The Most Beautiful Ballet Performance, Ranked

Choose the ballet performance you think is the most beautiful!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on May 21, 2024 06:17
Ballet lovers know that each performance brings its own unique touch of grace and power, capturing emotions in a way few other art forms can. As enthusiasts search for performances that resonate best with their own aesthetic and emotional preferences, having a system to identify standout ballets becomes invaluable. Hence, ranking these performances allows for a structured way to highlight and appreciate the most engaging and beautifully executed shows. This site invites all enthusiasts to contribute by voting for what they believe are the top ballet performances. As votes pour in, the rankings constantly adjust, reflecting the collective opinion of a diverse audience. This dynamic approach ensures that newer performances have the opportunity to be recognized alongside legendary stagings, providing a fresh perspective on the evolving landscape of ballet.

What Is the Most Beautiful Ballet Performance?

  1. 1
    Swan Lake
    Anna reg · CC BY-SA 3.0 at
    Tchaikovsky's masterpiece is one of the most iconic ballets of all time, with its stunning music and choreography that tells the story of a princess transformed into a swan.
    Swan Lake is a renowned ballet performance that tells the story of Odette, a princess turned into a swan by an evil sorcerer, and Prince Siegfried, who falls in love with her. It is a tragic tale of love, betrayal, and redemption.
    • Premiere: March 4, 1877
    • Lyrical Theme: Love and transformation
    • Acts: Four acts
    • Characters: Odette/Odile (dual role), Prince Siegfried, Von Rothbart (sorcerer), Supporting cast
    • Dance Style: Classical ballet
  2. 2
    A holiday classic, this ballet tells the story of a young girl's dream journey with her Nutcracker prince. It features beautiful music and enchanting dancing.
    The Nutcracker is a famous ballet performance that is considered one of the most beautiful of all time. It tells the whimsical story of a young girl named Clara who receives a magical nutcracker doll as a Christmas gift. The doll comes to life, and Clara is whisked away on a magical journey to a world of enchantment and fantasy.
    • Premiere Date: December 18, 1892
    • Setting: Germany, during the Christmas season
    • Characters: Clara, Nutcracker Prince, Sugar Plum Fairy, Mouse King, Drosselmeyer
    • Music Style: Classical, Romantic
    • Duration: Approximately 2 hours
  3. 3
    This romantic ballet from the 19th century tells the story of a peasant girl who falls in love with a nobleman, only to discover he is engaged to someone else. The ballet features beautiful, ethereal dancing and a haunting score.
    Giselle is a renowned ballet performance that first premiered in 1841. It is a romantic ballet that tells the tragic story of a peasant girl named Giselle. Created by Jean Coralli and Jules Perrot, Giselle has captivated audiences worldwide with its beautiful choreography and emotional narrative.
    • Genre: Romantic ballet
    • Premiere Year: 1841
    • Composer: Adolphe Adam
    • Original Language: French
    • Setting: Rural village and a ghost-filled forest
  4. 4
    Romeo and Juliet
    Ford Madox Brown · Public domain

    Romeo and Juliet

    William Shakespeare
    Choreographed by Kenneth MacMillan and set to Sergei Prokofiev's music, this ballet tells the tragic love story of the famous Shakespearean couple. The choreography and music are both stunning.
    Romeo and Juliet is a tragedy written by English playwright William Shakespeare, believed to be one of his most famous works. The play tells the story of two young lovers from feuding families in Verona, Italy, who ultimately meet a tragic end due to the ongoing conflict between their families. Their love is passionate, intense, and marked by a series of dramatic events.
    • Themes: Love, Fate, Family Conflict
    • Number of Acts: 5
    • Genre: Tragedy
    • Setting: Verona, Italy
    • Year: 1597
    Romeo and Juliet in other rankings
  5. 5
    This lively and colorful ballet is based on the famous novel by Miguel de Cervantes. It features exciting choreography and lively Spanish music.
    Don Quixote is a classical ballet that premiered in Moscow in 1869. It is loosely based on the famous novel by Miguel de Cervantes and follows the adventures of Don Quixote and his sidekick Sancho Panza. The ballet is known for its lively and colorful choreography, showcasing the talents of the dancers through virtuosic solos, energetic group dances, and breathtaking pas de deux.
    • Premiere Date: December 26, 1869
    • Setting: Spain
    • Act: Three acts
    • Style: Classical ballet
    • Main Characters: Don Quixote, Sancho Panza, Kitri, Basilio
    Don Quixote in other rankings
  6. 6
    Another Tchaikovsky masterpiece, this ballet tells the story of Princess Aurora, who falls asleep for 100 years after pricking her finger on a spindle. The music and choreography are both breathtaking.
    Sleeping Beauty is a classical ballet that tells the fairy tale story of Princess Aurora, who falls into a deep sleep and is awakened by a kiss on her 16th birthday. The ballet showcases a magical world with enchanting characters, including the evil fairy Carabosse and the kind Lilac Fairy. The story is filled with romance, wonder, and beautiful dance sequences.
    • Year of creation: 1889
    • Music composer: Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    • Duration: Approximately 2 hours and 45 minutes
    • Number of acts: Three acts
    • Original ballet company: Ballet of the Imperial Theater
    Sleeping Beauty in other rankings
  7. 7
    La Bayadère
    Unknown photographer of the Imperial Mariinsky Theatre. St. Petersburg, Russian Empire · Public domain
    This ballet set in India tells the story of a temple dancer and a warrior who fall in love, but are torn apart by jealousy and betrayal. The ballet features beautiful, exotic dancing and a lush score.
    La Bayadère is a classical ballet that tells the tragic love story of a temple dancer called Nikiya and a warrior named Solor. This enchanting ballet combines elements of romance, betrayal, and spirituality, set in India. The ballet showcases a rich tapestry of traditional Indian customs and breathtaking choreography.
    • Year of Premiere: 1877
    • Genre: Classical Ballet
    • Setting: India
    • Act(s): 3 Acts
    • Main Characters: Nikiya, Solor, Gamzatti
  8. 8

