Can Ballet Dancers Have Tattoos? (Important Facts)

Ballet dancers are exceptionally fit, which is no surprise – they go through intensive training since their bodies are always on display and need to be in peak condition. Such exercises and training involve a great deal of pain, much like getting a tattoo. Are ballet dancers allowed to have tattoos, though?

Ballet dancers can have tattoos, although they are often required to hide them when performing. Ballet dancers play different characters in productions, so having a large tattoo can cause a dancer to miss out on specific roles. However, many well-known ballet dancers have tattoos.

Since ballet dancers are generally quite artistic people, it’s no surprise that they would be interested in body art. Unfortunately, due to subjective standards and some company policies, ballet dancers are sometimes required to cover up their ink with makeup or a flesh-toned material sleeve. Let’s have a further look at whether having tattoos as a ballet dancer is a good idea or not.

Can Ballet Dancers Have Tattoos

Can Ballet Dancers Have Tattoos?

Of course, they can. Professional ballet dancers are still people, and some people like tattoos. But, for ballerinas, tattoos usually cannot be visible when in costume.

Generally, people get tattoos as a means of self-expression, inspiration, or reminders of cherished memories. An individual’s body art is often a reflection of themselves, their desires, and their struggles.

It is better to stick to smaller, less-exposed tattoos as a ballet dancer. Hidden areas such as the hips or groin area or a small tattoo on the wrist or ankle are more appropriate for tattoo placement.

Methods Used To Hide Tattoos

Since ballet is physical and dancers are prone to perspire, the makeup used to hide tattoos can easily rub off on expensive costumes. Using flesh-toned material sleeves is an alternative option, but these can easily slide off during a performance. Dancers usually keep a few of these material sleeves as they tend to stretch after a few uses.

Adhesive bandages are another option and come in different colors and patterns, which allow dancers to choose one that goes along with their costumes. These are a good option for dancers who need to quickly change their appearance before a performance as they are easy to apply and remove. Some ballet dancers have even been known to use stickers for temporary concealment.

Dancers can also use clothing to disguise tattoos. Dancers could wear long-sleeved shirts, pants, or leggings. It is important to note that the methods used to cloak tattoos are not always foolproof. Therefore, it is important to use the right accessories, so don’t be shy to ask for your makeup artist’s or choreographer’s advice.

A Ballet Dancer Might Regret Getting A Tattoo

Preparing for a dance piece is difficult enough as dancers face many challenges, and there are plenty of details to consider. Covering up tattoos is a lengthy and tiring process and often requires a team of makeup artists. A person’s skin has slightly different shades in different areas, so color matching takes time.

The makeup used is water/oil resistant and, therefore, a nightmare to remove after performances. It’s easy to understand why some dancers may regret getting tattoos.

Tattoos Can Be A Burden For Ballerinas

The career path for a ballet dancer is highly competitive and filled with uncertainty. Being chosen for productions is not always guaranteed, and having a tattoo (even if it is hidden) may prevent a ballet dancer from landing specific roles. A dancer with tattoos may have more experience and be more talented; however, the director may cast another dancer who doesn’t have tattoos.

Some casting directors can be strict regarding tattoos or even scars/blemishes. One must remember that a dancer’s tattoo may not fit a specific role in a production. Directors are well aware of the amount of time and trouble it takes to conceal tattoos, which may influence their decision concerning who gets the role.

A tattoo is considered a personal accessory and has nothing to do with a character depicted on stage. Some ballet dance creators will have productions that present a piece based on the dancers themselves, while other dance pieces will have characters that the dancers must portray. By having large tattoos, ballet dancers would lower their chances of being cast in productions.

With that said, many professional ballet dancers have tattoos and are still highly successful. Some organizations may have policies against tattoos, but many other dance companies do not have any restrictions.

Are There Famous Ballet Dancers With Tattoos?

Classical ballerinas are less likely to have tattoos compared to contemporary dancers. Some people see tattoos as contrary and unsophisticated to classic ballet aesthetics.

Interestingly enough, tattoos are more acceptable in other dance forms such as modern, contemporary, or hip hop. Body art can add originality to these dance forms and allows the dancers to be themselves. Nevertheless, there are still a few famous ballerinas who have tattoos. To name a few:

  • Sara Mearns, a principal dancer at New York City Ballet, has a tattoo of a sleeping cat on her foot.
  • The Australian Ballet’s artistic director, David Hallberg, has a large tattoo on his back portraying “Romeo and Juliet”.
  • Misty Copeland has multiple tattoos, including an Orisha goddess on her ribcage, a lion on her ankle, and a rose on her shoulder.
  • Natalia Osipova has several intricate designs on her body.


If you are a ballet dancer who already has tattoos, don’t worry; there are still plenty of opportunities for you. Ballet dancers don’t always have to fit the mold and look a particular way. With or without tattoos, you can succeed in the ballet world as long as you put in the hard work.

Remember that you may have to conceal your body art at times, though, and having a tattoo could be to your disadvantage when auditioning for a role in a production. It’s better to keep tattoos small and think carefully about the placement of your ink. Before visiting your local tattoo parlor, please consult with your dance organization or company regarding their tattoo policies.

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