The Professional Ballet Dancers You Should Follow On Instagram

Photo: Johnny Nunez/WireImage.
There's a Misty Copeland quote that's so relatable it's become a popular Instagram meme among dancers. "The hardest thing to hear as a ballet dancer is, 'Oh, that's so cute!'" it reads. "And I'm like, 'If you only know what it took to look cute.'" It makes sense why it resonates with so many ballet dancers: They spend hours on end training, rehearsing, and perfecting a role, but the audience only gets to see the final product.
Fortunately, in the past few years, Instagram has given dancers a platform to share behind-the-scenes glimpses into what their daily life is really like. Exposure through social media is incredibly important, because it allows dancers like Copeland the opportunity to develop a brand and following, and because it makes ballet more accessible to those who can't afford to pay to see a live performance. Plus, photos and videos of dancers are just cool.
On Instagram, you can see videos of, say, what it really looks like when American Ballet Theatre rehearses massive corps de ballet segments, or what prima ballerinas really do in their dressing rooms. And more importantly, you can learn to appreciate all the hard work that goes into "looking cute."
Ahead are the ballet dancers you should follow on Instagram for everyday inspiration in your feed.
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There is not a feeling like it in the world! #internationaldanceday #SwanLakeSweat

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Scout Forsythe @scoutforsythe

Scout Forsythe is not only a fierce corps de ballet member with American Ballet Theatre, she's also a surfer from California who's outspoken about the environment. Forsythe's feed is full of photos of her dancing and riding waves, but she's best known for her Instagram stories. Every Tuesday, she posts a #TypicalTuesday play by play of her day, including behind-the-scenes snippets from rehearsals. Sometimes, she even posts giveaways for tickets to performances — so it's definitely worth a follow if you're trying to go see some ballet.
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Maria Kochetkova @balletrusse

With her eye for fashion and quirky sense of humor, it's no surprise that Maria Kotchetkova has a massive following on social media. "It’s important to have this little connection between the audience and what we do, because there isn’t much that really tells you that ballet isn’t Swan Lake anymore," she told Vogue in 2016. She often posts video snippets of rehearsals on her Instagram, and her edgy, acrobatic style or ballet is awe-inspiring even to the untrained eye.
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Michaela DePrince @michaeladeprince

You may have seen Michaela DePrince in commercials and Beyoncé videos, hanging with Madonna, or on the pages of a fashion spread in Harper's Bazaar — but on Instagram, she's just another 23-year-old who posts candid snaps of her life. The soloist with Dutch National Ballet is everywhere right now, and has been outspoken about the lack of representation for Black women in classical ballet. "Often you look around, and there are no Black dancers," she told The Guardian. "Classical ballet is beautiful, but it’s very old."
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Ashley Bouder @ashleybouder

As a dancer, Ashley Bouder is known for her athletic jumps and impressive turns, which you'll get glimpses of in videos on her Instagram profile. But Bouder also shares photos of her daughter, Violet Storm, hanging backstage at the theater or practicing ballet that will make you melt. Recently, Bouder wrote an op-ed for Dance Magazine about why it's time for ballet to embrace feminism and get rid of gender roles. "There are certainly male dancers out there who would like to be a ballerina instead of her lifting and double-touring counterpart," she wrote. "As there are women who dislike pointe shoes and have the ability to jump high and turn well."
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Misty Copeland @mistyonpointe

In 2016, Misty Copeland made history when she became the first Black woman to be promoted to principal with American Ballet Theatre. These days, she's also an Under Armour sponsored athlete and an author. Copeland is so busy hustling that sometimes her Instagram feed is the best way to keep up with her latest projects, performances, and announcements.
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Lia Cirio @msliac

Lia Cirio's clever Instagram captions are proof that classical ballet doesn't always have to be stuffy or boring. In one photo from Sleeping Beauty, she wrote: "Prince Charming sliding into my DMs like, 'U awake?'" Although Cirio is a principal with Boston Ballet, she also is the associate artistic director of Cirio Collective, which she runs with her brother. The siblings are half-Filipino, and often discuss why it's important for Asian-American people to be seen in ballet: "I am not a pure white ballet dancer. I’m half-Filipino, and I have broad shoulders," she told Boston Magazine. "I might not look like a Juliet or a Giselle ghost, but I can portray that."
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Violetta Komyshan @violetta

While many people know Violetta Komyshan as Ansel Elgort's girlfriend, she's an established ballet dancer in her own right. After graduating from Fiorello H. LaGuardia high school, she joined BalletNext, a contemporary ballet company in New York City. When she's not posting stunning ballet photos, she's on glamorous vacations with Elgort or casually walking red carpets.
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Isabella Boylston @isabellaboylston

Isabella Boylston is a principal with American Ballet Theatre, and the ultimate "cool girl" of the ballet world right now. This year, she was Jennifer Lawrence's body double in the movie Red Sparrow, and she also starred in a Nike commercial. While Boylston's Insta is full of videos of her slaying with her BFF "Cindy," she also posts fierce videos of her training with coaches for principal roles.
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Lauren Lovette, @laurenlovette

As a principal with New York City Ballet, Lauren Lovette gets to perform some of the most iconic classical ballets every season. But recently, she's started choreographing work of her own on the company, and has made it her mission to push boundaries and make work that challenges gender roles. "A lot of times, we talk about things, but we don't actually do them," Lovette told Dance Magazine in 2016. "We'll post on social media, but when you actually make art that represents what you're trying to say, you're a part of the action." On Instagram, Lovette shares snippets of her choreography at different moments in the creation process.

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