    The Firebird

    Igor Stravinsky
    This ballet tells the story of a magical bird that helps a prince defeat an evil sorcerer. The music, composed by Igor Stravinsky, is haunting and the choreography is both graceful and powerful.
    The Firebird is a ballet performance that combines enchanting music, exquisite choreography, and a captivating storyline. It tells the tale of Prince Ivan, who discovers a magical Firebird in the enchanted forest. The Firebird possesses the power to bring both blessing and destruction, and Prince Ivan becomes entangled in a thrilling adventure as he faces an evil sorcerer and a dazzling cast of characters.
    • Premiere: June 25, 1910
    • Composer: Igor Stravinsky
    • Choreographer: Michel Fokine
    • Based on: Russian fairy tales
    • Music style: Impressionistic and neo-classical
    The Firebird in other rankings
  9. 9
    This lighthearted and charming ballet tells the story of a young man who falls in love with a lifelike doll. The music and choreography are both delightful.
    Coppélia is a classical ballet that tells the charming and humorous story of a young man named Franz who falls in love with a beautiful girl named Coppélia, who happens to be a life-sized mechanical doll created by the eccentric toymaker Dr. Coppélius. The ballet is characterized by its delightful mix of comedy, romance, and fantastical elements.
    • Premiere Date: May 25, 1870
    • Genre: Classical ballet
    • Setting: A small village in Galicia, Spain
    • Level of Difficulty: Intermediate to advanced
    • Number of Acts: Three
  10. 10
    This abstract ballet by choreographer George Balanchine is set to the music of three different composers and features dazzling costumes and sparkling choreography.
    Jewels is a three-act ballet that premiered on April 13, 1967, at the New York City Ballet. It is renowned for its elegance, grandeur, and exceptional choreography. Each act of Jewels represents a different style of ballet, creating a captivating and diverse performance.
    • Premiere date: April 13, 1967
    • Choreographer: George Balanchine
    • Acts: Three
    • Styles: Emeralds (French Romantic), Rubies (American neoclassical), Diamonds (Russian classical)
    • Music: Gabriel Fauré (Emeralds), Igor Stravinsky (Rubies), Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (Diamonds)

Missing your favorite ballet performance?


Ranking factors for beautiful ballet performance

  1. Choreography
    The creativity, originality, and artistic value of the dance moves and sequences are essential factors in determining the beauty of a ballet performance. This includes the use of space, timing, and the overall flow of the performance.
  2. Technique
    The skill level and technical proficiency of the dancers are crucial in executing the choreography. This includes their ability to execute challenging moves such as spins, jumps, and lifts, as well as more subtle aspects such as posture, alignment, and balance.
  3. Emotional expression
    The ability of the dancers to convey emotion and tell a story through movement is an essential aspect of a beautiful ballet performance. This involves the dancers' facial expressions, body language, and the overall mood they create on stage.
  4. Musicality
    A strong connection between the dancers and the music is vital for a beautiful ballet performance. The dancers should be in sync with the rhythm and use the music to guide their movements and expressions.
  5. Costumes and set design
    The visual aspects of the performance, including the costumes, set design, and lighting, can significantly impact the overall beauty of a ballet performance. These elements should complement and enhance the choreography and the dancers.
  6. Ensemble work
    In a ballet performance featuring multiple dancers, the ability of the group to perform in unison and create visually pleasing patterns and formations is important in determining the beauty of the performance.
  7. Innovation
    A beautiful ballet performance should also be fresh and original, bringing something new to the art form, whether through incorporating new techniques or styles or reinterpreting classic choreography.
  8. Artistic interpretation
    The dancers' ability to convey the choreographer's intent and artistic vision is crucial to a beautiful ballet performance. The dancers should embody the style, emotion, and dynamics of the piece.
  9. Balance and harmony
    A beautiful ballet performance should have a balance between technical skill, emotion, and aesthetic appeal. It should feel harmonious and cohesive, with all elements working together to create an impactful and memorable experience for the audience.
  10. Audience engagement
    Lastly, a beautiful ballet performance should captivate and engage the audience, drawing them into the world created on stage and leaving a lasting impression.

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most beautiful ballet performance. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or Ballet performance is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 201 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each Ballet performance once every 24 hours. The rank of each Ballet performance is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.

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More information on most beautiful ballet performance

Ballet is considered one of the most elegant and refined forms of dance, and has been captivating audiences for centuries. It originated in the 15th century in the Italian Renaissance courts as a form of entertainment, but has since evolved into a highly technical and expressive art form. Ballet performances are known for their combination of precise movements, graceful lines, and emotive storytelling. From classical works like Swan Lake and The Nutcracker to contemporary pieces like The Rite of Spring, there are countless beautiful ballet performances that have captured the hearts of audiences around the world. In this article, we'll explore some of the most stunning and memorable ballet performances of all time.

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