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Height ranges for ballet dancers


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As I page through various dance magazines some of the audition posts state heights for the dancers they need- male and female. What is the height range? I know company auditions are a few years off, but I am a planner and want to be informed. My concern is that my daughter, being a late bloomer, may get passed on early because she is so short. (age 13, 5'1") I didn't grow until after high school.

:D So, is there a height for most companies that is desirable?

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Balletmartyr, the average range is somewhere between about 5'3 and 5'7, however there are certainly professional dancers out there, in all sorts of companies, who are under or over that height. If a dancer is very, very short or very, very tall however, then generally they need to be exceptional enough to make soloist, as they just don't fit into the corps of a classical company. But that is just classical companies. The more contemporary companies do not have as much corps work, with smaller companies and ballets that use dancers very differently than the way they are used in Swan Lake, for example. In these companies the heights may vary a great deal and the dancers are more individual.

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Guest grandmatoes

My daughter is on the tall side so I'm wondering as well.

Are some Ballet companies known for taking taller girls versus

shorter girls? It would be nice to know ahead of the game so as to not waste

the audition time on the ones who cater to a different height.

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My recollection is that there was a discussion of this not long ago. I am not an expert in searching on this site, but I encourage you to run some searches on this topic. As I recall there was a very active discussion about this.



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Daughter did Ballet West's company audition recently. Their MINIMUM height requirement was 5'5"- I believe the maximum was 5'10". Right at the beginning of the audition, they cut dancers based on height (too short). They are known for liking tall dancers.


But Balletmartyr, I wouldn't worry at all about a 13 year old who's 5'1". She has plenty of growing years ahead of her.

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But Balletmartyr, I wouldn't worry at all about a 13 year old who's 5'1". She has plenty of growing years ahead of her.

Yup, I say just sit back & let her grow! At 13 I just couldn't make myself worry about whether or not my kid will be too tall or short for certain companies. I can be quite the "planner" too :D but I think I would have to postpone my anxiety on this topic for a few years LOL!


BTW, my dd is 11 and just a smidge over 5'...depending on which side of the family she takes after she could wind up 5'6" or 5'11", or even taller or shorter depending on where puberty takes her. Since there's not a whole lot I can do to change the eventual outcome I guess I'll just make sure she's well fed. :wink:

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Balletmartyr, what heights are posted in the magazines?


I have thought about this quite a bit. I have a 12 year old who is almost 5'5". There are 2 other girls at the school who are almost her exact age...one is slightly shorter and one is slightly taller. It is nice to see that she is not alone. :D

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Guest Watermill

One of the inequities of minimum height requirments is that it does not take into consideration foot length. Look at Yuan Yuan Tan of SFB.


And what about presence? Makarova is tiny but danced large. From the fourth tier you could feel every finger. Would the above mentioned company dismiss her from their audition? "Their loss" is an understatement. In fact, the list of prima ballerinas not invited to that audition would be most impressive.


Height schmeight, give me dancers!



Rebel Leader against the Imperial Clones

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Height schmeight, give me dancers!


That's the idea. Loved your spirit in this response. Watermill, Rebel Leader against the Imperial Clones!


As a mom of a girl at the taller end in a school where the shorter ones are preferred, I have been needing to periodically boost my DD's spirits on the issue. I don't like her wishing that she were shorter, but to use well what she has been gifted with...those long, long legs, expressive arms, and joy of dancing. I am so glad to hear that she will fit into the real ballet world someday. This is heartening to know!


One of her teachers has always told DD that because she is tall, she has to work harder to accomplish some things. That has been so. She is beginning to find success on many levels of her development, and I'm afriad that without this teacher's consistent reminders, that the "I wish I were short" syndrome might have been too discouraging.


Thank you for this thread.

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A question. What is it about Yuan Yuan Tan's feet that are interesting to note. I am not aware of this.

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Guest BalletAuthor

Everyone is right, don't loose any sleep over a 5' 1" 13 year old! Just feed her and she'll grow! Kind of like watering plants! :devil:


There are a wide variety of heights in many companies although some clearly have strong preferences.


As vagansmom clearly noted Ballet West is TALL, so is PNB, as are many companies in Europe with Eifman Ballet St. Petersberg having once been referred to in "Dance" as "...arguably the tallest company on the planet." Very large companies like NYCB have room for relatively "short" and relatively "tall" dancers and of course these things change with time, AD's tastes and what's available!


Lines Contemporary Ballet in SF has some very tall girls (but then as was already noted they do not put on the standard "Swan Lake")


Miami City Ballet is known to favor shorter dancers and awful lot of places have a bit of this and a bit of that.


Actually, in regard to Yuan Yuan, she is tall to begin with and has long slender feet to match!


PS Minimum/maximum height requirements are a guideline (and often an attempt to save dancers some $ so the 4' 10" kids are not flying from all over the world to to audition for a company whose strong preference is for taller dancers). Hopefully, most AD's would not pass over the next Pavlova because she is too short! [but if it happened it wouldn't surprise me much at this point!]

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Hopefully, most AD's would not pass over the next Pavlova because she is too short! [but if it happened it wouldn't surprise me much at this point!]


Unfortunately, judging from the Ballet West audition, they WOULD miss "the next Pavlova" because she would never have even gotten to complete barre! They cut right away within the first several moments, hardly enough time for an exceptionally talented dancer to show that the guideline shouldn't matter in her case.


That said, I am happy for all the tall female dancers that there ARE companies with that preference. It's usually not the case.

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My daughter went to Ballet West's SI last summer and was pretty much ignored. She's short, could have been that or other things but it made her feel even smaller. It doesn't matter anymore since she's giving up a total focus on ballet after seeing all of the harsh realities. she's broadening her range and studying all kinds of dance now at college. She's one of the taller dancers in her college partnering class, a first for her at 5'5".

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