My Top 6 Famous Ballet Dancers

Anna Pavlova

Anna Pavlova

Through history the ballet world has created many famous dancers who’ve shared their grace, beauty, charisma, and strength. Here’s my short list in no special order and why they’ve made my list.

Anna Pavlova (Russian, 1881-1931)

Not a typical small, compact dancer. Her world travels opened up the non-European world to classical ballet. She’s also credited with revising the pointe shoe. The role of the Dying Swan was created for her.

Margot Fonteyn (English, 1919-1991)

Beauty in motion who danced from 1935-1960s (but danced on occasion until age 60). I saw her dance in Seattle when I was a young teen.

Maria Tallchief (Osage Native American, 1925-2013)

Broke through the mold of dancers being Caucasian and petite, she was dynamic with great stage presence. Married Balanchine who created many roles for her.

Vaslav Nijinsky (Russian, 1890-1950)

Amazing jumper which great characterization skills, also a choreographer who only danced from 1908-1916. Numerous roles were created to show-off his abilities.

Mikhail Baryshnikov (Russian, 1948- )

At 5’6″ he was considered too short to become a lean dancer. Created complex dance moves. He merged dance, television, and film by appearing in numerous ballet and non ballet movies.

Misty Copeland (African-American, 1982- )

Her modern-day skill, grace, strength, and stage presence make her memorable. Another dancer who broke through the Causasian-dominated world of ballerinas.


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