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Famous Male Ballet Dancers

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Updated February 13, 2020 189.7k views 72 items

 

List of famous male ballet dancers, listed by their level of prominence with photos when available. This greatest male ballet dancers list contains the most prominent and top males known for being ballet dancers. Ballet fans will also enjoy our lists of famous female ballerinas and celebrities who danced ballet. There are thousand of males working as ballet dancers in the world, but this list highlights only the most notable ones. Historic ballet dancers have worked hard to become the best that they can be, so if you're a male aspiring to be a ballet dancer then the people below should give you inspiration.

Examples of male ballerinas (ballerinos) on this list include Rudolf Nureyev, Mikail Baryshnikov, and more. Featuring the most popular Russian, English, and other male ballet dancers, this list has many recognizable names. 

While this isn't a list of all male ballet dancers, it does answer the questions "Who are the most famous male ballet dancers?" and "Who are the best male ballet dancers?"

 

Rudolf Nureyev is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Famous Male Ballet Dancers
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Rudolf Khametovich Nureyev ( NEWR-ee-ef, nyuurr-AY-ef; Tatar: Рудольф Хәмит улы Нуриев; Russian: Рудо́льф Хаме́тович Нуре́ев, IPA: [rʊˈdolʲf nʊˈrʲejɪf]; 17 March 1938 – 6 January 1993) was a Soviet ballet dancer and choreographer. Nureyev is regarded by some as the greatest male ballet dancer of his generation.Nureyev was born on a Trans-Siberian train near Irkutsk, Siberia, Soviet Union to a Bashkir-tatar family. He began his early career with the Mariinsky Ballet in St. Petersburg. He defected from the Soviet Union to the West in 1961, despite KGB efforts to stop him. This was the first defection of a Soviet artist during the Cold War, and it created an international sensation. He went on ...more on Wikipedia

Age: Dec. at 55 (1938-1993)

Birthplace: Eurasia, Russia, Irkutsk

Nationality: Austria, United Kingdom, Russia

Profession: Ballet Dancer, Ballet master, Screenwriter, Choreographer, Actor, + more

Schools: Vaganova Ballet Academy, Mariinsky Ballet

Credits: Valentino, Don Quixote, Exposed, Romeo and Juliet, I am a Dancer, + more

Vaslav Nijinsky is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Famous Male Ballet Dancers
Photo: Metaweb (FB)/Public domain

Vaslav (or Vatslav) Nijinsky (; Russian: Ва́цлав Фоми́ч Нижи́нский, tr. Václav Fomíč Nižínskij, IPA: [ˈvatsləf fɐˈmʲitɕ nʲɪˈʐɨnskʲɪj]; Polish: Wacław Niżyński, IPA: [ˈvatswaf ɲiˈʐɨj̃skʲi]; 12 March 1889/1890 – 8 April 1950) was a ballet dancer and choreographer cited as the greatest male dancer of the early 20th century. Born in Kiev to Polish parents, Nijinsky grew up in Imperial Russia but considered himself to be Polish. He was celebrated for his virtuosity and for the depth and intensity of his characterizations. He could dance en pointe, a rare skill among male dancers at the time and was admired for his seemingly gravity-defying leaps. Nijinsky was introduced to dance by his parents, ...more on Wikipedia

Age: Dec. at 60 (1890-1950)

Birthplace: Kiev, Ukrainian SSR

Nationality: Ukraine

Profession: Ballet Dancer, Choreographer

Schools: Vaganova Ballet Academy

Credits: The Diaries of Vaslav Nijinsky

Mikhail Baryshnikov is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Famous Male Ballet Dancers
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Mikhail Nikolayevich Baryshnikov (Russian: Михаи́л Никола́евич Бары́шников, IPA: [mʲɪxɐˈil bɐrɨʂˈnʲɪkəf]; Latvian: Mihails Barišņikovs; born January 27, 1948), nicknamed "Misha" (Russian diminutive of the name "Mikhail"), is a Soviet-born Russian and American dancer, choreographer, and actor. He is often cited alongside Vaslav Nijinsky, Rudolf Nureyev and Vladimir Vasiliev as one of the greatest male ballet dancers in history. Born in Riga, Latvian SSR, Baryshnikov had a promising start in the Kirov Ballet in Leningrad before defecting to Canada in 1974 for more opportunities in western dance. After freelancing with many companies, he joined the New York City Ballet as a principal dancer to ...more on Wikipedia

Age: 71

Birthplace: Riga, Latvia

Nationality: United States of America, Russia

Profession: Ballet Dancer, Television producer, Choreographer, Actor

Schools: Vaganova Ballet Academy

Credits: Sex and the City, The Turning Point, White Nights, Great Performances, Company Business, + more

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Anthony Dowell is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Famous Male Ballet Dancers
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Sir Anthony James Dowell (born 16 February 1943) is a retired British ballet dancer and a former artistic director of the Royal Ballet. He is widely recognized as one of the great danseurs nobles of the twentieth century. ...more on Wikipedia

Age: 76

Birthplace: England, London

Profession: Ballet master

Schools: Royal Ballet School

Credits: Valentino, Royal Ballet School: Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf, Highlights From the Royal Ballet, Swan Lake: The Royal Ballet, Natasha: Natalia Makarova, + more