Datugan Dance

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Famous Ballerinas Through History

Naturally any list of famous people from a particular area of the arts is open to debate but it is interesting to look back at the achievements and talent of a variety of individuals and see how you might consider them in a historical setting. Ballet has been a constant feature of the arts for many decades now and whilst accessible to most people in one form or another has changed very little in the classical sense.

Many people associate the best of classical ballet with the Russian ballet and with good reasons for it has consistently produced some of the outstanding dancers in the world. However numerous other countries have given rise to wonderful talent and so this article will highlight some of the best of these ballerinas.

Anna Pavlova

Anna was a Russian principal ballerina, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, with the Imperial Russian Ballet. She was highly regarded for her creation of the role of the dying swan and was an innovator in her day being the first ballerina to take the ballet on tour all over the world with her own company. Somewhat of a contemporary of Pavlova was the acclaimed English ballerina Alicia Markova who has been cited as one of the greatest ballerinas of the 20th century, touring abroad extensively to show case her talent.

Dame Margot Fonteyn

No list would be complete without another remarkable dancer from the same era, Dame Margot Fonteyn. This English ballerina is universally regarded as one of the greatest dancers of all time within the classical field and many a young girl was inspired to dedicate themselves to ballet as a result of watching the amazing gracefulness of Fonteyn. Uniquely she spent her whole career with The Royal Ballet in England and despite first dancing with Rudolf Nureyev when she was 42 and he a mere 24 their partnership is perhaps the most well known and loved.

Natalia Makarova

Natalia Makarova born in Soviet Russia has been admired as both a dancer and choreographer. Her artistry and versatility have earned her high praise and a ranking among some critics as the finest western ballerina of her day.

Maria Tallchief

She has been described as America’s first significant prima ballerina and also the first Native American to have the position. Born in 1925 she lived to see many changes in the world of dance she helped to shape and died at the age of 88 in 2013.

Kelsey Kirkland

An American ballerina born in 1952 was invited to join the New York Ballet at the tender age of 15 by the iconic George Balanchine. By the following year she was already dancing as a soloist and in 1972 was made a principal of the ballet. With her mentor Balanchine she went on to create many leading parts in some of his most famous ballets but eventually broke away from America and spent some time with the Royal Ballet. Perhaps equally famous for her tempestuous private life she was without doubt one of the most outstanding ballerinas of her generation.

This is a mere sample of the vast talent that comprises the female ballerinas of the last few decades which really warrants much closer consideration to get a full appreciation of the amazing talent that has entertained the world.