For many years, dancing has been known to be one of the most beautiful forms of expressive art, although the styles have certainly changed over the years. With so many different styles and types to pick up, from modern dancing to tap, ballet to jazz, and practically anything else that you could think of in between — Latino, breakdancing, street dancing, and more, dancing has a way of speaking to the numbers, in a way that no other methods of communication could.
These top 10 most popular dancers of all times are all masters of their dance style, and a few others too. We hope you enjoy them but, as always, just let us know in the comments below this post if you feel there’s anyone we should have added to the list.
1 – Martha Graham
With over 150 different works created during her career, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to agree with the claim that Martha Graham is the “Mother of Modern Dance”. Her moves and choreographed pieces have changed the way that people think about dance, stepping aside from the more traditional steps usually involved with ballet, bringing about a form of expression that was not only expressive, but that also told a touching story.
If 150 completed works weren’t enough, Martha Graham can boast about plenty more. She was the first dancer ever to perform at the White House, and her dance moves are loved, adored, and replicated in various forms, across all styles of modern dance.
2 – Rudolf Nureyev
This brilliant dancer sadly died of AIDS-related complications in 1993, aged just 54 years of age, but before that, he was definitely known as one of the most gifted and special dancers from around the world. Born in the Soviet Union, and on a train, of all places, his mother first got him into dancing, taking him and his sisters to see a ballet, which he then fell in love with. His love and passions were encouraged as a youngster, and he entered dancing school much later than expected of other students, mostly because of the interference caused by World War II, but that didn’t hinder him at all. He became Paris Opera Ballet’s director for three years and was a chief choreographer at the same ballet for a spell too. He was also given the nickname, “Lord of the Dance” because of his exquisite dancing style.
3 – Gene Kelly
You can’t really talk about the greatest dancers of all time without having a special little mention for Gene Kelly. His name exploded during the wonderful age of the Hollywood musical, known not only for his dancing but also for his innovative styling and choreography too. A mixture of various forms of dance. Gene used steps and movements from tap and modern dancing, alongside ballet, ballroom and more, creating an almost hybrid approach to the expressive art.
His style copied almost as much as his dance moves, Gene Kelly led the way for other artists to play around with expression in terms of music and choreography. So much so, in fact, that Michael Jackson was one of the modern artists to pay homage to him. It was the loafers and white-socks combo that made its mark on another of the world’s greatest dancers, with Michael rocking the look on the cover of his album, “Off the Wall”.
4 – Michael Jackson
In fact, while we’re on the subject of Michael Jackson, we should probably add him to the list also, an artist known for being innovative in more ways than one.
Pushing the boundaries of modern music, fashion, dancing, and so much more, Michael’s style has been copied by thousands of other artists, from all areas of the world. Usher, Justin Bieber, and even Justin Timberlake have all stated this musical marvel as their inspiration, and he’s known as one of the greatest dancers of all time, alongside being one of the greatest musical artists of all time.
5 – Madhuri Dixit
This 50-year-old is famous around the world for not just her dancing skills, but also her acting skills, and she’s the award wins and nominations to prove it. Mostly known for her roles within the Hindi film industry, she’s been nominated for the Best Actress Award at the Fanfares a staggering 14 times, with 4 wins always under her belt, alongside another one for ‘Best Supporting Actress’, and another special award.
Of course, all that talent needs to go somewhere, and she moved on from quite so many movies and dancing roles to take on a judging role instead. There have been four seasons on hit talent shows, and she also involves herself with stage production a lot too. Of course, that’s all alongside being a beautiful wife and mother too. It would seem that she really does have it all.
6 – Ginger Rogers & Fred Astaire
We know that it’s not conventional to pop two people together, but together these two dancers really were something remarkable together. She was apparently said to bring the sex appeal, while he bought bucket loads of charm, and together they gave hundreds and thousands of Americans something to look at with a smile during the age of the great depression. In times where dancing wasn’t prevalent, they made it more accessible and more attractive to the masses, perhaps even leading the way for us to look at dancing in the same way we look at it today.
7 – Joaquín Cortés
48-year-old Spanish dancer, Joaquín Cortés, is well known for not just ballet dancing, but also flamenco dancing, and a dancer that showed a very keen interest in the art from a very early age. He was accepted into, and then travelled the world with, the Spanish National Ballet, and he even became the main, solo performer during this adventure too. It wasn’t long after that he created his first international tour, giving him total control over every aspect of the show and dance, allowing him to twist and turn his Spanish roots along with classical ballet styles.
8 – Mikhail Baryshnikov
Even those who don’t know dancing seem to know who this man is — Mikhail Baryshnikov. We’ll just forget about the fact that he once played Carrie Bradshaw’s lover in Sex and the City and focus on his dancing career, his young and youthful looks helped in his dancing charade, ballet mostly, but occasionally peeping onto other territories. Many know this man as one of the greatest ballet dancers of all time, but we’ll that up for you lot to debate.
9 – Eleanor Powell
Another actress and dancer, Eleanor Powell lived in 1912 to 1982 and definitely made a name for herself in the dancing world, that’s for sure. In fact, it was during the thirties and forties that she rose to fame, known for big musical movies, and her wonderful tap solo pieces within them. It was when she was just six years of age that she first took up dancing, ballet to start with, before moving on to test the waters with other styles. She was nightclub dancing before she was even a teen, and, at just 16 years old, she mastered the art of tap-dancing, which saw her then gracing the stage.
Just like a few of the others on this list, Eleanor Powell was known for her work during the “Golden Age of Hollywood”, heavily saturated with musical numbers, and was even classed to be one of the leading stars (of dancing) for MGM at the time. Some even went as far as to say that the only person who could come close to equalling her dancing talent, was Fred Astaire.
10 – Hrithik Roshan
A man known for his acting skills in the Indian movie industry, Hrithik Roshan is also classed as one of the best dancers in Bollywood, if not the best. Often in demand because of this talent, he’s considered to be one of the highest-paid actors in India, something that has been helped, of course, by working closely alongside his father, filmmaker, Rakesh Roshan.