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Tall dancers and how tall is too tall for classical ballet

Guest cmchase

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Guest cmchase

My daughter is quite tall. fortunately very talented also but I can't help but worry because of her height. She is 5' 91/2" I hear such conflicted info and just want to know if there are a multitude of tall dancers out there. Is the quality of movement the most important factor? She is 15 and no longer growing. She has been quite successful in summer intensive auditions and has attended prestigious ones but she will never be the tiny dancer out there. I guess I am hoping to hear that there are indeed many tall professional dancers in this country?

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Hi cmchase and welcome! :yes:

Dancers' height is a subject often discussed on this board. Here are a couple of links on that topic:



Is Height an Issue?


Tall Dancers


There are more discussions about height that you can look up by using "search" at the top of the page. (I typed in the word "tall" and came up with several pages on that topic.) Hope you find what you're looking for. :wacko:

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Hi CMChase


Too bad our daughters are not at the same school - mine just turned 16 and is close to 5'9. I think the tall dancers are out there - it would just be nice if there were a couple of others at our school. At my daughters SI last year her roommate was barely 5' - what a pair! I have read all the suggested links and they are very helpful. It's hard when you know that 5'6 to 5'7 is just perfect for fitting into most corps.

What SI is your daughter attending this year?

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My DD seemed to always be too tall for certain parts when casting was taking place. She grew out of the party scene and her chance to be Marie in the Nutcracker all too soon. She is 5'7" now, but she wears a size 9 street shoe, so she's pretty tall when she goes up on pointe! She has long legs, too, so that seems to add to her height. She is definitely done growing because she's a high school graduate. Hopefully, there will be a company somewhere someday that will like each of our daughters!

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The worst part is that most of these tall girls have size 9-10 feet and our experience is that when you go to a dance shop to try different pointe shoes the most common expression is - "we don't have that style in your size". :)


However, on the positive side - when you watch taller dancers like Kowroski, Guillem, Bussell dance - those extensions are breathtaking!!

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There is a beautiful principal dancer in PNB who is 5'11. :)

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I have an old rule. If you are too tall to get through the stage door, you are probably too tall for ballet.

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I've posted this before...but my daughter is 5'10" & a professional ballet dancer. So it can happen! She had to work harder to find a job than some, but is happy and dancing a lot with her company. She will never do certain "small girl" roles either, but she and her tall friends from school all managed to get jobs. There are certain companies that prefer tall dancers. As mentioned aboved, the existing threads go into further detail.

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There's a tall girl from the ABT on the cover of this season's Dancewear direct catalogue and her extension is amazing! My first reaction was 'Wow!'. Fiz. xxx

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Guest PsFs

And just how tall is that girl from ABT??? My dd did a SI there last year, but when I looked online at the ABT audition info, they cited 5´7" as the max for women auditioners..... My dd is a hair over 5´8", so I wonder if she should just audition anyway for these companies that seem to have height "restrictions".


What are some of the US companies that have an affinity for tall female dancers?

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My DD, also 15, has stopped growing an is 5'8". She looks taller though, because most of the girls she dances with are little - 5'2" or so. She'll be a senior in high school in the fall, so will be looking for a job next year. She's been advised to go ahead and try out for places she LOVES even if they have a height requirement, just on the off chance she catches somebody's eye, if she can go in knowing that she may be eliminated on height alone.

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Some US companies that have tall dancers:


Ballet West (my dd is there), PNB, & Lines in San Francisco are those with which I am familiar. I'm sure there are others...but this seems to change from season to seaon & with changes in ADs.

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*knock knock*



An audition listing may say 5'4" max, simply because the company already has 7 dancers over 5'6", and no one to do the "short" girl parts :blink: Not necessarily that the company has a height "restriction".


As long as an audition isn't a giant expense (sending a tape isn't :sweating: ), sometimes it's worth going anyway. You never know what will happen over the course of a season or two...

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Pnbmom appears to have hit all the bases I know of when it comes to tall companies. I also worry on this issue. One of my DD's is 5'8"/5'9" depending on which doctors office measures her. I checked the Ballet West website and they stated a minimum height of 5'6"! It gives me hope! Lets cross our fingers this trend continues. As was said earlier, all seems to change with each AD.


At last years SI I was mortified at how short many/most of the girls were. I mean really short, some barely 5'! I know tall girls have a more difficult time, they have so much more to control and move, carry and lift! They are also trained much slower because of muscle memory, there's more to train there as well. We are a country of people getting taller even though short gene's are dominant. We just have to stay cool and see where trends go. Companies need tall girls, you can't have a shrimp doing Lilac Fairy or Myrtal in Giselle or a big swan in Swan Lake! Companies really do need all sizes!

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ABT does have dancers over 5'7"...Michele Wiles is 5'8" (according to an article in Dance magazine), and Angela Snow is 5'9" (according to her bio at Discount Dance).


DD just had her SI physical and discovered that she has grown again at age 16...she's now 5'7 and 3/4", and is beginning to wonder if she's ever going to stop growing.


Pasdetrois and Dance1soccer1~ I know what you mean... DD often feels so much taller than everyone else in ballet class because the majority of her classmates are on the short side. People are always commenting on "how tall" she is and guessing that she is 5'9". She works hard on her artistry, as well as her technique, thinking that she'll need "that something extra" (because of her height) when it comes time to audition. She's concerned that being tall might be a detriment in the eyes of some companies. It's encouraging for her to read about the successes of other tall dancers!


ondine~So true about the pointe shoes. DD (shoe size 9.5) was curious about trying other brands in case she ever needed a back-up in an emergency. She thought it both humorous and annoying that the name of the pointe shoe that the fitter recommended was "Grande" (Spanish for "large"). :blink:

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