Last week, New York City Ballet announced that four beloved principals—Jenifer Ringer, Jonathan Stafford, Janie Taylor and Sébastien Marcovici—will retire during the company’s winter and spring seasons.
All four have planned their next steps. Ringer is about to release a memoir (more on that in our February/March issue); Stafford will become a ballet master with NYCB and continue to teach at the School of American Ballet, where he’s been on faculty for seven years. Taylor and Marcovici, however, are making an unexpected move: They’ll head to the West Coast, where Marcovici will become a ballet master with former NYCB colleague Benjamin Millepied’s L.A. Dance Project. Pointe caught up with the couple, who got married in 2012, to discuss their plans.
How did you know this was the right time to leave?
Sébastien Marcovici: I’ve been in the company 20 years, so I knew the end was coming. I’ve been dealing with an old injury won’t heal—the ligaments in my foot are too stretched out, and they can’t support my body weight any more in a jump or a relevé. Right when I was coming to that realization, Benjamin needed help with the L.A. Dance Project. It was good timing.
Janie Taylor: This decision wasn’t about just one of us: Because we’re married, it was about both of us. We thought about it a lot, and we made the choice that was best for the two of us together.
Your final performances will be together, in La Valse and Afternoon of a Faun. How did you choose those ballets?
SM: Well, actually, the program for the season was already set, so we couldn’t pick them—but it worked out perfectly. La Valse is one we would have chosen regardless. It’s the first ballet Janie and I danced together, and it was Janie’s first principal part.
JT: The company almost never does La Valse, and it’s one of my favorites, and it’s running at just the right time. It all worked out.
Sébastien, what will your job at L.A. Dance Project involve?
Benjamin is not leaving his position. I’m going to be teaching and taking care of the ballets. The person who was ballet master before was also a dancer with the company, and it was too much work for one person.
Janie, will you be dancing with the company?
I’m not exactly sure what I’m going to be doing yet. As of now I don’t have plans to join another ballet company, but I want to give myself a little time to figure it all out.
What about this transition is most scary, and what is most exciting?
SM: It’s scary because it’s unknown territory. When you leave the stage, you’re leaving something very special and unusual. But it has to end at some point, and this next step will be great: We’re going to get to travel a lot, since L.A. Dance Project tours so frequently, and meet new people.
JT: Dancing is something I’ve done since I was 2, so it’s like—not that you don’t know anything else, but it’s been your whole life. Whether you’re 25 or 45, it’s always scary to stop. But this is a new adventure. You have to find, after ballet, something else you’ll love to do for the rest of your life. You know from the beginning it’s not something you can do forever.