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Dancing is one of the most ancient forms of human expression. It’s so old, that every culture has a different origin for this art, and now there are hundreds of different forms of dance; from classic ballet to breakdance, with everything in between.
Ballet is considered the classical form of this art. It takes years of arduous training to become a Prima Ballerina, and there are some roles that only the very best can portray. There are also many fairy tales that got their start as ballets, like The Swan Princess, the Nutcracker, and even the Little Mermaid.
With all that said, it is a bit strange that there’s only one anime dedicated 100% to ballet. Princess Tutu is a beautiful story that mixes two fairytales, The Ugly Duckling and Swan Lake, with the grace of Ballet and the traditional Japanese magical girl. But of all the dancers in the story, both main characters and one-episode victims, who are the very best?
Ahiru is the main character of the story. At first glance, she’s a very clumsy girl who wants nothing but to be a good ballerina and catch the attention of Myuuto, one of the best dancers and most handsome students in the school. As a dancer, she’s in the basic group, and although she has some talent, she’s very undisciplined and incredibly clumsy. She has enthusiasm and passion, which makes her entertaining to watch, but others admit that passion is not enough to make her good.
The truth is that Ahiru is not really a girl, but a duck turned into a girl. When one takes that into account, then she is probably the best duck dancer in the series, but still falls behind humans and other animal dancers around. When she has a good partner, like Rue or Myuuto, her lack of grace is more noticeable, but she tries her best.
Still, if she had some time to practice on her own, instead of having to solve the problems caused by Drosselmayer and the Raven, she could be much better. And so, we give her the tenth place in our list.
Pique is one of Ahiru’s best friends, and part of the beginner’s class at the Golden School. We don’t see her dance often, but she has more grace and discipline than Ahiru. However, she is convinced that there are people with more talent than her and thus, doesn’t really expect her dancing to get much better or to get her out of the beginner’s class.
Pique’s role in the story, however, doesn’t give her much chance to shine. As Ahiru’s friend, she gives her a sense of normality in her crazy life. She thinks Ahiru and Fakir would make an amazing couple, and constantly tells her that. As the story advances, the Monster Raven targets Pique as a sacrifice, but Princes Tutu frees her, by dancing with her.
With a bit more discipline, she’d be a great dancer. However, as her ability on the series seems stalled, she stays in the chorus line and in the ninth place of our list.
8. Neko Sensei
A Ballet teacher at the Gold Crown Academy, who also happens to be an anthropomorphic cat. As a teacher, he is very strict, but seems to care a lot about his students’ progress. This is why he is a good teacher, because he wants his students to be the best dancers they can be. Sure, he’s obsessed with threatening them with marriage if they fail –specifically marriage to him, which makes it look as if he believes that he is undesirable and unable to marry anyone- but in the end, he accepts when they have done a good job.
Since he is a cat, he has an advantage because he is more graceful than many human beings. However, he also has the disadvantage of all the cat instincts he still has, like needing to scratch things when he’s too frustrated with his students. Which is why he only gets the eighth place in our list.
Lillie is Ahiru’s other friend, but unlike Pique, she seems to enjoy when Ahiru gets in trouble. Whenever Ahiru is put in the spotlight, Lillie cheers and wonders how she will get out of that problem. She also mocks Ahiru’s love for Myuuto, reminding her that he has a girlfriend, and her apparent dislike for Fakir. In short, she is not really that good of a friend, even if she spends all her time with Pique watching Ahiru’s predicaments.
As a dancer, she’s marginally better than Pique. She is more feminine, and thus, tends to be more graceful in practice. However, she seems to be even less disciplined than Ahiru, as she is rarely one of the volunteers to dance for Neko Sensei, and is usually one of the last to join general practice. Which of course, hurts her technique and puts her in the seventh place of our list.
Paulamoni is an exception to our list. She is the only professional ballerina in the list, among many students. She’s also one of the very few characters that come from out of town, which makes her less susceptible to the magic that surrounds the story; among other things, she notes that it’s strange that her troupe leader is now an electric eel that controls the electricity in the theater.
However, despite being a better technical dancer than all the others in the series, she is aware that something is lacking in her performance. This is what makes her fear the stage; it also makes her the perfect victim to one of Myuuto’s heart shards. When she watches Ahiru dance, she realizes that what she is lacking is individuality. Her dance is perfect, but she doesn’t give herself to dance.
Because of this, Paulamoni gets sixth place in our list .
