1. Alicia Markova, 2. Anna Pavlova, 3. Margot Fonteyn, 4. Yuanyuan Tan, 5. Sylvie Guillem, 6. Misty Copeland, 7. Carlos Acosta, 8. George Balanchine, 9. Rudolf Nureyev, 10. Mikhail Baryshnikov. Ballet has a very long history, and it would not be as well-known as it is now if it were not for the great dancers who paved the path for us. There are some ballet dancers who have become absolute legends in this art field. The ballet dancers on this list have all worked hard to become well-known ballet dancers in their respective eras. To find out more information about this, Toplist compiled this list of the best ballet dancers of all time for you!
- Alicia Markova
- Anna Pavlova
- Margot Fonteyn
- Yuanyuan Tan
- Sylvie Guillem
- Misty Copeland
- Carlos Acosta
- George Balanchine
- Rudolf Nureyev
- Mikhail Baryshnikov
Alicia Markova is the first ballet dancer on the list of the best ballet dancers of all time. Dame Alicia Markova, whose original name was Lilian Alicia Marks, was a British ballerina. She is best known for her ethereal lightness and poetic delicacy. She was born on December 1, 1910, in London, England, and died on December 2, 2004, in Bath.
Alicia Markova was the first woman to be named “prima ballerina assoluta” in the history of ballet. She made her debut with Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes at the age of 14 and was regarded as one of the greatest ballet dancers of the twentieth century. Alicia Markova starred in a number of leading roles, including Giselle, Swan Lake, and The Nutcracker. Moreover, Alicia Markova was a member of the Royal Ballet, Rambert Dance Company, and American Ballet Theatre’s founding companies.
Born: December 1, 1910
Died: December 2, 2004
Alicia Markova. Photo: jwa.org
Alicia Markova. Photo: nycdancestuff.wordpress.com
Anna Pavlova is regarded as one of the best classical ballet dancers of her generation. She is well known for her creation of The Dying Swan and is a Russian ballet dancer who is still well-known today. Anna Pavlova began her training at the Imperial Ballet School when she was ten years old. Her lengthy limbs, sharply arched feet, and slender ankles were mocked at school since they contrasted with the petite and compact body form that dancers were favored for at the time. She received her diploma at the age of 18 and made her stage debut at the Mariinsky Theatre.
Anna Pavlova was also the first dancer to travel the globe. Due to her slender ankles, Pavlova strengthened her pointe shoes by putting a piece of firm leather on the sole for support. It is known as the shank, and it is the forerunner of current pointe shoes.
Born: February 12, 1881
Died: January 23, 1931
Anna Pavlova in 1913. Photo: afisha.london
Anna Pavlova. Photo: afisha.london
Margot Fonteyn’s dance career was revived in 1965 when she teamed up with Rudolf Nureyev, a 19-year-old dancer. Their dance partnership became an international sensation, with each of them bringing out the best in the other. It was said that while playing Juliet alongside Nureyev as Romeo, she accomplished her greatest artistic victory, receiving 43 curtain calls in less than 40 minutes.
Born: May 18, 1919
Died: February 21, 1991
Margot Fonteyn. Photo: freedoflondon.com
Margot Fonteyn. Photo: hubpages.com
Yuanyuan Tan is the next ballerina on the list of the best ballet dancers of all time. Yuanyuan Tan is a Chinese ballet dancer who was born in 1976. Yuanyuan Tan, a prominent dancer, was slender and graceful. She began her dance studies at Shanghai Dance School and has won numerous international honors, including a gold medal at the 1st Japan International Dance Competition and the Nijinsky Award, as well as a gold medal at the 5th International Ballet in Paris. She was afterward chosen to pursue her education in Stuttgart, Germany.
Yuanyuan Tan began her career as a soloist with the San Francisco Ballet at the age of 18, and at the age of 20, she became the company’s youngest lead dancer. In the summer of 2021, she will celebrate her 25th anniversary as the company’s longest-serving lead dancer. Her physical strength and grace are responsible for her long career.
Born: February 14, 1976 (age 45)
Yuanyuan Tan. Photo: news.cgtn.com
Yuanyuan Tan. Photo: koloro.livejournal.com
Sylvie Guillem was one of the most beloved ballerinas in France, well remembered for her appearances in Giselle, Swan Lake, and Don Quixote. She had been involved in gymnastics classes since she was a child, and it was evident that she possessed a natural skill and gift for flexibility and muscular movements.
