Famous Russian 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.

Vote for Your Favourite Russian Ballet Dancers

 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 
Anna Pavlova
(Ballet dancer)

Anna Pavlova
4
Birthdate: February 12, 1881
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Saint Petersburg, Russia
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.

 3 
Rudolf Nureyev
(Choreographer & One of the Greatest Male Ballet Dancers of His Generation)

Rudolf Nureyev
10
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.

Recommended Lists:

 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 
Vaslav Nijinsky
(Ballet dancer)

Vaslav Nijinsky
4
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. 

 6 
Galina Ulanova
(Ballet Dancer, Choreographer)

Galina Ulanova
3
Birthdate: January 8, 1910
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Saint Petersburg, Russia
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.

 7 

Svetlana Zakharova
3
Birthdate: June 10, 1979
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Lutsk, Ukraine

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.

You May Like

 8 
Maya Plisetskaya
(Former ballet dancer, choreographer)

Maya Plisetskaya
3
Birthdate: November 20, 1925
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Moscow, Russia
Died: May 2, 2015

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. 

 9 
Sergei Diaghilev
(Art Critic)

Sergei Diaghilev
4
Birthdate: March 31, 1872
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Chudovsky District, Russia
Died: August 19, 1929

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.

 10 
Olga Khokhlova
(Ballet dancer)

Olga Khokhlova
4
Birthdate: June 17, 1891
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Nizhyn, Ukraine
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.

 11 
Natalia Osipova
(Ballet dancer)

Natalia Osipova
3
Birthdate: May 18, 1986
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Moscow, Russia

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. 

 12 
Sergei Polunin
(Ballet Dancer)

Sergei Polunin
4
Birthdate: November 20, 1989
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Kherson, Ukraine

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. 

 13 
Mathilde Kschessinska
(Ballerina from the Polish noble family Krzesiński)

Mathilde Kschessinska
3
Birthdate: August 18, 1872
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Ligovo
Died: June 7, 1971

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. 

 14 
Natalia Makarova
(Ballet dancer, Choreographer)

Natalia Makarova
3
Birthdate: November 21, 1940
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Saint Petersburg, Russia

 15 
Diana Vishneva
(Ballet Dancer)

Diana Vishneva
3
Birthdate: July 13, 1976
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Saint Petersburg, Russia

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.

 16 
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.

 17 
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.

 18 
Lydia Lopokova
(Ballet dancer)

Lydia Lopokova
3
Birthdate: October 21, 1891
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Saint Petersburg, Russian
Died: June 8, 1981

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.

 19 
Maria Khoreva
(Ballet dancer)

Maria Khoreva
3
Birthdate: July 3, 2000
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Saint Petersburg, Russia

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.

 20 
Lyudmila Vlasova
(Ballet dancer, Actress)

Lyudmila Vlasova
3
Birthdate: March 2, 1942
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Moscow, Russia

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.

 21 
Ida Rubinstein
(Former ballet Russes dancer)

Ida Rubinstein
3
Birthdate: October 3, 1883
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Kharkiv, Ukraine
Died: September 20, 1960

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.

 22 
Kseniya Ryabinkina
(Ballet Dancer)

Kseniya Ryabinkina
3
Birthdate: September 4, 1945
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Moscow, Russia

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.

 23 
Anastasia Volochkova
(Ballet Dancer)

Anastasia Volochkova
3
Birthdate: January 20, 1976
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Saint Petersburg, Russia

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.

 24 
Léonide Massine
(Former choreographer, ballet dancer who created the world's first symphonic ballet, Les Présages)

Léonide Massine
3
Birthdate: August 9, 1896
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Moscow, Russia
Died: March 15, 1979

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.

 25 

Elena Grinenko
3
Birthdate: December 14, 1976
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Moscow, Russia

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.

