Ballerina dolls inspire little girls to reach for the stars. To explore their potential. To dream big dreams. Why? What is it that makes little girls want to point their toes, clumsily and loudly leaping and twirling across the floor?
I don’t remember pretending to be a ballerina when I was a girl, though I’m sure I did. If I were to speculate on what the attraction is, I’d say that it’s the longing to work in graceful, beautiful movements, instead of the small and jerky movements born to us all. It’s also the clothes. What little girl doesn’t want to dress in tiaras and tutus?
Ballet can be one of the first passions a little girl develops. Does she grow up to be a dress-up enthusiast or fashion designer? Or does she instead take classes to become a future Prima Ballerina? Whichever choices she makes, there are no better companions for little girls than ballerina dolls.
This list of dolls includes several different types that inspire different types of play. While all of the ballerina dolls on this list would make a great ballet recital gift, I also include dolls that would make great gifts for play. Not all ballerinas dance in recitals outside of their living rooms, but that doesn’t mean that every little girl isn’t a ballerina at heart.
Sweet Cuddlers Swan Ballet
This little Waterbaby is one of the highest-rated dolls on my list. Though she’s not in production anymore, this adorable Waterbabies Swan Ballet baby doll is still available if you know where to look.
She comes dressed in a super-cute pink onesie-style ballet outfit and matching headband, both of which are removable.
Waterbabies are enjoyable dolls. I love how their little rubber bodies wiggle when you fill them up with warm water. And do make sure to use warm water; using the right temperature creates a soothing effect and makes them feel more like a real baby. Since she’s only 9” tall, she’s the perfect size for little girls to cuddle in their arms.
They’re also very well-made dolls. Unless you pull the plug, water won’t leak out.
While the doll can be taken into the bath, she must thoroughly air-dry afterward. That means her head has to come off as it can trap water inside, which some find challenging. I’m not sure why the head was created as a separate, detachable piece, but I’d like to see it incorporated into the fillable rubber piece that makes up the rest of the doll.
This adorable Waterbabies baby ballerina is perfect for engaging preschool-aged children in nurturing play. She’s easy to clean and keep clean as she only needs a wipe down with a damp cloth.
Ballerina Doll Brunette
The Aurora World Ballerina Doll Brunette is a soft plush ballerina doll with long yarn hair and adorable embroidered features. Her satiny pink ballet dress is adorned with plenty of pink satin ribbon and has a big pink jewel set into the bodice.
Product images I found online make it seem like she’s a big doll, but she is not. At only 14.5″, she is just a few inches taller than most fashion dolls.
This lovely, plush ballerina doll is super soft and cuddly and includes rich detail. She is soft enough to cuddle with at bedtime, and her yarn hair is long enough to braid or to tie up in a bun. What I like most about this Aurora Ballerina is the detail in her clothing. The use of satin ribbon throughout the outfit is beautiful. However, it’s the embroidery on the tulle layer of the skirt that adds a bit of extra character to the whole doll.
She’s not very poseable. She does have plastic pellets in her bottom to help her stay sitting, but her head is a little too heavy to allow her to sit on her own. The clothing can’t be removed, and in some instances, the skirt may need to be worked with to lay down properly.
Aurora World has created a lovely doll that would make a very cuddly friend for any little girl lucky enough to have her. She’s great for all ages but would make an extraordinary gift for aspiring ballerinas.
Groovy Girls Fairybelles Melissa Ballerina
Melissa Ballerina is the second plush ballerina doll on our list. She is slightly smaller, standing only 1&fr12; inches taller than a typical Barbie doll. She is wearing a satiny blue dress with gold detail and a light blue tulle layer over her skirt. A matching gold hairband with a blue butterfly accent her blonde yarn hair, which is tied up in a bun. White wings with blue trim and pink lace-up ballet shoes complete her fairy ballet outfit. The back of the dress uses Velcro as a fastener and is also used to attach Melissa’s wings to her back.
