It looks so simple and easy to practice ballet, when we see the famous ballet dancers dancing elegantly; those ballet positions, turns and leaps, steps of standing on toes and leg movements. To be precise, ballet dancing can be considered as one of the hardest dance forms. If you read the biography of the famous ballet dancers, you will find majority of them started practicing the art of ballet at the early age of nine or ten. With years of practice and hard work only, one can be a master in ballet dancing.

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The art of dancing ballet originated in ancient times; the history of ballet can be traced back to the 15th century, when it was performed for the first time in Italy. Since then, it has spread to many other countries and become a popular dance form. Many of the famous ballet contributors and dancers are remembered and honored even today for their wonderful performances. Let’s take a look at some of the famous ballet dancers, who are known all over the world for their unique style of dancing.

Erik Bruhn (1928-1986): Erik Bruhn, a Danish ballet dancer, was born on October 3, 1928, in Copenhagen, Denmark. He joined the Royal Danish Ballet at the age of nine years practicing ballet. In his early career, he worked with the same Danish company and the Metropolitan Ballet in England. In 1949, he achieved the post of a soloist, the highest level in Danish ballet. In the same year, he joined the Ballet Theater in New York. His path breaking performance was the role of Albrecht in Giselle, in which he paired with Dame Alicia Markova. Some of his famous ballet performances include La Sylphide, Romeo and Juliet and Swan Lake. Other than a famous ballet dancer, Erik Bruhn was also a well-known actor, author, choreographer and company director.

Frederick Ashton (1904-1988): Frederick Ashton, a famous ballet dancer and choreographer, was born in Ecuador, South America. He was determined to become a ballet dancer after seeing the performance of the legendary dancer, Anna Pavlova. In 1919, he attended the Dover College, in England. He became a successful choreographer from his first ballet, ‘The Tragedy of Fashion’, in 1926. His other famous works include ballet, The Tragedy of Fashion, A Wedding Bouquet, Dante Sonata,Symphonic Variations, Cinderella, Sylvia and Ondine. Frederick Ashton was the founder choreographer of the Royal Ballet in London. In 1959, the Royal Academy of Dance awarded him the Coronation award; he also received Gold Medal in 1972, from the Carina Aria Foundation in Sweden.

Rudolf Nureyev (1938-1993): Rudolf Nureyev, a Russian ballet dancer, got the inspiration to become a ballet dancer after watching the ‘Song of the Cranes‘. Though he learned ballet dancing during his early age, he officially joined the Leningrad State Choreographic Institute at the age of 17. Within a few years, he became a soloist and performed in more than 15 ballet dances. His famous ballet performances include the Sleeping Beauty, Marguerite and Armand, La Bayadère and many others. He was the first ballet dancer to perform both classical ballet and modern dance at the same time.

Mikhail Baryshnikov (1948): Mikhail Baryshnikov, a Russian actor and dancer, is one of the famous ballet dancers. Motivated by his mother, he started practicing ballet at the age of 15, in 1960. Due to his graceful dancing style, he joined the Leningrad’s Kirov Ballet in 1966 and was assigned a soloist position. He became a member of the National Ballet of Canada and later joined the American Ballet Theater (ABT). In between, he learned the George Balanchine’s style of movement at the New York City Ballet. He returned to AMT as an artistic director and worked on the White Oak Project. Mikhail Baryshnikov’ most notable performance was in ‘The Nutcracker’. In 2000, he was rewarded by the Kennedy Center Honors. By 2004, he started his own Baryshnikov Arts Center. The ballet dance of today is, in fact, a contribution of the legendary ballet dancers (male dancers) and ballerinas (female dancers). Nowadays, there are many schools that provide academic programs for learning ballet dance. If you are interested in dancing and have a passion for ballet, then you can make a career in ballet dancing. You can enroll in a good university program, which can help you in getting through dance companies.

Ballet Dance Basics 0nline can help you learn the basic steps with the help of videos or they can be helpful for practicing the newly learned steps at home.

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By: Banny Bally

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