers like Tamara Karsavina, Lydia Sokolova, Serge Lifar, and Alicia Markova. Sergei Diaghilev is remembered for placing the needs of his company and dancers above his own.
Svetlana Zakharova is a Russian ballet dancer best known for her association with the popular classical ballet company, Bolshoi Ballet. Zakharova achieved international recognition in the 2000s, performing as a principal dancer in places like France. She is the first Russian principal dancer to perform in Paris. She has also hosted TV programs and appeared in the 2006 documentary Ballerina.
Maya Plisetskaya was a legendary Soviet and Russian ballerina. Growing up in a war-torn region, she had a difficult childhood. She sought solace in ballet and pursued a career as a dancer. She was remarkably fluid in her movements and soon became internationally renowned. She later became a ballet director and choreographer. She was married to composer Rodion Shchedrin.
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.
Sergei Polunin is a Soviet-born ballet dancer, model, and actor. He is of mixed ethnicity, but has "always regarded himself as Russian". He started training in gymnastics at the age of four and then switched to ballet. At 19, he became the Royal Ballet's youngest ever principal dancer. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Prix de Lausanne.
Natalia Osipova is a Russian ballerina. She is currently a principal ballerina with The Royal Ballet in London. Beginning her formal ballet training at the age of nine, she proceeded to study at the Moscow State Academy of Choreography. She began her professional career at 18 and has since performed in several musicals. She has won many awards.
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.
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.
Mathilde Kschessinska was a Russian ballerina hailing from the Polish noble family Krzesiński. She was the daughter of Feliks Krzesiński, who danced in Saint Petersburg. As a young woman, she married Grand Duke Andrei Vladimirovich of Russia. She later opened her own ballet school and trained students, such as Margot Fonteyn, Alicia Markova, and André Eglevsky.
Diana Vishneva is a Russian ballerina who is currently associated with the Mariinsky Ballet where she is a principal dancer. Over the years, Vishneva has won several prestigious awards, such as the People's Artist of Russia, State Prize of Russia, and the Golden Mask theatre prize.
Apart from being a renowned Russian ballerina, Lydia Lopokova was also the wife of well-known economist John Maynard Keynes and was thus known as Lady Keynes. She toured across Europe and America and appeared in plays such as The Lady of the Slipper and Age of Reason.
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.
Russian ballet prodigy and the first soloist of the Mariinsky Ballet, Maria Khoreva bagged a Nike endorsement even before graduating from the Vaganova Ballet Academy. She is a popular face on Instagram, too, where she is known as marachok. She has also penned a book named Teach Me Ballet.
Soviet ballet dancer Lyudmila Vlasova was raised singlehandedly by her mother, who was part of the Red Army Theater. Known for her long stint with the Bolshoi Theater, she was also praised for her performances with her partner and husband Alexander Godunov, a renowned ballet dancer himself.
Ida Rubinstein was a Russian dancer, art patron, and actress. She is best remembered for performing with the popular itinerant ballet company, the Ballets Russes. She also served as a subject for Russian painter Valentin Alexandrovich Serov's portrait Salomé.
Kseniya Ryabinkina is a Russian ballet dancer and actress. She is best known for her portrayal of Marina, a circus trapeze artiste, in the 1970 classic Bollywood film Mera Naam Joker. In addition to being an actress and ballerina, Kseniya Ryabinkina also mentors young artists and dancers in Russia.
Léonide Massine was a Russian ballet dancer and choreographer who created Les Présages, the first symphonic ballet in the world. Between 1915 and 1921, Massine worked at Sergei Diaghilev's popular company Ballets Russes where he served as the principal choreographer. In 2002, Léonide Massine was inducted into the National Museum of Dance and Hall of Fame.
Anastasia Volochkova is a Russian former prima ballerina who was trained by Natalia Dudinskaya at the prestigious Vaganova Ballet Academy. Volochkova achieved popularity in 1996 when she won the first prize at the Lifar International Ballet Competition. Apart from her career as a dancer, Anastasia Volochkova has also appeared in magazines and works as an actress and model.
Tamara Karsavina was a Russian ballet dancer who served as a principal artist at Sergei Diaghilev's popular company The Ballets Russes. Karsavina also taught ballet and is credited with co-founding modern British ballet. After settling in Britain, Tamara Karsavina popularized the dance form in Britain and helped establish The Royal Academy of Dance as well as The Royal Ballet.
Irina Baronova was a Russian actress and ballet dancer whose popularity peaked during the 1930s when she came to be known as one of the Original Ballet Russe's Baby Ballerinas along with Irina Baronova and Tatiana Riabouchinska. In 2005, she appeared in a documentary titled Ballets Russes and also published her autobiography in the same year.
Sofya Skya is a Russian ballet dancer, actress, and acting coach. Renowned for her good looks, Skya has won a number of beauty contests and pageants. She also supports various charity organizations and events like Meet For Charity.
Elena Grinenko is a ballroom dancer, instructor, and choreographer. Grinenko is best known for her participation in the popular American dance competition TV series, Dancing with the Stars. As a ballroom dancer, Elena Grinenko competes in national and world Championships.