Anteaterina is a very strange dancer in the series. She’s an anteater who can dance –and just like with Neko Sensei, no one notices it. She feels passion for dance, and loves watching Rue practice because she wishes to be as graceful as a prima ballerina. She reached out to Rue to ask her how she managed to get so good, and Rue answered truthfully, advising her to practice. Unfortunately, Rue also laughed at the idea that Anteaterina could become as good as her, and that left the anteater open to become the target of one of Myuuto’s heart shards.
As a dancer, Anteaterina has two very specific styles. Under the shard influence, she is aggressive. She believes that a dancer must make her audience surrender to her talent, make them fear and tremble with each step. She is convinced that dancing is a form of battle, and thus, she acts like a soldier. Once she’s freed, she realizes that dancing is a form of sharing, a way in which the dancer can connect with their audience.
That second style is why she is a good dancer, and what gives her the right to be in the fifth place on our list.
We don’t see Fakir dance very often in the series, but when he does, he proves why he is one of the advanced class’ priced students. Among his peers he has a reputation for being cold, and in fact is often seen as if he was abusing Myuuto, forcing him to leave the school, yelling at him for leaving the dorms, and even locking him in dark closets if he does something that Fakir disapproves. This is because Fakir has put himself in the role of Myuuto’s protector, and has come to realize he needs to do some very extreme things to keep the Prince safe from danger, and from his own heart.
He dances more often with Ahiru, at first under protest, but later because he has grown to love her. And when he dances, we can see both his pain at the role he has ended up playing, and his determination to protect the prince and the town. This makes him perfect to dance the tragic roles, the ones we know will die before the curtain falls, and the fourth dancer on our list.
Among the female dancers not helped by magic, Rue is probably the best. She practices every day, to the point of pain. Every movement she makes seems calculated to look graceful and perfect. And while she may look conceited and distant, she is actually nice to the less advanced students. She encourages them to practice, and also helps Ahiru from time to time, until she remembers her past as Princess Kraehe. As Rue, she is understanding and honestly loves Myuuto. As Kraehe she’s jealous, possessive, and cruel.
Everyone at the Gold Crown Academy believes that Rue is the perfect ballerina, but she has one secret flaw. And that is that she is not studying ballet because it’s her passion. She’s there just because Myuuto is studying ballet. She only wants to be around him, because she loves him with all her heart. And when she is forced to become Kraehe again, her dance becomes darker, more violent.
It is because of this darkness that Rue only gets to third place, despite the fact that she has more technique than everyone else.
Myuuto is the other identity of Prince Siegfried, the main character from the tale ‘The Prince and the Raven’, that started the curse on the town. When he shattered his heart to stop the raven, the story and reality fused together, and he ended up wandering aimlessly, without feelings or memories until Fakir and his family took him in. Because of this, he depends completely on Fakir for his well-being as he even lacks the common sense not to jump out of windows.
As the Golden Crown Academy’s prize student, he is an amazing dancer. Where Rue’s movements are calculated to look graceful, his are graceful by nature. Every step he takes, looks like it’s out of a careful choreographed ballet. As he recovers his heart shards, his technique improves - as noted by Neko Sensei - as he manages to start showing emotions through his movements. Even so, his technique was already flawless so it’s really a wonder that he is still a student at the school.
Because of that lack of emotion, Myuuto is just number two on the list. Although by the end of the series, he is very close to our number one choice.
1. Princess Tutu
While this may look like cheating, as Princess Tutu is in fact Ahiru transformed, the truth is that Princess Tutu and Ahiru couldn’t be more different as dancers. Where Ahiru only has her natural talent and enthusiasm to back up her dancing, Tutu has the magic of the story leading her steps.
Where all the other dancers show their feelings to the audience, Princess Tutu allows people around her to express their own feelings through a duet. When she dances, she doesn’t just free the heart shards that have been scattered all over town, she also heals the heart of those who have been targeted. And that is a very special magic, the chance to show others how to express the joy of dance.
Because of that, and despite Ahiru being the last in our list, we consider Princess Tutu the best dancer in her own series.
Dancing is one of the most interactive and intuitive arts there are. We can dance almost from the moment we can walk, and thus, music accompanies us all our lives. And maybe in the future we will see more dance-inspired anime besides Princess Tutu, there are mangas dedicated to dance and ballet, but none have been adapted to anime yet.
Because of that, making a list of dancers for the series is a bit complicated. Every character has charm and grace, and the story itself is a ballet, so everyone dances. Still, we hope you agree with our list, and if you don’t, we want to see your own choices in the comments.