What’s the word for a male “ballerina”?

Ballerino – sounds funny or not? 

Ballerino doesn’t sound perfect to me. It seems difficult to find the perfect name, but I googled it and found various terms for male ballet dancers around the globe. In Italy a male dancer is called a ballerino. In France, it’s Danseur. In the English speaking world, boys or men who dance classical ballet are usually referred to as male ballet dancers or just dancers.

FVBOLSHOI.jpgFriedemann Vogel at Bolshoi Theatre (c) Roman Novitzky by friedemannvogel.com

Often you see the term “principal dancer“, which is used for female or male dancers. A principal – the short version of principal dancer- is a dancer at the highest rank within a professional dance company, particularly a ballet company (definition in Wikipedia). It is a coveted position in the company and the most prominent position a dancer can receive.

A principal is actually the modern equivalent for prima ballerina, or the best male ballet dancer. This term is very popular and unisex. In the Paris Opera Ballet, principal dancers receive the title of Etoile.

In German there is no term around than “Tänzer“. I also found “Meistertänzer” which I haven’t heard before and which sounds very old fashioned.

What words do you use? Are there any better terms for this?

Title photo: All principal dancers of the American Ballet Theater in 2018 ©abt.org


Author: ballettlovers

I danced ballet as child, albeit with little success. Despite this, my passion for ballet and dance has carried into adulthood. I still love to watch ballet performances and would love to share my passion with you.

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