Gelsey Kirkland (born December 29, 1952, in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania) is an American ballet dancer. Kirkland joined the New York City Ballet in 1968 at age fifteen, at the invitation of George Balanchine. She was promoted to soloist in 1969 and principal in 1972. She went on to create leading roles in many of the great twentieth century ballets by Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, and Antony Tudor including Balanchine's revival of Firebird, Robbins' Goldberg Variations, and Tudor's The Leaves are Fading.
She is perhaps most famous to the general public for dancing the role of "Clara" in Baryshnikov's 1977 televised production of The Nutcracker. She left the ABT in 1984.