11 Of Pop's Most Iconic Dancers, Ranked

Photo: Matt Baron/BEImages.
Sure, Michael Jackson will always be the moon-walking, "Thriller"-starring, best-dancing King of Pop. But we still have plenty of fleet-footed stars making music and shredding the dance floor today. Some of the biggest names in music started off as dancers, after all.

Taylor Swift has some adorable moves — but we wouldn't call her a dancer so much as a goddess among women. Ariana Grande may have the most Mariah-esque voice, but she's not busting out any crazy routines on stage (Mariah hasn't been known to, either, for the record). And yes, Rihanna has an excellent booty shake, but exquisitely timed twerks aren't gonna cut it next to Shakira, the original queen of insane hip-isolation.

So, for your viewing glory, we've ranked the best dancers in pop — and their best music videos. Did we miss one of our personal favorites? Let us know in the comments below.
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11. Madonna
Madge actually got her start with a dance scholarship, and was all set to become a professional dancer — if she hadn't fallen in love with singing first. Her classical training shows. She's not all about crazy-intricate footwork, but place her in more abstract settings, and she brings it (e.g., voguing — a touchstone moment of cultural appropriation that introduced the underground moves to the masses).
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10. Missy Elliott
Sure, Alyson Stoner, the little girl in "Work It," has been hogging the spotlight in recent years, but what Missy lacks in technical finesse she makes up for with pure swagger. Her music videos are tightly choreographed parties, and that definitely came out when she popped up at the Super Bowl with Katy Perry.
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9. Early Britney
Back in the early days, Britney Spears was a formidable dancer, hitting all her marks hard and oozing with confidence. Her most iconic video is arguably "Baby One More Time", but she was still pulling off some stellar choreography in 2003's "Me Against the Music."
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8. Shakira
The Colombian-born star is famous for her belly-dancing technique, which she learned growing up. Just Google, "how to dance like Shakira," and you'll get more than 5 million results. No one can really shake like her (twerking doesn't count).
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7. Justin Bieber
The Biebs might be garnering more attention recently for some of his questionable life choices (like that Instagram — you know the one we're talking about), but the singer was first discovered on YouTube before being taken under Usher's wing. It shows — Bieber has some incredibly slick dance moves. There's a reason why tween girls swoon over the baby-faced bro. Watch his footwork in "Boyfriend," or skip to 2:42 in "As Long as You Love Me."
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6. Justin Timberlake
J.T. first stole our hearts with his super-adorable curly hair and angsty dance moves in "Tearin' Up My Heart," but then he went solo, ditched the 'do, and was all like, "I'm a grown-ass man now." Watch him tear up the dance floor (ignore that goatee) in "Rock Your Body," then see him all grown up and finessed in "Mirrors." His slick moves in the last third of the music video show just the right amount of cool restraint.
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5. Usher
When Usher's "Yeah!" hit the radio, it was played nonstop. Everyone tried to imitate the singer's suave cheesiness (also see “U Don't Have to Call”), but no one could even come close. He might have some new rivals in the R&B world today, but he's the only one who shared a stage with Michael Jackson — and didn't get overshadowed.
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4. Ciara
Ciara is like the female Magic Mike — a ridiculously smooth dancing machine, technically flawless and incredibly sexy and also very, very untouchable. Seriously. Just watch her body rolls and her variations on twerking. She basically carries this music video on her dancing alone.
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3. Beyoncé
Let's be real here, Beyoncé lacks nothing. Nothing. She can do modern dance. She can dance in roller skates. She can make silly arm movements into pure art. She started her solo career being the epitome of crazy-sexy-fierce, and she only gets more and more badass. All of her moves seem to inevitably become iconic.
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2. Jennifer Lopez
Bronx-born J.Lo started off as a dancer, getting her first big break as a "Fly Girl" on In Living Color in the '90s. She was also a backup dancer for New Kids on the Block and Janet Jackson, but she more than held her own. There's a reason she's the star of Prince Royce's "Back It Up."
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1. Janet Jackson
Janet Jackson hasn't been particularly known for boasting killer pipes, but her moves are pretty much on par with her brother's. Stars like Ciara and Jennifer Lopez cite Janet as their inspiration to join the industry, and "The Pleasure Principle" (which was Flashdance on crack) served as inspiration for Britney's "Stronger" video.