A principal dancer (often shortened to principal) is a dancer at the highest rank within a professional dance company, particularly a ballet company.
A principal may be male or female.
The position is similar to that of soloist; however, 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 can be used in other forms as well, such as modern dance.
The terms prima ballerina, premier danseur, and première danseuse have been used to denote similar levels of prominence.
They are usually the star of the ballet.
The term senior principal dancer is sometimes used as well.
"Senior Principal dancer". English National Ballet. Retrieved March 4, 2011.