Hippo Ballerina

Hippo Ballerina at Grand Central

The Hippo Ballerina is a beloved sculpture that has become a fixture in Manhattan, and has captured the hearts of New Yorkers and visitors alike. The 15-foot-tall and 2.5-ton-heavy tutu-clad bronze sculpture, designed by Danish artist Bjørn Okholm Skaarup, depicts a hippopotamus dressed as a ballerina, striking a graceful pose en pointe.  Over the years, I keep running into it in multiple locations in NYC.

I was first introduced to Hippo Ballerina when she took up residence for a few months at Dante Park outside Lincoln Center as a public art installation in 2017. The next time I bumped into her was walking past Grand Central on my way home, and saw her visiting Pershing Square Plaza outside Grand Central in May 2022!  This time around, she had a couple of friends to keep her company, making for a popular photo op with Grand Central as a backdrop.

Hippo Ballerina Sculpture

The Hippo Ballerina is a bronze sculpture created by Danish artist Bjorn Okholm Skaarup. The sculpture was inspired by the dancing hippos in the legendary Walt Disney film Fantasia, and the Little Dancer Aged Fourteen by Degas.

The Hippo Ballerina is an adorable and humorous sculpture that distorts the boundaries between human and animal. It has become a fixture in New York City, it is really fun to see it popping up in different areas over the years. In more recent years, she is accompanied by two smaller sculptures called “Hippo Ballerina, pirouette” and “Rhino Harlequin, pirouette” that are keeping her company.

The artist behind the Hippo Ballerina sculpture is Bjørn Okholm Skaarup, who is well known for his ability to reinterpret subjects and themes found in ancient myths, art history, modern animation, and contemporary popular culture.His work is characterized by its playful and whimsical nature, and draws inspiration from childhood memories, fairy tales, and popular culture.

It is always fun to run into Hippo Ballerina, who has become quite a regular fixture on the streets of New York.

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Hi, I'm Hanit Gyani, a full time professional by day and a blogger by night and weekend. Welcome to my blog, aka my passion project, Gotta Love New York.

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