20 Famous Dancers of History and Actuality (Women and Men)

There are famous dancers who have excelled throughout their careers by the technique they have achieved and the beauty of their movements.

In our history, we could say that dance has been conceived as the ability to compose with the movement of the body. With these movements are created dance figures, which in turn create the work itself, a composition defined choreography.

Famous dancers

From very ancient times, and Greek culture had the concept of art linked to the movement of the body with a natural inertia, in turn motivated by the individual's auditory perception. With this idea, the dancers were also taken as representatives of the human being in regard to religion or spirituality.

Later, around the 17th century, Louis XIV of France officially introduced and ratified ballet as an entertainment dance for the upper classes and in turn, as a very representative part of Western Europe of the fine arts.

Since then, the concept and meaning with which dancers and dancers entertained their spectators remained unchanged until, at the beginning of the 20th century, contemporary dance and modern dance emerged as new disciplines from ballet. These, triggered in a great number of free styles of dance, giving rise to an expressionist current of this art.

Below we present a list of 20 dancers (men and women), including some of the most famous in history and today:

Jean Louise Fuller, known as Loïe Fuller (1862-1928), Isadora Duncan (1877-1927), Mary Wigman (1886-1810), August Bournonville (1805-18799), Fanny Elsler (1810-1884) , Hanna Holm (1893-1992), Martha Graham (1894-1991), Doris Humphrey (1895-1958), Charles Weidman (1901-1975), Katherine Mary Dunham (1909-2006), Erick Hawkins (1909-1994) Nacho Duato (1957), Angel Corella (1957), Alicia Alonso (1920), Maria Tallchief (1925-2013), Arthur Mitchell (1934), Victor Ullate (1947), Mark Morris (1975).

Let's see below some relevant data from some of these artists.

Marie Louise Fuller (1862-1928)


Known as Loïe Fuller, she began in the art world with the theater and later as a burlesque dancer.

She is one of the many women of the early twentieth century considered precursors of modern dance and noted for her colorful choreographies and marked by large and loose dresses made of silk.

Isadora Duncan (1877-1927)


You could say that she is one of the creators and precursors of modern dance. Some have even been baptized as"Mother of Modern Dance". She was a woman activist and advocate for women's rights, a thinker, a great choreographer and dance teacher.

He did not want to follow the steps and forms of classical dance, developing a new type of dance, natural and with fresh and free movements. He defended the pure expression of feelings through dance.

Hanya Holm (1893-1992)


This dance teacher, one of the most well-known dancers of modern dance, was a native of Germany, where she studied with Mary Wigman. He resided in New York since the early 1930s, where he was responsible for the management of one of the first dance schools dedicated to teaching the Wigman technique and the principles and theories of Laban.

Thanks to loose back and torso movements, he emphasized the fluidity and freedom of his dances, with a technique born of physical movement and improvisation.

Martha Graham (1894-1991)

Martha graham

Of American origin, he argued that modern dance was not pure invention, but to discover the development of original and primitive principles.

The different and sharp way she contracted and relaxed her muscles, together with the control she landed on the ground, was the personal signature for which she was recognized.

Charles Weidman (1901-1975)


Being one of the"Big Four"Americans, he was able to develop his work focused on the expression of gravity, thanks to the company he founded in 1929 with the choreographer and dancer Doris Humphrey.

His new personal style did not match what was learned at the Denishawn school where he learned, nor had much to do with the classical ballet from which he moved away as he established his own way of expression.

Erick Hawkins (1909-1994)

Erick hawkins

Creator of a stream known as"free flow", he is one of the dancers and choreographers who still in modern times continues to influence modern dance. He was the husband of one of the greats of that time, Martha Graham, with whom he joined in the dance company where both performed several years.

In the 50's Erick created his own dance school and dance company, where he unleashed his creative fantasies, including mind, soul and body in shows without muscular load, with which he saw meditation possible through that art .

Katherine Mary Dunham (1909-2006)


Anthropologist and known as"Matriarch and Queen of the Black Dance", was the creator of African-American dance. He studied different Caribbean dances, specifically from Haiti. By incorporating these ramifications into his works, these were described as pioneering modern African American dances.

Let's review some of the most famous dances and choreographies in history:

  • The Nutcracker : The choreography is of Petipa in Ivanov and the music of Piotr Tchaikovsky. It premiered in St. Petersburg in 1892.
  • Romeo and Juliet : This classic based on one of Williams Shakespeare's successes, premiered in Czechoslovakia in 1938, with choreography by Leonid Lavrovsky and music by Sergei Prokofiev.
  • Sleeping Beauty : The choreography is of Marius Petipa and the music of Piotr Tchaikovsky. History known through Walt Disney and interpreted in scoop in 1890, in Saint Petersburg.
  • Don Quixote : Choreography by Marius Petipa and music by: Ludwig Minkus. Basically it is based on the history of Hidalgo, by Miguel de Cervantes. His first pass was in 1869, in Moscow.
  • Lake of the Swans : Premiered in Moscow in 1877, and with choreography by Julius Reisinger joined Piotr Tchaikovsky's music, is one of the most famous and well-known.
  • Giselle : Music by Adolphe Adam and choreography by Coralli and Perot. Based on the poem by Heinrich Heine, he tells the story of love between a young peasant woman and a gentleman dressed as a plebeian, whom she falls in love with before she learns the true title of it.
  • Le Sacre du Printemps (The Consecration of Spring) : It is a ballet of short duration, with only thirty minutes of duration. However, it is also one of the most important in history. It premiered for the first time in Paris, France, in 1913. Don Vaslav Nijinski took care of the choreography, and of the music Don Igor Stravinsky.
  • Dream of a summer night : Born in 1962, one of the most recently created ballets of this capitulation, features choreography by Frederick Ashton and music by Felix Mendelssohn. It has become one of the most famous American ballets of all time.
  • Cinderella : There being very different versions of this ballet, the original was presented in Moscow in 1945, with the choreography of Rostislav Zakharov and the music of Sergei Prokofiev.
  • The Bayadere (The Temple Dancer) : Premiered in 1877 in St. Petersburg, is considered the best work of the choreographer Marius Petipa. It is a ballet of four acts and the music ran on behalf of Ludwig Minkus.

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