Principal Dancer
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Principal Dancer
Sarah Lamb, a principal dancer with the Royal Ballet in London.

A principal dancer (often shortened to principal) is a dancer at the highest rank within a professional dance company, particularly a ballet company.

A principal may be male or female. The position is similar to that of soloist; however, principals regularly perform not only solos, but also pas de deux. Principal dancers can be hired into a dance company or can also be a company dancer that is a corps de ballet dancer that gets promoted from within the company. That process can take multiple performance seasons or even years to achieve based on skill level and company interest. It is a coveted position in the company and the most prominent position a dancer can receive. The term is used mostly in ballet but can be used in other forms as well, such as modern dance. They are usually the star of the ballet. The term senior principal dancer is sometimes used as well.[1]

Synonyms and origin

The Italian derived term prima ballerina (female dancers) (primo ballerino for male dancers) or the French derived term[2]premier danseur (male dancers) have been used to denote similar levels of prominence in non Anglo-Saxon companies. In the Paris Opera Ballet, principal dancers receive the title of Danseur Étoile.

Company Hierarchy

The traditional dance company hierarchy is designed as follows:

  1. Senior principal dancers or principal dancers
  2. Senior soloists
  3. Junior soloists
  4. Coryphées
  5. Corps de ballet
  6. Character Artists

Current Principal Dancers

American Ballet Theatre


Martha Graham Modern Dance Company



  • Lloyd Knight
  • Ben Schultz


  1. ^ "Senior Principal dancer". English National Ballet. Retrieved 2011.
  2. ^ "the definition of danseur noble". Retrieved .
  3. ^ "Dancers | American Ballet Theatre (ABT)". American Ballet Theatre. Retrieved .
  4. ^ "Dancers | American Ballet Theatre (ABT)". American Ballet Theatre. Retrieved .
  5. ^ Sherwood, M. "Dancers". Martha Graham Dance Company. Retrieved .
  6. ^ Sherwood, M. "Dancers". Martha Graham Dance Company. Retrieved .

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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