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Nicholas Ade To Retire At End Of The Season

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At the post-performance Q&A for yesterday's matinee, Nicholas Ade said that he was going to retire at the end of this season. He spoke of an Achilles injury he's had for the last two years, and how Peter Boal has given him the opportunity to become Principal of the Francia Russell Center, the PNB school on the East Side of Lake Washington that offers Creative Movement through Level 5, and has 550 students. (The Seattle school which covers all grades, has 450 studients.) He and his wife, former PNB dancer Paige Parks, are expecting their first child very soon.

When asked how he came to ballet, Ade told how his sports team practices ended earlier than his sister's ballet classes, and how he had to wait at the studio until she was finished. After being spotted at age 10 or 11 trying out ballet moves in the lobby, he was invited to take class. His teacher convinced his dad to let him dance by telling him it would help Ade's athletics. While it did help, by 13-14 he described how he realized that whatever else was happening ballet "was always there for [him]."

Nicholas Ade is one of my favorite male dancers. Regardless of the role in which he is cast, my eye has been drawn to him since he joined the company ten years ago. Watching him in The Bridge, I had hoped this was a long-term return, but while this isn't meant to be, it has been such a privilege to see him onstage this last decade.

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Well, drat! I made a cheerful reference to him once in one of those season wrap-up things as the perennial friend -- I think that year he'd danced friend to Romeo, and friend to Prodigal Son, and friend to who knows who else, but on one level it's a sincere comment. He's been a stalwart presence on stage, and from the comments that people make, off stage as well. I'm glad to hear that he's got the next few steps figured out, but so sorry to hear that he's leaving this one behind soon.

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