Anna Pavlova was a Russian ballerina who was born on January 31, 1881. Her mother was a laundry woman, and her father is thought to be a young Jewish soldier and businessman. She decided she wanted to dance ballet when she saw The Sleeping Beauty performed. At the age of ten Pavlova entered the Imperial Ballet School. After her graduation there she began to perform at the Mariinsky Theatre.

Anna Pavlova began her first tour in 1907 to Moscow. She spent much of her life on tour and in the companionship of several exotic pets and her manager, Victor Dandre. Rumors circulated that he was her husband as well as her manager, but Pavlova denied it.

Pavlova was dedicated to preserving ballet's classical style. She was often regarded as light, frail and dainty. Dancers all over the world agree that she was a phenomenal ballerina. Pavlova died on January 31, 1931 of pleurisy in the Netherlands, according to Women's History .

Melissa Hayden was born as Mildred Herman in Toronto, Canada in 1923. Unlike many other ballerinas, she did not start dancing until the age of 12. Nevertheless, Hayden is regarded as one of the greatest dancers of American ballet. She began training in Toronto with a distinguished instructor named Boris Volkov. Hayden then moved to New York City and found her first professional job at Radio City Music Hall, according to Clive Barnes' article in Dance Magazine .

Melissa Hayden is regarded as a Balanchine dancer because she joined George Balanchine's newly formed dance company, New York City Ballet. She danced there until her retirement at the age of 50.

After Hayden's retirement from dancing, she made a career as a ballet instructor. She taught at North Carolina School of the Arts from 1983 until a few weeks before her recent death in 2006. In the beginning of the video above, Hayden is the second dancer to the left.