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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.
References in periodicals archive ?
Prima Ballerina Assoluta Eva Evdokimova-Gregori will teach at the Cecchetti Society USA's International Summer School, held August 5-11 at the Sarasota Ballet in Florida .
Fonteyn enjoyed a legendary partnership with Russian dancer Rudolf Nureyev, despite being almost 20 years his senior, and was later awarded the rare title of prima ballerina assoluta by The Royal Ballet.
Deemed by democratic consensus America's prima ballerina assoluta from the 1930s to the 1950s, and a reigning ballet teacher and coach after that, Alexandra Danilova earned the admiration of the public, the critics and her students.
Prima ballerina assoluta in 1895 (with Pierina Legnani, the only imperial dancer to be given that status), she was the first Russian ballerina to master the Italian technique, and the first Russian to perform thirty-two fouettes.
Fonteyn, who once declared her--luckily soon rescinded--intention to retire at thirty, remained the Royal's prima ballerina assoluta, with a career that outlived literally generations of putative successors.
As the prima ballerina assoluta of La Scala Ballet, Alessandra Ferri is obliged to show her audience the wide range of her artistry.
Balanchine's Prodigal Son and another Peterson piece, La Danse Neva, a tribute to Mathilde Kschessinska, the prima ballerina assoluta of the Russian fin de siecle, complete the program.