Today, two of American Ballet Theatre’s longtime stars, Paloma Herrera and Xiomara Reyes, retire from the company in—what is sure to be emotionally charged—back-to-back performances of Giselle. Herrera, who has danced with ABT for 24 years, will say good-bye during this afternoon’s matinee, while Reyes will give her final performance tonight. The departure of both dancers marks an end of an era, and a sign of change for ABT’s future. In two seperate interviews, both dancers offered reflections on their careers, retirements and future plans.
Don Quixote’s flirtatious and spunky Kitri is an exciting character for ballerinas to portray—any role is fun if it includes a prop fan! But it’s also an important stepping-stone in a dancer’s professional career, alongside Juliet, Odette/Odile and Aurora. In this 1998 recording, Paloma Herrera masters the role, raising the standard for future Kitris in only her third year as principal dancer for American Ballet Theatre. As she dances this variation, Herrera consumes the stage, abandoning all fear.