Alessandra Ferri: Bio, Height, Net Worth & More

Alessandra Ferri OMRI is a Prima Ballerina based in Italy. Her career is closely attached to some of the most prestigious companies, such as the Royal Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, and La Scala Theatre Ballet. 

After a temporary retirement, she made a grand comeback and earned herself the noble Prima Ballerina Assoluta title, making her a top-tier ballerina of our time.

Alessandra Ferri’s Biography

Alessandra Ferri

  • Birth Name: Alessandra Ferri.
  • Nationality: Italia.
  • Born: May 6th, 1963.
  • Parents: Attilio Ferri (pianist/composer) & Brunella Gasperini (art historian).
  • Siblings: A sister named Tiziana (costume designer).
  • Spouse: Divorced.
  • Children: Two daughters, Matilde & Emma.
  • Height: 5 feet 3 inches (~160 cm).
  • Weight: 101 pounds (~46kg).
  • Net Worth: ~$1.5 million.

Check more: Gelsey Kirkland Biography

Early Life

Alessandra Ferri came from Milan, Italy. Although her parents weren’t from the theatrical scene, she developed a passion for dancing and storytelling at a very young age.

Her education in ballet started with the school under La Scala Theatre Ballet, which might explain her attachment to them even after she went international. Ferri is always grateful to her mother, who convinced her father to give her this chance.

Her teachers at La Scala acknowledged her talents and gave her parents a more in-depth look into the world of dance. They became supportive and their support meant the world to the young Alessandra.

Following La Scala, she continued to study at the Royal Ballet School. 

In 1980, she was chosen as the school’s representative for the Prix de Lausanne, which brought her a scholarship supporting her studies. It also gave her the chance to join the Royal Ballet as soon as she graduated.

The Way To Become A Great Ballerina

The Royal Ballet

The Royal Ballet was the beginning of Ferri’s career as a corps de ballet member in 1980. Two years later, she was assigned the first impactful role in Mayerling and gained recognition with it.

In 1983, Sir Kenneth MacMillan selected her for Valley of Shadows. It earned her another nomination and eventually the first win in the Laurence Olivier Award.

For continuous success, Ferri was soon promoted to principal dancer, also in 1983. 

In her Royal Ballet era, she was critically acclaimed with various created roles in Chanson (1981), Consort Lessons (1983), and Different Drummer (1984) to name a few.

Alessandra Ferri and Kenneth MacMillan

American Ballet Theatre

By the request of Mikhail Baryshnikov, Alessandra Ferri left the Royal Ballet in 1985 and joined the ABT as a Principal Dancer. Baryshnikov was directly responsible for her projects.

Always striving for perfection, Ferri demanded more intense training many times during her stay with the ABT. Some of the works that popularized her in America were Requiem (1986) and In Volo (1997).

In 1992, Ferri had a brief collaboration with La Scala Theatre Ballet and became the Prima Ballerina Assoluta of the company, a title given to only a few outstanding ballerinas. 

During this era, she was still a Guest Star of ABT.

An International Guest Star

From 1989 to 2004, Ferri had many performances with various ballet companies, further emphasizing her importance and impact in the world of ballet.

Among the companies she performed with, La Scala Ballet was a regular name. Ferri appeared in Swan Lake (1985), Le Baiser de la Fée (1993), Armid (1996), Quartetto (1998), and Europa Riconosciuta (2004).

Along with her international appearances, the list of dance partners she collaborated with was also quite extended, with significant names such as Rudolf Nureyev, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Patrick Dupond, Manuel Legris, and of course, her most ideal partner Julio Bocca.

At 44 years old, Ferri decided to retire and invited Roberto Bolle to partner with her on a farewell stage. The chosen production was Romeo & Juliet, a classic ballet with a remarkable impact on Ferri’s life.

Temporary Retirement & Comeback

In 2007, Ferri announced a temporary retirement. During the next year, she worked as Programming Director for the Spoleto Festival. It was a regret but not a surprise for the fans since the 44-year-old seemed like a good place to pause.

However, she returned to the stage in 2013 with The Piano Upstairs, a piece choreographed and starred by her simultaneously. 

In an interview, Ferri openly shared that she missed the stage and the applause. But she had more motives and reasons to come back besides the praises.

Ferri connects herself with the amazing Mikhail Baryshnikov, who once told her ballet dancers mustn’t let the audience see them grow old. He changed his mind, and she was glad he did.

Therefore, after her return, she took on some challenging roles in Cheri (2013), Woolf Works (2015), Duse (2016), Witness (2017), and Afterite (2018). 

She frequently worked with choreographer Wayne McGregor and sometimes choreographed parts of the productions.

Her most recent work, L’Heure Exquise, celebrated her 40th anniversary since her debut at Covent Garden. It excited the audience with witty texts delivered by Ferri herself and a decent duration for dancing. 

It was a wonder how her legs could still execute the most casual splits, and her spine wasn’t at all challenged by any eerie bend.

Alessandra Ferri contribution to ballet

When asked about her new plans, Ferri emphasized that she wouldn’t say no to anything before it unravels, yet arranging everything in detail isn’t her choice either.

Contribution To Ballet

When talking about Alessandra Ferri, people often mention Mayerling. In this ballet, she had the first major character in her career and earned a nomination for the 1982 Laurence Olivier Award.

The very next year, she won the award with Valley of Shadows. From then onward, she became more and more recognized for story ballets due to her ability to tell stories and convey deep emotions with her body language.  

Ferri is well-known as a guest artist, which means she performs with dance companies aside from the one she was under. 

Through appearances at the Paris Opera Ballet, the Kirov Ballet, the Tokyo Ballet, the Hamburg Ballet, the National Ballet of Canada, the Cuban National Ballet, and more, she contributed tremendously to the influence of ballet on modern audiences.

Furthermore, her comeback wasn’t a mere weak flame easily distinguished. With the positive feedback from the critics for Cheri and Woolf Works in her fifties, she is following the steps of preceding legends and showing the world that she can break the limits.


Two years after her debut, Ferri received two nominations for Outstanding First Achievement of the Year and Outstanding Individual Performance of the Year in a New Dance Production of the Laurence Oliver Award in 1982 & 1983, respectively. She won in the second year.

After being named as a Prima Ballerina Assoluta, Ferri received the noble Knight title in the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic, hence she was respectfully addressed as OMRI.

More impressively, her works after her temporary retirement – Cheri and Woolf Works – brought her another Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in Dance.

Some other notable awards Ferri achieved included:

  • Premio Léonide Massine, Positano (1990).
  • Prix Benois de la Danse, Moscow (2000).
  • Dance Magazine Award, New York (2005).
  • Grishko Award for Best Female Dancer at the Critics’ Circle National Dance Award (2016).

Alessandra Ferri has a statue portraying her role as Juliet in Romeo & Juliet, a work of art done by Nathan David and currently displayed at the Royal Ballet School.

Personal Life

Alessandra Ferri’s husband was Fabrizio Ferri before they separated, a photographer and founder of Università dell’Immagine, an art school in Milan. 

Fabrizio Ferri - husband of Alessandra Ferri

He is also the father to Alessandra Ferri’s daughters, Matilde and Emma. Both of them came onto the stage with Ferri at her (temporary) farewell performance.

It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say her decision to be a mom and a ballerina at the same time was brave. She took her daughters with her everywhere and they overcame the difficulty of her divorce together.


Although her comeback was suspicious and uncertain at some point, Alessandra Ferri showed the world that age was only a number for her as she danced with perfect technique and even more passion than before. 

Since she is open to opportunities and changes, ballet enthusiasts can surely expect excellent performances and achievements from her!

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