Friday, June 25, 2010

Farewell to Balanchine's Last Ballerina

This weekend marks the end of an era in the ballet world.

Darci Kistler was George Balanchine's last ballerina and perhaps the last person to see the ballet legend alive. After being handpicked by Balanchine, Kistler became the New York City Ballet's (NYCB) youngest ever principal dancer at age 17. A WSJ article about her career likens Kistler's position to "being the last actress chosen by Shakespeare to be his Juliet, his Titania, his Ophelia."

After 30 years, Kistler will dance her final performance on Sunday afternoon. She's in four of the performance's five pieces, which were all choreographed by either Balanchine or Peter Martin, the Artistic Director of NYCB and Kistler's husband.

Kistler takes her final bow on Sunday at age 46. In an industry where most people retire in their 30s, she managed to have a career that spans three decades. In retirement, Kistler will continue to teach at the School of American Ballet, sharing her secrets and expertise with future prima ballerinas.

The New York Post has a good article about Kistler's final performance and the New York Social Diary has a beautiful photo essay of Kistler as a young ballerina.
Merde, Darci!

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