The Vaganova Method is known for training dancers with high, powerful ballet jumps, and many of the dancers on this list trained under this method. However, dancers from around the world from a variety of schools have, with a lifetime of practice, become masters of the leap. Here are the 10 most powerful leaps in history, in no order. Individual style differences make ranking them in ascending format impossible.
1. Natalia OsipovaNatalia Osipova in Class Concert. © Stas Levshin
Osipova joined the Bolshoi Ballet in 2005 and won the coveted Prix Benoist de la Danse 4 years later. As the principal dancer for the Royal Ballet of London, a role she’s held since 2013, Osipova has been lauded for her performances in Romeo and Juliette, The Nutcracker, and Giselle.
2. Ivan Vasiliev© Laurent Liotardo
Vasiliev started with the Bolshoi Ballet in 2006. Since then he’s won numerous prizes for his dance as well as choreography work, including the 2011 UK Critic’s Best Dancer award and was named an “Honoured Artist of Russia” in 2014.
3. Carlos Acosta
Starting his training at the Cuban National Ballet School, Acosta went on to dance for the English National Ballet, National Ballet of Cuba, Houston Ballet, American Ballet Theatre and Royal Ballet during his nearly two-decades-long career.
4. Tetsuya Kumakawa
Kumakawa, who danced for The Royal Ballet, won prizes for his original performances of the classics Don Quixote and The Nutcracker. He was the first ever Asian principal dancer for the world-renowned company.
5. Mikhail Baryshnikov
If not the greatest ballet dancer in history, Baryshnikov is certainly the most well-known in the West. He began his career at the classical Mariinsky Ballet. After his defection to Canada in 1974 he became a pioneer of modern dance at the New York City Ballet.
6. Nikolay Tsiskaridze
As a member of the Bolshoi Ballet from 1992-2013, Tsiskaridze performed over 70 classical and modern roles. In 2001, he became the youngest person to be named a People’s Artist of Russia. He currently serves as the rector of the Vaganova Ballet Academy.