The person behind the development of the Vaganova method, Agrippina Vaganova was a significant name in the Russian ballet scene. She also penned Fundamentals of the Classical Dance, which is the most-followed text on ballet. At Mariinsky Ballet, she was known as the queen of variations.
Vladimir Vasiliev is a ballet dancer and choreographer. From 1995 to 2000, Vasiliev worked at the internationally acclaimed ballet company Bolshoi Ballet where he served as a principal dancer and director. Renowned for his powerful leaps and turns, Vasiliev won the People's Artist of the USSR in 1973. He has also received other prestigious awards like the Russian State Prize.
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.
Russian ballerina Evgenia Obraztsova is best known for her performances as Princess Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty, as Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, and as Odette/Odile in Swan Lake. Born into a family of ballet dancers, she joined the Vaganova Academy and then performed as part of the Mariinsky Ballet.
Born into ballet family, Russian-born American ballet dancer Daniil Simkin debuted on stage at the age of six, dancing alongside his father. Later trained by his mother, he began his career at nineteen, eventually becoming the principal dancer with American Ballet Theatre. Currently based in Berlin, he has also joined Berlin State Ballet, concurrently retaining his position with the former.
Vadim Muntagirov is now the principal dancer at London’s The Royal Ballet and has previously been with the English National Ballet. Best known for his title role in Apollo, one of the greatest male performances in ballet history, he has also made guest appearances at Paris Opera and Mariinsky.
Russian ballerina Alina Somova was initially pushed into sports by her mother but later moved to ballet. Now the principal dancer at the Mariinsky Ballet, she has also won many awards, such as a Golden Mask for her performance as the Tsar-Maiden in the ballet The Little Humpbacked Horse.
Nina Kaptsova is a Russian ballet dancer who is currently associated with the internationally acclaimed dance company, Bolshoi Ballet. Over the course of her career, Kaptsova has played various roles in popular ballet acts. She has also won prestigious awards and prizes.
Remembered as a legendary ballet master, Alexander Pushkin was also great ballet dancer, depicting numerous leading roles with the internationally renowned Kirov Ballet Company from 1925 to 1953. Sometime in 1940s, he also took up teaching, guiding nearly all the leading male dancers of the Kirov Ballet through the 1960s, most well-known among them being Rudolf Nureyev and Mikhail Baryshnikov.
While Olga Lomonosova initially gained fame as a ballerina and also excelled in rhythmic gymnastics, she later ventured into acting. Best known for her performances as Kira Voropayeva in the series Not Born Beautiful and the title role in the film Masha, she has also appeared in the Netflix series Better than Us.
Russian ballerina Ekaterina Maximova is best remembered for her partnership with her husband Vladimir Vasiliev, a star ballet dancer himself. She started her career with performances such as that of Masha in The Nutcracker and served as a prima ballerina of the Bolshoi Theatre for 3 decades.
Bolshoi Ballet principal dancer Ivan Vasiliev is best known for his performances in ballets such as Don Quixote and The Nutcracker. Named an Honoured Artist of Russia, he has also won several awards, such as the Soul of Dance Prize and the International Dance Association Prize.
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.
Best known for her role of Hunyak, the death row prisoner, in the musical Chicago, Ekaterina Shchelkanova is a popular Russian ballerina and actor. She is also the woman behind the Open World Dance Foundation, was part of the American Ballet Theatre, and was part of films such as Center Stage.
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.
Natalia Dudinskaya was a Russian ballet dancer who dominated the Imperial Russian Ballet between the 1930s and the 1950s. Dudinskaya, who originated many roles during her illustrious career, won four Stalin Prizes. She also received the prestigious People's Artist of the USSR award in 1957. After her retirement, Natalia Dudinskaya served as a teacher and taught at the Vaganova Institute.
Yury Grigorovich is a Soviet and Russian choreographer and dancer. One of the most popular and successful ballet dancers of his generation, Grigorovich dominated the Russian ballet scene for over three decades. Grigorovich has also headed the juries of several international competitions in classical ballet. He has also received several awards, such as the Lenin Prize and Ludvig Nobel Prize.
Olga Preobrajenska was a Russian ballet dancer who worked at the popular Imperial Russian Ballet. Although she was born with a crooked spine, Preobrajenska went on to pursue her dream of becoming a prima ballerina. Remembered for her turnout and toe point, Preobrajenska exhibited the desired grace of a dancer with ease. She also taught popular ballerinas like Irina Baronova.
Olga Lepeshinskaya is not just remembered for her association with the Bolshoi Theatre but also for her Stalin Prize-winning performance in Flames of Paris. She had also chaired ballet competitions in Moscow. Politically conscious, she also performed for the Red Army soldiers during World War II.
Once an in-house model for Christian Dior, Svetlana Lloyd later gained fame for flaunting Saint Laurent's Trapeze dress. Though trained as a ballet dancer initially, Lloyd was spotted by Dior when she went to the fashion house to apply for a receptionist’s job. Her towering height helped her bag regular projects.
The first Soviet-trained prima ballerina, Marina Semyonova demonstrated an unusual style of ballet that influenced a generation of dancers. She won the Stalin Prize in 1941 when she was associated with the Bolshoi Theatre. She stayed with the company after retiring and became one of the most prominent teachers. In 1975, Semyonova was named a People's Artist of the USSR.