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1. a female ballet dancer
2. US the principal female dancer of a ballet company



a female dancer in a ballet troupe. The term was first used in the second half of the 19th century after the triumphant performances of Italian virtuoso dancers. In prerevolutionary Russia the title of ballerina was bestowed on leading female dancers of the imperial ballet troupe; a ballerina received a certain salary and performed certain roles. Today it is customary to apply the term ballerina to all female ballet dancers.


Khudekov, S. N. Istoriia tantsev, vol. 3. St. Petersburg, 1915.
Skal’kovskii, K. V teatral’nom mire. St. Petersburg, 1899.