Ballet Company Heirarchy

Ballet Company Heirarchy

Ballet Clasico de Queretaro Fernando Jhones

The Corps de Ballet in the back and the Principal Dancer in Giselle. Image courtesy of Ballet Clasico de Queretaro Fernando Jhones.

Classical ballet companies have a ranking system. Most dancers enter a company from the bottom rung of the ladder, so to speak: the corps de ballet (which consists of “the body” of the ballet company). How does a ballet company hierarchy work?

Ballet Company Heirarchy

Today, ballet companies continue to rank their dancers in hierarchical fashion, although most have adopted a sex neutral classification system, and very few recognise a single leading dancer.

In most large companies, there are usually several leading dancers of each sex, titled Principal Dancer or Etoile to reflect their seniority within the company. Other common rankings include those of Corps de Ballet and Soloist.

The title of Prima Ballerina Assoluta is rarely used, and it is usually reserved as a mark of respect for an internationally renowned dancer who has had a highly notable career. Dancers who are identified as a Guest Artist, are usually those who have achieved a high rank with their company, and have subsequently been engaged to dance with other ballet companies around the world, normally performing the lead role.

  • Prima ballerina assoluta
  • Prima ballerina, premier sujet or première danseuse
  • Sujet
  • Coryphée
  • Corps de ballet

For men, the ranks were:

  • Premier danseur noble
  • Premier danseur
  • Danseur
  • Sujet
  • Coryphée
  • Corps de ballet

More on company structure and ranking here at

Ranking names vary from company to company. The Royal Ballet company, for example, uses different names for their ranking system:

The Royal Ballet has six ranks of dancers in ascending order:

  • Artist (Corps de ballet)
  • First Artist
  • Soloist
  • First soloist
  • Principal character artist
  • Principal

The Royal Ballet also has special ranks for visiting dancers, they are “guest artist and “principal guest artist”.

Read article source here.

Ballet company hierarchy is part of ballet life and it’s great to see young dancers climbing up the ranks of their company.

If you enjoyed this article and learned something new, comment below or “Like” by clicking the button at the end of this post.


5 thoughts on “Ballet Company Heirarchy

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Get On The VIP List

Let Us Give You VIP Treatment.
When you are on the VIP list, we send you one email a week with all the best articles, videos and news about the beautiful world of ballet. You will also discover great new ballet photographers - and learn from some of the finest ballet teachers in the world. Join us - just enter your best email address below.

Follow Me on Pinterest

"Ballet was never just a set of physical exercises or positions.
It was always a set of beliefs,
an aspiration to nobility,
an aspiration to the extraordinary,
to the 'merveilleux'.
It was a way of life. And it is today a connection to the past,
a direct connection, both to Louis [XIV] and to Marie Taglioni,
and to the worlds that they lived in.
It is a living, moving history."

-Jennifer Homans
Apollo's Angels

Get Proven Results in Your Splits, Grand Jetés and More!

To learn more about EasyFlexibility and all their programs click here.

Great Gift for The Aspiring Dancer in Your Life!

Read Your Favorite Ballet Books on a Kindle!

Strengthen Your Core for 2013 Summer Intensives! Workout with Zena Rommett, Master Ballet Teacher & Originator of Floor-Barre®

The Video Dictionary of Classical Ballet

The Video Dictionary of Classical Ballet by Kevin McKenzie and Georgina Parkinson

Edgar Degas’ Ballerinas A Great Gift

Tell us about your favorite dance school

suggest a listing to add to the site