 26 
Ulyana Lopatkina
(Choreographer, Ballet dancer)

Ulyana Lopatkina
3
Birthdate: October 23, 1973
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Kerch

 27 
Tamara Karsavina
(Prima Ballerina)

Tamara Karsavina
3
Birthdate: March 9, 1885
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Saint Petersburg, Russia
Died: May 26, 1978

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.

 28 
Sofya Skya
(Actress)

Sofya Skya
3
Birthdate: August 12, 1987
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Saint Petersburg, Russia

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.

 29 
Irina Baronova
(Ballerina)

Irina Baronova
3
Birthdate: March 13, 1919
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Saint Petersburg, Russia
Died: June 28, 2008

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.

 30 

Vladimir Vasiliev
3
Birthdate: April 18, 1940
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Moscow, Russia

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.

 31 
Agrippina Vaganova
(Ballet Teacher)

Agrippina Vaganova
2
Birthdate: June 26, 1879
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Saint Petersburg, Russia
Died: November 5, 1951

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.

 32 
Evgenia Obraztsova
(Ballet dancer)

Evgenia Obraztsova
3
Birthdate: January 18, 1984
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Leningrad, Soviet Union

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.  

 33 
Nina Kaptsova
(Ballet dancer)

Nina Kaptsova
3
Birthdate: October 16, 1978
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Rostov-on-Don, Russia

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.

 34 
Alina Somova
(Ballet dancer)

Alina Somova
2
Birthdate: October 22, 1985
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Saint Petersburg, Russia

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.

 35 
Vadim Muntagirov
(Ballet dancer)

Vadim Muntagirov
2
Birthdate: 1990 AD
Birthplace: Chelyabinsk, Russia

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.

 36 
Olga Lomonosova
(Actress, Ballet dancer)

Olga Lomonosova
2
Birthdate: May 18, 1978
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Donetsk, Ukraine

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.

 37 

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.

 38 
Daniil Simkin
(Ballet Dancer)

Daniil Simkin
2
Birthdate: October 12, 1987
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Novosibirsk, Russia

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.

 39 
Ivan Vasiliev
(Ballet dancer, Choreographer)

Ivan Vasiliev
0
Birthdate: January 9, 1989
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Vladivostok, Russia

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.

 40 

Ekaterina Maximova
2
Birthdate: February 1, 1939
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Moscow, Russia
Died: April 28, 2009

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.

 41 
Alexander Pushkin
(Ballet Dancer)

Alexander Pushkin
2
Birthdate: September 7, 1907
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Staritsky Uyezd, Russia
Died: March 20, 1970

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.

 42 
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.

 43 
Ekaterina Shchelkanova
(Ballet dancer)

Ekaterina Shchelkanova
2
Birthdate: May 2, 1970
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Saint Petersburg, Russia

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.

 44 
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.

 45 

Yury Grigorovich
2
Birthdate: January 2, 1927
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: St. Petersburg, Russia

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.

 46 
Svetlana Lloyd
(Ballet dancer)

Svetlana Lloyd
2
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: Egypt

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.

 47 
Natalia Dudinskaya
(Prima ballerina)

Natalia Dudinskaya
2
Birthdate: August 21, 1912
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Kharkiv, Ukraine
Died: January 29, 2003

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.

 48 

Olga Preobrajenska
2
Birthdate: February 2, 1871
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: St. Petersburg, Russia
Died: December 27, 1962

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.

 49 

Olga Lepeshinskaya
2
Birthdate: September 28, 1916
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Kyiv, Ukraine
Died: December 20, 2008

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.

 50 

Natalia Bessmertnova
2
Birthdate: July 19, 1941
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Moscow, Russia
Died: February 19, 2008

Natalia Bessmertnova was a Soviet ballet dancer best remembered for her association with the popular ballet company, The Bolshoi Ballet, where she served as a prima ballerina for 30 years. Bessmertnova, who was ousted from the company in 1995, played an important role in a historic strike that canceled several scheduled performances. She was awarded the Lenin Prize in 1986.