Kyra Nichols, who has been with New York City Ballet for 33 years, during which she danced every major Balanchine role and gave premieres of numerous works by Jerome Robbins, takes her leave of the company tonight at the New York State Theater. The program, put together at her request, includes three Balanchine ballets: Serenade, Robert Schumann's "Davidsb‹ndlertanze" and the final movement, "Der Rosenkavalier," from Vienna Waltzes.
Of her decision to retire, Nichols told Playbill earlier this spring, "It just hit me last summer. I felt fulfilled. I danced a lot, I think I've danced well, and I was starting to love being with my family more. I thought, it's time."
Tomorrow night, on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera House, dance superstar Alessandra Ferri will give her final performance with American Ballet Theatre. She will portray the doomed young heroine of Kenneth MacMillan's ballet version of Romeo and Juliet; performing opposite Ferri, at her special request, will be Roberto Bolle, the leading man of La Scala's ballet troupe and a major star in Europe (though not yet so well-known in the U.S.).
Ferri worked with MacMillan at the Royal Ballet School in London in her late teen years, and he created his Juliet for her (as well as the title role in Manon). Her work in the U.K. had made her an international star by the time she joined ABT in 1985; in her 22 years with the company she been showered with praise for her performances as MacMillan's heroines as well as in Giselle, Jerome Robbins's Other Dances, Antony Tudor's Pillar of Fire and many other works.
Tomorrow night, though it will be Ferri's last performance with ABT, will not be her farewell to the stage; she will continue to make guest appearances with various companies.