The Dreamer

New York City Balelt principal Jennifer Ringer is an artist, a mom and a sci-fi fanatic.
Published in the August/September 2009 issue.

Photo by Eduardo Patino

Who are your dance idols?


I’ve been inspired by too many dancers to name, but I will always have vivid memories of Darci Kistler’s joyfulness, Alessandra Ferri’s dramatic truthfulness and Wendy Whelan’s artistry. They make me want to dance for a living. 

What’s your idea of paradise?
Spending the entire day with my 16-month-old daughter—and worrying about nothing more than her meals and her nap time. She helps me realize my family is the most important thing in my life, which takes the pressure off ballet, and enables me to dance for the pleasure of it.

What do you do to recharge?
I sit down and read a book. There is something wonderful about having that quiet time when the only input is the words on the page.

What’s the latest book you would give a five star rating?

I’m really into science fiction. One author I especially love is Charles de Lint. He creates great characters and melds fantasy with reality.

What has been your most memorable moment onstage?

Dancing with my husband, former NYCB principal James Fayette, was a feeling I will never forget.

Do you have any guilty pleasures?

Ice cream—vanilla with peanut butter.

To whom would you attribute your success?

I’d have to say God. Ballet is so much about timing—somebody just notices you and decides to give you a chance. In my class at SAB there were 20 super-talented dancers, and only God knows why I’m the one who made it.


How has your husband’s work with the American Guild of Musical Artists, the dancer’s union, affected you?

I used to be so grateful to have my job that it never occurred to me I had rights. It has made me appreciate my worth as a professional more. Many dancers don’t realize that they need somebody to stand up for their safety.



What’s your advice for aspiring professionals?

Put in the hard work and demand excellence of yourself. But when you get onstage, don’t feel like you have to be perfect. It’s an art form, not a science. It’s not supposed to be perfect—it’s supposed to be joyous and thrilling.