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Ethan Stiefel to Retire as Principal Dancer of ABT

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Final Performance Scheduled for Saturday evening, July 7, 2012

at Metropolitan Opera House

Ethan Stiefel, a Principal Dancer with American Ballet Theatre since 1997, will retire from the Company at the conclusion of the 2012 Metropolitan Opera House season in New York City, it was announced today by Artistic Director Kevin McKenzie. Stiefel will give his farewell performance in the role of Ali, the Slave in ABT’s production of Le Corsaire on Saturday evening, July 7, 2012.

Ethan Stiefel was born in Tyrone, Pennsylvania and began his dance training at the age of eight in Madison, Wisconsin. He studied at the Milwaukee Ballet School with Ted Kivitt and Paul Sutherland and with Marcia Dale Weary at the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet before moving to New York to attend American Ballet Theatre's School of Classical Ballet and School of American Ballet on scholarship. At age 16, he joined the corps de ballet of New York City Ballet. In 1992, Stiefel took a leave of absence to perform with Zurich Ballet and returned to New York City Ballet one year later as a soloist. He was promoted to principal dancer in 1995. With New York City Ballet, Stiefel danced principal roles in many of George Balanchine’s masterpieces including A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Four Temperaments, Apollo, Symphony in Three Movements, Stars and Stripes, Harlequinade, Theme and Variations, Divertimento #15, Valse Fantasie, Symphony in C, Tarantella, Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux, Chaconne and The Nutcracker. His repertoire of Jerome Robbins’ ballets includes Dances at a Gathering, West Side Story Suite, The Goldberg Variations, 2+3 Part Inventions, Interplay, The Cage and Quiet City. He also performed the role of Prince Désiré in Peter Martins’ production of The Sleeping Beauty.

Stiefel won a silver medal at the Prix de Lausanne in 1989. He was the recipient of a Princess Grace Foundation-USA emerging artist grant in 1991 and was nominated for the Benois de la Danse Award in 1998. In 2008, Stiefel was the recipient of the Dance Magazine Award. He has appeared as a guest with many companies including the Mariinsky (formerly Kirov) Ballet, The Royal Ballet, The Australian Ballet, Zurich Ballet, New National Ballet in Tokyo, Teatro Colon Ballet in Buenos Aires, New York City Ballet and Boston Ballet. In 2000, Stiefel starred in the motion picture Center Stage, directed by Nicholas Hytner with original choreography by Susan Stroman. He reprised his role as Cooper Nielson in the film’s sequel, Center Stage: Turn It Up in 2008. In 2006, he became a founding member of Kings of the Dance, which toured the United States and to Russia in 2007. He also appeared in the ABT Dance In America productions of

Le Corsaire as Conrad and The Dream as Oberon, broadcast on PBS.

Stiefel joined American Ballet Theatre as a Principal Dancer in April 1997. His roles with the Company include the Boy in Afternoon of a Faun, the title roles in Apollo, Billy the Kid and Petrouchka, Solor in La Bayadère, the Prince in Ben Stevenson’s Cinderella, Franz in Coppélia, Conrad and Ali, the Slave in Le Corsaire, the Gentleman with Her in Dim Lustre, Basilio in Don Quixote, Oberon in The Dream, the second sailor in Fancy Free, Colas in La Fille mal gardée, Albrecht in Giselle, Lescaut in Manon, the Cavalier in The Nutcracker, Lensky in Onegin, Cassio in Othello, Blue Boy in Les Patineurs, the Son in Prodigal Son, Jean de Brienne in Raymonda, Romeo in Romeo and Juliet, Prince Désiré in The Sleeping Beauty, Prince Siegfried in Swan Lake, James in La Sylphide and Aminta in Sylvia.

His repertoire with American Ballet Theatre also includes leading roles in George Balanchine’s Allegro Brillante, Mozartiana, Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux and Theme and Variations, Twyla Tharp’s The Brahms-Haydn Variations, Push Comes to Shove and In the Upper Room, Jerome Robbins’ Other Dances, Mark Morris’ Drink To Me Only With Thine Eyes and Gong, Jiří Kylián’s Petite Mort and Sinfonietta, and William Forsythe’s workwithinwork. He created leading roles in Black Tuesday, Known by Heart, Rabbit and Rogue, “…smile with my heart” and Within You Without You: A Tribute to George Harrison.

In 2007, Stiefel was appointed Dean of the School of Dance at North Carolina School of the Arts, a position he held until May 2011 upon being appointed Artistic Director of Royal New Zealand Ballet. Of his retirement from American Ballet Theatre, Stiefel said, “Although it is not easy to step away from performing, I am gladdened by the fact that I have other invaluable opportunities to continue to contribute to the art form. I am deeply grateful to everyone who has helped to shape my success as an artist and has supported me throughout the years.”

Subscriptions for American Ballet Theatre’s 2012 Spring Season at the Metropolitan Opera House are on sale now and available by phone at 212-362-6000, or online at ABT’s website www.abt.org. The Metropolitan Opera House box opens

April 1, 2012.

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I have to say that this doesn't come as a surprise as we've been speculating about when this day would come for quite some time. That being said, it's still really sad that's it is actually happening. Ethan will be greatly missed. tiphat.gif

This was speculated that the final MET performance would be Ethan's farewell on the MET 2012 thread...personally, i was pretty sure this was the case as the casting for Le Corsaire that night all point towards it...Gillian, Stella, Sascha...

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I went to the BB guest perfs specifically to see him dance live (only saw PBS tapes previously); later, of course, I got to see him several times with ABT and the original Kings of Dance perfs at the OCPAC and City Center. I will miss his dancing very much, but also his intellect and that cerebral analytic approach to things which somehow never got in the way of the energy, enthusiasm, and of course great skill he showed onstage and in many things offstage. May he have great success in all his future endeavors. He will be missed.

(Now if only I can get tix to some of those last perfs this summer.)

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