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1. a female ballet dancer
2. US the principal female dancer of a ballet company
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



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.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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