Sylvie Guillem attracted the director’s interest at the Paris Opera Ballet School, where she studied from 1977 to 1980. She joined the Paris Opera Ballet Company in 1981 and has been on a fast track to success since then. After two years with the company, she received her first solo part as the Queen of Driads in Don Quixote at the age of 17. Rudolf Nureyev, the director at the moment, made Guillem an étoile. Sylvie Guillem joined the Royal Dance as a principal guest artist, which allowed her to branch out beyond ballet.
Born: February 23, 1965 (age 56)
Sylvie Guillem. Photo: japantimes.co.jp
Sylvie Guillem. Photo: ballerinadiary.tumblr.com
Misty Copeland is an American ballet dancer who was born in 1982. Her tale defies all expectations since she began ballet at the age of 13 and went on to become the first African-American main dancer in the American Ballet Theatre’s 75-year history.
As a child, Misty Copeland had star potential. She participated in two summer workshops with ABT before joining the company as an official member in 2000 and becoming a soloist in 2007. She is a world-renowned public speaker, celebrity spokeswoman, and author, in addition to being a world-class dancer. In 2014, she signed a sponsorship deal with Under Armour and launched her own dancewear line, M by Misty. She was named one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People in the World the following year. She is currently one of the most well-known female ballet dancers and role models.
Born: September 10, 1982 (age 39)
Misty Copeland. Photo: sikids.com
Misty Copeland. Photo: latimes.com
Carlos Acosta was born as the eleventh child into an impoverished Cuban household. His father enrolled him in a state-funded dance school to keep him out of trouble because he was a very active child. He began his career as a principal dancer with the English National Ballet, the National Ballet of Cuba, and the Houston Ballet. He joined the Royal Ballet in 1998 and was named director of the Birmingham Royal Ballet in January 2020.
Throughout Carlos Acosta’s ballet career, he gained many award-winning works, including “Tocororo” and “Carlos Acosta and Friends of the Royal Ballet”. He also choreographed the Royal Ballet’s Don Quixote and Carmen, as well as the West End’s latest Guys and Dolls performance. Carlos Acosta is also the author of two books: Pig’s Foot, a work of fiction, and No Way Home, an honest and passionate autobiography.
Born: June 2, 1973 (age 48)
Nationality: Cuban – British
Carlos Acosta. Photo: theartsdesk.com
Carlos Acosta. Photo: independent.co.uk
George Balanchine is considered to be one of the founding fathers of American ballet. He was one of the co-founders of the New York City Ballet, the first American ballet school, and company to compete with its European counterparts. He studied music and composition at the Petrograd Conservatory as a child, where he collaborated with renowned composer Igor Stravinsky.
Born: January 22, 1904
Died: April 30, 1983
George Balanchine. Photo: playbill.com
George Balanchine. Photo: theatreinparis.com
Rudolf Nureyev was a well-known ballet dancer, choreographer, and director on the international stage. He was born in 1938 and is a Russian ballet dancer. During the Soviet era, Nureyev began his career with the Kirov Ballet, which is today known as the Mariinsky Ballet in Leningrad.
Rudolf Nureyev was a principal dancer with the Royal Ballet in London before becoming the Director of the Paris Opera Ballet from 1983 to 1989. Sylvie Guillem, a young ballet dancer, was one of the ballet dancers he continued to educate and advise. His interpretations of Swan Lake, Giselle, and La Bayadere have made him famous. His well-known collaboration with Margot Fonteyn, who was 19 years his senior, exemplifies his sophisticated creativity at such an early age.
Born: March 17, 1938
Died: January 6, 1993
Rudolf Nureyev. Photo: karsh.org
Rudolf Nureyev. Photo: deyoung.famsf.org
Mikhail Baryshnikov was a Russian-American ballet dancer who choreographed several landmark works, making him one of the 20th century’s finest ballet performers. Mikhail Baryshnikov was born in 1948 and paved the way for multidisciplinary and modern dance.
Mikhail Baryshnikov defected to the West in June, while on tour with the Bolshoi, and became a major dancer with the New York City Ballet. During his stint at the company, he worked with George Balanchine’s Russian movement style. He went on to become the creative director of the American Ballet Theatre, where he oversaw a number of his own artistic endeavors. He was a co-founder of the White Oak Dance Project in 1990. Mikhail Baryshnikov is currently a well-known and award-winning artist who has made significant contributions to dance, choreography, theatre, and television.
Born: January 27, 1948 (age 73)
Nationality: Russian – American
Mikhail Baryshnikov. Photo: britannica.com
Mikhail Baryshnikov. Photo: biography.com