While it’s apparent that she’s a plush doll, she doubles as a fashion doll as well. Her clothes and wings are removable, and there are several outfits available. If one day your little ballerina decides she wants to become a soccer superstar, there’s an outfit for that.
Groovy girls also have a plethora of accessories to enhance playtime, such as a plush car, different styles of beds, a bathtub, a cake, a horse… the list goes on.
The only real issue is that her size is a bit surprising. When I first saw this doll, I assumed she would be larger. Otherwise, the majority of children and parents are happy with Melissa Ballerina.
This is a well-made doll that will keep preschoolers and school-aged children steeped in dramatic play. The ability to change the doll’s clothing also helps with fine motor skill development and creative play.
There are more Groovy Girls dolls, but Melissa Ballerina is one of only two ballerina dolls in the line.
Ballet Wishes Barbie
This edition of the Ballet Wishes Barbie has only been available for less than a month at the time of this writing. I have been desperately trying to find out if she’s the new 2017-2018 model, but at this time, I haven’t received any confirmation that she is. Regardless, I haven’t seen another ballerina doll like her in the past, so we know she is new.
I love her hair! This Ballet Wishes Barbie doll has long, blonde hair that is braided over the top of her head and down the left side, where it’s tied off into a long ponytail with a lovely pink ribbon. Her dress is exquisitely pink and is topped off with a beautiful pink flower bust detail.
Though she can certainly be played with, don’t expect that spectacular hairstyle to last. Also, her legs don’t bend, which may frustrate some smaller children who would like her to pose in certain positions.
Brand new for Christmas 2017, Ballet Wishes Barbie is a lovely doll that would make an excellent gift for an aspiring ballerina. Those who prefer to treat these dolls as collector’s items can use the included doll stand to display her anywhere they choose.
Sydney Lee Deluxe Ballerina Doll
I know many little girls who would be thrilled to get an Our Generation ballerina doll. What I didn’t realize was just how much OG packed into its Deluxe ballerina dolls. Our girl Sydney has so much to offer right out of the box, and that includes a second outfit, complete with extra shoes, and so many other accessories!
Unlike her regular, hard-vinyl counterparts, this deluxe Our Generation doll has a soft body and poseable arms and legs. She also comes with an extra outfit, an equipment bag, doll-sized yo-yo, and a water bottle, recital invitations, and a newspaper review.
OG dolls are considered to be a much more affordable alternative to American Girl dolls. Still, I’ve always found that affordability comes at a cost. While the deluxe dolls are a bit better, they still have issues. For instance, Sydney Lee has clothing that easily snags and puckers.
Sydney doesn’t pretend to be a top-tier doll. If your little ballerina plays hard, this may be the right choice, but don’t expect her to look out-of-the-box fresh for long. What she lacks in quality, she makes up for in quality play with the extra outfit and fun accessories to help set the stage for storytelling and role-playing.
Wee Wonderfuls™ Agnes Ballerina
Since I started writing about ballerina dolls, it feels like they’re popping up in places I least expect. This pretty (so pretty!) little Wee Wonderfuls ballerina doll jumped out in front of me when I was looking for something entirely unrelated at Crate & Barrel. Agnes isn’t the only ballerina rag doll in the line, but I want to tell you about her friend another day.
My favorite characteristic is that she is handmade. It imparts a distinctive rag doll look that is missing from most commercial dolls. She’s beautiful and so very cuddly. I love how flannel and cotton create such a delightful shell, the perfect canvas for her sweetly embroidered facial features. Her felt slippers are removable, and the laces have Velcro fasteners. The tulle ballet skirt is also removable.
While it’s recommended for children over the age of three, I’d make sure that they aren’t too rowdy. I can imagine how easy it would be for excitable little fingers to tug that lovely messy yarn bun out of shape.
I am completely in love with Agnes, and she is the kind of doll that a little girl could grow up loving and cherishing. Maybe one day, she could pass on to her own aspiring little ballerina.