The Most Famous Professional Dancers

In the new online game, Dancing With The Stars: Keep Dancing, we can create our own avatars and choreograph our own dance routines. And while our characters make the sambas and cha-cha-chas look really easy, it’s no secret that dancing in the real world actually requires incredible skill and determination. Check out some of the dancers who are famous for devoting their lives to perfecting their moves, and don’t forget to play the game to experience all your greatest fantasies on the dance floor.

1. Gillian Murphy

Gillian Murphy has been the Principal Dancer at the American Ballet Theatre since 2002. At just 33 years old, she’s performed in more than 25 ballets with the ABT, including “Romeo and Juliet,” “Cinderella,” “The Sleeping Beauty,” and “Swan Lake” (as seen above). She recently got engaged to the ABT’s male Principal Dancer, Ethan Stiefel, and they are going to pirouette into the sunset together one day.

2. Michael Malitowski And Joanna Leunis

Michael and Joanna are considered to be the King and Queen of Professional Latin Dance. They teamed up in 2002, and have won the World Professional Latin Championships twice, the European Professional Latin Championships five times, and the International Professional Open Championships seven times. They try and compete in 10-15 major tournaments every year, and they are the people responsible for teaching the planets to rotate around the sun.

3. Fred Astaire And Ginger Rogers

Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers are Hollywood royalty. Their partnership began in 1933, when they played supporting roles in “Flying Down to Rio.” Their first starring roles came a year later in “The Gay Divorce,” and they stayed together all the way through 1939, until Rogers wanted more dramatic roles and Astaire wanted to experiment with different partners. The duo later reconvened in 1949 for the production of “The Barkleys of Broadway,” and their chemistry still inspires dancers all over the world.

4. Riccardo Cocchi And Yulia Zagoruychenko

Riccardo from Italy and Yulia from Russia paired up in 2007, and have made it to the finals of every major Latin-style world championship. They are known for their “mesmerizing look,” precise techniques, lively performances, and for keeping various hat designers in business.

5. Savion Glover

Savion Glover took up tap dancing when he was very young, and was giving lessons by the time he was fourteen. He’s performed in movies, on TV, at the White House, and on Broadway (where he won a Tony Award in 1996 for his show, “Bring In ‘Da Noise, Bring In ‘Da Funk”). Gregory Hines — who was once Savion’s teacher — called him “possibly the best tap dancer that ever lived.”

6. Mikhail Baryshnikov

In the ballet community, it is believed that Mikhail is one of the greatest dancers in history. He took up dancing when he was 9, and gained notoriety when he joined Leningrad’s Kirov Ballet at 19. At 30, he became the Principal Dancer at the New York City Ballet, and just two years later he was the Artistic Director of American Ballet Theatre. He’s had roles in numerous movies and TV shows, but some may feel his most esteemed credential is playing Carrie’s “The Russian” boyfriend on “Sex and the City.”

7. The Jabbawockeez

The Jabbawockeez became superstars when they won the first season of “America’s Best Dance Crew” in 2008. Since then, they’ve created their own clothing line, and premiered their “Mus.I.C” stage special at the MGM Grand Hollywood Theater in Las Vegas (where they became the first dance crew to ever headline a Vegas show). They also have their own record company (obviously), called JBWKZ Records.

8. Gregory Hines

Gregory Hines and his older brother took up tap dancing early in their lives. But over the course of his career, Hines established himself as an extremely well-rounded entertainer: his first movie was Mel Brooks’ “History of the World, Part 1,” and he went on to appear in “The Cotton Club,” “White Nights” (with Baryshnikov), “Running Scared,” and “Waiting To Exhale.” He won a Tony Award for “Jelly’s Last Jam” in 1992, and showcased his comedic charm on TV’s “Will and Grace.”

9. Hanna Karttunen And Victor Da Silva

Hanna and Victor are professional Exhibition performers, which means their routines are a combination of gymnastics and dance. The style requires extreme upper body strength, flexibility and elegance, as much of the choreography involves lifts. Hanna and Paul represent South Africa in competitions, and together they’ve won the British Open Championships three times. They also may be more than just dance partners…

10. The Gamblerz Crew

The Gamblerz are a South Korean b-boy crew that formed in 2002. They are widely recognized as one of the best groups in the history of break dancing, and they won the esteemed Battle of the Year competition in both 2005 and 2009. They also were the champions of the R-16 Korea international b-boy competition in 2008, which really solidified their status as a sensation.

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