Peter Martins, the New York City Ballet's 36-year-old superstar, said in an interview last night that he would give up performing within one year. Retirement, he said, "is just around the corner."
Martins said the demands of creating ballets--he has become the most prolific choreographer at the NYCB--and of running the company--he has been named as artistic director George Balanchine's eventual successor--were too great to allow him to continue dancing.
In any event, he said, "I've danced everything that I want. I'm taking class every day, but I need to do more" to continue dancing onstage.
"I haven't got the time," Martins said. His other duties include teaching at the company's school, choreographing, restaging works, administering the 111-dancer ballet company and counseling the younger dancers.
Martins has not performed since Nov. 16, although he was scheduled to perform tonight and again this weekend.
Martins' announced retirement is unusual. Excluding those who ended their careers due to disabling injuries, veteran industry observers could recall no performer of his stellar reputation who has left the stage at such a young age.
Rudolf Nureyev, who recently danced here at every performance during a three-week engagement, is 44. The American expatriate superstar Richard Cragun, who is with West Germany's Stuttgart Ballet, is 38. The New York City Ballet's own Francisco Moncion--who was the company's leading male during the late 1940s and the 1950s--is still dancing with the troupe at the age of 60. And Mikhail Baryshnikov, 35, did not give up dancing when he took on the role of artistic director for the American Ballet Theatre.
The chronically ill co-founder of the NYCB, George Balanchine, who is 79 years old, continues to reside in a Manhattan hospital, where he has been since early November. His ailments, which reportedly include a severe balance problem that causes him to have difficulty in walking, are said to have worsened in recent weeks.
Martins, in a decision not yet publicly announced, on Jan. 25 was named codirector of the faculty of the NYCB-affiliated dance academy--the School of American Ballet--formerly the exclusive preserve of Balanchine.