I had a rare opportunity yesterday, and I attended the farewell performance of Darci Kistler from the New York City Ballet. For anyone who doesn't know, she was the last dancer that the late director/founder of the company, George Balanchine personally hired. She had been dancing for over thirty years.
The performance was beautifully tailored to showcase the ballerina. She looked wonderful. I felt moved many times to think what an honor it must be to be on stage with her. There was a beauty that I cannot describe on that stage. It was a reverence that seemed to come from every dancer toward her and she gave it right back to each of them. There was such a gentleness, and it was clear that there was no question that each dancer knew they were a part of history as they performed alongside this great presence.
It was amazing to see how Darci commanded the stage. She closed with the fourth act of the ballet "Swan Lake," which was beautifully fitting. She projected her movement to every corner of the house. It gave me chills and brought tears to my eyes.
Her curtain call was a sight to behold. Each dancer brought her flowers and so did her family members until she could no longer hold them. The entire company was on stage with her as confetti rained from above and flowers were thrown onto the stage from the audience. This was a retirement like those I have only ever seen in books and movies. It lasted over fifteen minutes, and she deserved every bit of applause and more.
I have nothing more to say really except that I feel so lucky to have been there today. I bought tickets over a month ago for this, and I am so happy I did. I wish her the best for whatever is to come next.