The 10 Highest-Paid Ballet Dancers in the World

Oh, ballet. Arguably one of the most beautiful and sincere expressions of art in the world. While major ballet productions are not as big as they once were, they still remain one of the most well-regarded art forms out there. Even now, it's hard to find a girl out there who hasn't once dreamed of becoming a prima ballerina.

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But ballet is very demanding. Just as demanding as any other sport, leaving serious marks on professional dancers' bodies. Black Swan might not exactly be an accurate portrayal of the mental state of every single ballet dancer in the world, but it definitely hits the nail on the head when it comes to physical scars. So how much can ballet dancers expect to be paid if they embark on a journey to become the best of the best? Let's take a look at some of the highest-paid ballet professionals in the world!

10 Misty Copeland

American ballet dancer Misty Copeland became the first African-American promoted to principal dancer for the American Ballet Theatre (ABT). Unlike most professionals of this craft, Copeland didn't begin dancing until she was 13, proving to everyone that you can rise to the top without having being trained since childhood.

However, she is a true outlier in this matter. Misty isn't only a ballet dancer - the 37 year old has also written two autobiographies and produced a documentary that illustrates all the hardships she underwent during her career. According to Celebrity Net Worth, Misty Copeland has a net worth of $500,000.

9 Sylvie Guillem

French dancer Sylvie Guillem was, at one point, the highest-paid female ballet performer in the world. Back in the 1980s, Sylvie was the best ballet dancer with the Paris Opera Ballet, until she became the shining star of the Royal Ballet in London as a principal guest artists.

Even though she began as a gymnast, Sylvie soon began appreciating ballet, being recognized as a prodigy when she was only 11 years old. Guillem danced for decades, retiring from the art when she was already 50. Still, to this day she remains a true ballet powerhouse, with an estimated net worth between $100,000 and $1 Million, according to Net Worth Stats.

8 Gillian Murphy

Born in England and raised in the United States, Gillian Murphy was already a member of the Columbia City Ballet before having a formal art school education. She eventually graduated from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, and went on to join the American Ballet Theatre's corps de ballet.

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Promoted to principal dancer in 2002, she's held the title ever since. Along with four awards related to her craft, Gillian has also made several television and movie appearances. Celebs Trend Today puts her net worth between $500,000 and $1 Million.

7 Anthony Dowell

Considered to be one of the best dancers of the twentieth century, British ballet dancer Anthony Dowell had a stellar career in his field. Beginning his training when he was but a toddler, Dowell completed his studies with honors, and was instantly hired to dance for the Covent Garden Opera Ballet.

Soon after, he became a member of the Royal Ballet, making it to principal dancer in 1966. Later on, Anthony became the artistic director of the Royal Ballet, officially retiring in 1984. Now 76 years old, Celebs Trend Now estimates his net worth to be between $1 Million and $5 Million.

6 Polina Semionova

Perhaps one of the most recognisable names in the world of ballet, Polina Semionova is a Russian ballet dancer and professor. She served as the principal dancer for  the Berlin State Ballet, becoming the youngest ever in the company, and later moved on to the American Ballet Theatre, also in the role of principal dancer.

At only 35 years old, Polina already has an impressive career behind her, and there's no second guessing she will follow the footsteps of all the greats, perhaps dancing well into her fifties. Famous People Now estimates her net worth stand between the range of $1 Million and $5 Million.

5 Olga Smirnova

Russian ballet dancer Olga Smirnova might only be 27 years old, but that doesn't mean she isn't as seasoned as all the other performers on this list. Born in Russia in the early 1990s, Smirnova began studying ballet with the prestigious Vaganova Academy, from which she graduated in 2011, at 20 years old.

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She is now a prima ballerina with the Bolshoi Ballet, a company that recruited her almost immediately after she finished her studies. Olga has toured the world, and will continues to do so, hopefully for many years. Famous People Now estimates her net worth to be anywhere between $1 Million and $5 Million.

4 Nina Ananiashvili

Georgian ballerina Nina Ananiashvili had a curious beginning to her career. Being a very frail child and prone to sickness, she was encouraged by her parents to pursue ice skating. When she was 10 years old, a dance teacher scouted her, thus paving the way for what would become a prolific ballet career.

Nina is now 56 years old, and she is still active in her field. She serves as the artistic director of the National Ballet Ensemble of Georgia, and has been deemed one of the greatest ballerinas of all time. In her prime, Nina took home $30,000 per performance, according to Alux. Nowadays, Celebs Trends Now puts her net worth between $1 Million and $5 Million.

3 Benjamin Millepied

While many people might recognize him as movie star Natalie Portman's husband, French dancer Benjamin Millepied is much more than that. In reality, the two met on the set of award-winning movie Black Swan, where he served as the choreographer, and his now wife served as the main actress.

Benjamin joined the New York City Ballet in 1995, and became principal dancer for the company since 2002. Later pursuing a career as a choreographer, Benjamin worked for  the Paris Opera Ballet after retiring from the New York City Ballet in 2011. His work paid off, and Celebrity Net Worth puts his net worth at an impressive $3 Million.

2 Rudolf Nureyev

Russian ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev was a true powerhouse of the 20th century, and is regarded as one of the best ballet performers of the time. Although he passed away in 1993, at only 53 years old, Nureyev had one of the most impressive careers out of everyone in the ballet industry.

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Aside from dancing for the Royal Ballet in London, he also served as director of the Paris Opera Ballet and as the chief choreographer of the Paris Opera Ballet. He also made several appearances in movies, television, and musicals, which, according to Alux, granted him a net worth of $7.6 Million at the time of his tragic passing.

1 Mikhail Baryshnikov

While ballet fans will probably know him as one of the greatest ballet dancers of all time, it's more likely that most people will recognize him as Carrie Bradshaw's last love interest before she fell into the arms of Mr. Big in the television show Sex And The City. 

And although Mikhail Baryshnikov made quite a name for himself as an actor, it all began with ballet. The New York City Ballet and the American Ballet Theatre are two of the main companies he danced for, becoming art director of the latter. Dozens of nominations and awards later, for both dancing and acting, granted him a staggering net worth of $45 Million, according to Celebrity Net Worth.

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