Celebrity Names Blog

Ballerina Baby Names

Ballerina Baby Names
Photo credit: Flame/Flynet

This summer, t.v. networks are indulging the childhood dreams of so many little girls with new ballet-themed shows. Breaking Pointe (a reality show) and Bunheads (a drama/comedy), now joining Australia’s drama Dance Academy, are an answer to the fascination many of us have with the ballet, and provide a behind-the-scenes look at the lives of young ballerinas.

The characters and real-life dancers in these shows are not always given names that scream “ballet”, but some do stand out. When it comes to ballerina names, we think that the most prominent examples come from famous ballerinas throughout modern history as well as names from classical ballets. Here’s a sampling of each.

Ballet-Inspired Names

Aurora - from the ballet Sleeping Beauty
Aurora is a name we associate with the northern lights. It has a lovely meaning and a fairytale image to add to its list of charms. This name is on an upward trend.

Clara - from the ballet The Nutcracker
The name of the little girl whose dreams come to life in the ballet, this seems fitting for a ballerina or a girl next door (maybe both!). Though not as popular as it was in the 1800s, Clara is on an upward trend as well.

Giselle - from the ballet Giselle
This could be considered the most iconic ballerina name because of its strong association with the ballet. It’s also the name of a Disney princess, though that hasn’t seemed to have hurt or helped its popularity too much.

Maya - Maya Plisetskaya, Russian ballerina (b. 1925)
Maya is another name enjoying an upswing in popularity since it first appeared on the charts in the 70s. 

Sasha - from Bunheads
A Russian name with lots of appeal. This is the pet form of Alexander and is used primarily for girls in the U.S.

Sylvie - Sylvie Guillem, French ballerina (b. 1965)
The French form of Silvia, this is a charming name that people seem to like but don’t use very often.

Svetlana - Svetlana Zakharova, Ukrainian ballerina (b. 1979)
This is a common Russian name that’s rarely found in the U.S., as the “Sv” combination makes it a bit choppy to pronounce. This name is shared by Russian ballerina Svetlana Lunkina. 

Ballerina Names That End In -ina

One common characteristic shared by several ballerina names is the “-ina” ending, mirroring the Italian word ballerina. These names have a distinctly international feel to them. The most popular on this list is the name Nina; all the others are not in the top 1,000.

Bettina “Boo” - Character in Bunheads

Galina - Galina Mezentseva, Russian ballerina (b. 1952)

Irina - Irina Kolesnikova, Russian ballerina (b. 1980)

Katrina “Kat” - Character in Dance Academy

Nina - Nina Ananiashvili, Georgian ballerina (b. 1963)

When you think of a ballerina, what name comes to mind? What names would you add to the list?

--L.E.

Comments

July 30, 2012 4:27 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

What about Coppelia?

July 30, 2012 4:29 PM
By Bethany (not verified)

I always think of Lorna and Lorena the Cuban Prima Ballerina sisters.

July 30, 2012 7:19 PM
By Linnaeus (not verified)

The New York City Ballet has a few interesting names among the dancers.

Sterling (f)
Ask (m)
Likolani (f)
Tiler (f)
Gonzalo (m)
Abi (f)
Amar (m)
Spartak (m)

I like the list.

July 30, 2012 7:30 PM
By Abby@AppMtn (not verified)

My favorite has to be Gelsey - as in Gelsey Kirkland. I'm curious to see Bunheads ... here's hoping for tons of great names this fall season!

July 30, 2012 8:21 PM
By Angela (not verified)

Angelina Ballerina!

July 31, 2012 7:20 AM
By Boys Name (not verified)

My favorites are Giselle and Sasha. They are ultimate. I am definitely going to use this name for my baby.

July 31, 2012 8:19 AM
By Tara (not verified)

Odette from Swan Lake. Swoon!

July 31, 2012 10:54 AM
By BL (not verified)

Love Sterling! Sasha is on my list for girl's names but might be getting too popular these days.

July 31, 2012 1:25 PM
By Em (not verified)

Darcey Bussell is a famous British ballerina. The name Darcey always reminds me of her.

July 31, 2012 1:32 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I always think of Polly, Posy, and Petrova, from "Ballet Shoes," by Noel Streatfeild.

July 31, 2012 4:03 PM
By Alexandra (not verified)

I am with you on the Gelsey love. It is definitely at the top of my list for girls.

Sadly, there is not much dancing in "Bunheads," nor is it "Gilmore Girls," which it is trying so desperately to be. It is worth watching for Kelly Bishop and the bit of dancing they show (as well as hunting for Stars Hollow actors) are the only reasons I find it to be worth watching.

July 31, 2012 7:07 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Tanaquil LeClercq, one of George Balanchine's muses and wives

July 31, 2012 11:10 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

It was Pauline, not Polly, in "Ballet Shoes."

July 31, 2012 11:52 PM
By Courtney (not verified)

I'm adoring Bunheads! My niece is named after Allegra (after the celebrated dancer Allegra Kent). They do get allergy medication comments, but it is a beautiful, if unusual, name that means joy.

August 1, 2012 12:38 AM
By Marina (not verified)

Hello, Isadora.

August 2, 2012 9:32 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

If my youngest had been a girl, he would have been Margot. Which definitely feels like a ballerina name to me due to Margot Fonteyn. It is feminine and sophisticated, like a prima ballerina.

November 14, 2012 7:11 AM
By micah (not verified)

Whenever my most youthful was really a daughter, even though were Margot. Which unfortunately absolutely feels like a new ballerina moniker to my opinion on account of Margot Fonteyn. It will be woman's and complex, similar to a prima dancer. micah

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By Anonymous (not verified)

I'm adoring Bunheads! My niece is named after Allegra (after the celebrated dancer Allegra Kent). They do get allergy medication comments, but it is a beautiful, if unusual, name that means joy.
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Svetlana Zakharova is one of the most bellerina in the modern history.i think there are many differences between real life dancers and ballerinas..
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