WHAT IS A PRINCIPAL DANCER? A principal dancer is a dancer at the highest rank within a professional dance company, particularly a ballet company.
A principal may be male or female. Principals are hired by, or promoted from within, a company to regularly perform not only solos, but also pas de deux. It is a coveted position in the company and the most prominent position a dancer can receive. The term is used mostly in ballet but is also used in other forms such as modern dance. The terms prima ballerina, premier danseur, and première danseuse have been used to denote similar levels of prominence. The principal dancer is usually the star of the ballet.