10 Impactful Dancers

  1. Misty Copeland

Misty Copeland is arguably the most famous American ballet dancer of our time. Copeland danced for the American Ballet Theatre. On June 30, 2015, she became ABT’s first African American principle dancer in their 75 year history. Copeland has a long list of achievements, and was even named one of the top 100 influential people in the world in Time magazine.

2. Maddie Ziegler

Though a newer name in the history of dance, Maddie Ziegler has certainly made herself known. The Dance Moms star took the world by storm after starring in musical star Sia’s Chandelier video. Ziegler and Dance Moms also made the competitive dance world more known, and even changed the dance scene.

3. Lizzy Howell

Lizzy Howell is another young dancer, though she isn’t as well known as the others on this list. Howell caught the internet’s attention in video of her doing dance turns. Everyone was shocked, as she didn’t fit the stereotypical look. of ballerinas. Howell has since starred in music videos and commercials, proving that size doesn’t define talent.

4. Martha Graham

Martha Graham is known as the “mother of modern dance.” In 1926, Graham’s production had their first show, receiving rave reviews for the inventive, unique movement. Though Graham passed away in 1991, her influence can still be seen in the generations of modern dancers that have followed her.

5. Brian Friedman

Chances are you’ve seen Brian Friedman (or his choreography) if you’ve seen big name artist’s music videos, or any popular dance video on the internet. Friedman is a huge name in today’s dance world, known for his artistry in choreography and strictness while teaching. He has been nominated for several awards, with many more nominations sure to come.

6. Derek Hough

Even non-dancers have heard of Dancing with the Stars’ Derek Hough. Hough is a professional Latin and ballroom dancer. Hough has competed and been a judge on many dance shows, including Dancing with the Stars and World of Dance. He’s also appeared in musicals and television programs. Hough along with his sister Julianne have also won an Emmy for outstanding choreography. With as much as the Houghs are involved in the dance world, it’s likely that their name will continue to be known.

7. Mikhail Baryshnikov

Baryshnikov is a Russian-American male ballet dancer, who is considered to be one of the greatest ballet dancers of our time. In 1974, Baryshnikov joined the American Ballet Theatre, where he danced every principal male role. He was known for his incredible technique and powerful leaps. Baryshnikov is also credited for helping expand the fan base of ballet in the 1960s-1980s.

8. Jabbawockeez

Though a dance group and not an individual dancer, I had to include the iconic Jabbawockeez. This famous group is known for their ski masks and eclectic mix of urban dance styles. They have been featured in several television shows, gone on tours, won competitions and so much more.

9. Travis Wall

If not in the dance world, you may not be familiar with Travis Wall’s name. Wall is a dancer and choreographer who is best known for contemporary and jazz dance. Wall competed on So You Think You Can Dance in 2006 where he placed second. He was praised as one of the best technical dancers to ever be on the show. Wall has since been nominated for 10 outstanding choreography awards and won two.

10. Sophia Lucia

Another younger dancer to round out this list. Sophia Lucia appeared on Dance Moms alongside Maddie Ziegler for a few episodes, however, her contributions to the dance world are outside of this. In 2013, Lucia broke the world record for the most consecutive pirouette turns with 55. Lucia was just 10 years old at the time. Lucia has won several awards over the years and was a well-known dancer in the competition world.




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