On the ninth day of Christmas my true love sent to me, nine ladies dancing…
According to the song’s tradition, the gift represents the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
However, its literal meaning provides the perfect opportunity to appreciate nine great female dancers, past and present, within a single blog.
As a disclaimer, it’s worth pointing out that the list is in random order and some names have been selected to offer variety in terms of genre, age and cultural impact – this is not a list of the all-time greatest female dancers!
Ginger Rogers: This list wouldn’t be complete without mention of the legendary Ginger Rogers. The first name mentioned during my research with the wider Work PR team, Rogers was best known for her partnership with Hollywood star Fred Astaire, featuring in a variety of musical films together.
Darcey Bussell: Dame Darcey Bussell is regarded as one of the greatest British ballerinas of all time. More recently known for her appearances as a judge on Strictly Come Dancing, she spent her entire career with The Royal Ballet spanning more than two decades.
Martha Graham: American modern dancer and choreographer, Martha Graham, danced and taught for over 70 years, becoming the first dancer to perform in the White House. She was credited with developing her own style known as the Graham technique, which is still taught worldwide today.
Anna Pavlova: One of the most recognisable names in ballet, Anna Pavlova was a Russian ballerina of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. A principal artist of the Imperial Russian Ballet, she is best known for her role as The Dying Swan, becoming the first ballerina to tour around the world.
Shakira: Shakira, Shakira! Although she is better known for her singing prowess, the Colombian’s hip-swinging performances were iconic in the early 2000’s. Combining Middle Eastern belly dancing with Latin dancing, Shakira’s catchy routines still drag people to the dance floor today.
Parris Goebel: Known professionally as Parri$, the New Zealand-born dancer has won the World Hip Hop Dance Championship three times. One of her notable successes was her work choreographing Justin Bieber’s ‘Sorry’ video, which has been viewed over two billion times on YouTube.
Margot Fonteyn: Like Darcey Bussell, Margot Fonteyn was another British ballerina who spent her entire career with The Royal Ballet. Partnering with Rudolf Nureyev in 1961, the duo immediately became an international sensation, pushing each other to some of their best performances.
Shirley Ballas: Specialising in the International Latin division, Shirley Ballas is an English ballroom dancer and teacher, who has won several championship titles, earning herself the nickname ‘The Queen of Latin’. She now features on ITV’s Strictly Come Dancing as one of the four main judges.
Maddie Ziegler: Completing the list is American dancer Maddie Ziegler, who gained widespread fame after featuring in a series of Sia’s music videos including ‘Chandelier’. These performances earned her a place on Time Magazine’s list of ’30 most influential teens’ for three years running.
There you have it, a diverse collection of nine of the best female dancers – who else do you think should have made the list?
Check out our previous instalments to read our takes on the 12 gifts