Ballet Careers
Gray Davis with wife, ABT soloist Cassandra Trenary, after his graduation from the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy. Courtesy Trenary.

When Gray Davis retired from American Ballet Theatre in July of 2018, he moved home to South Carolina, unsure of what would come next. Last month, just over a year later, Davis graduated from the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy. Today, he's working as a deputy for the Abbeville County Sheriff's Office.

Though Davis danced in ABT's corps for 11 years and is married to soloist Cassandra Trenary, to many he's best known for saving the life of a man who was pushed onto the subway tracks in New York City in 2017. The heroic effort earned him the New York State Liberty Medal, the highest civilian honor bestowed by a member of the New York State Senate. We caught up with Davis to hear about how the split second decision he made in the subway affected the course of his life, what it's been like starting a second career and what he sees as the similarities between ballet and law enforcement.

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Ballet Stars
NY State Senator Brad Hoylman and ABT dancer Gray Davis at the award ceremony. Photo by Chava Lansky.

"I'm here because we have a hero in our midst," said New York State Senator Brad Hoylman before American Ballet Theatre's company class this morning. He was addressing ABT corps dancer Gray Davis, who you may remember saved the life of a man who was pushed onto the subway tracks this summer. The Senator was there to present Davis with the New York State Liberty Medal, the highest honor bestowed by a member of the State Senate.

Company members, ABT staff and donors, and reporters were present in the studio at Lincoln Center's Koch Theater this morning where the company is in residence for their fall season. Artistic director Kevin McKenzie introduced Senator Hoylman, who retold the story of Davis' act of heroism before placing the medal around his neck. "You know, one of your fellow greats, Mikhail Baryshnikov said, "dancers are made, not born,' and I think the same can be said of heroes," said Senator Hoylman. "Heroes are made, not born. They seize a split-second moment, they embrace danger selflessly and they become role models for all of us."

After the crowd broke into applause, Senator Hoylman called up Davis' wife, ABT soloist Cassandra Trenary to join him at the podium. Wiping tears from her eyes, Trenary stood with Davis while he shared a few words in his quiet and reserved manner. "We're dancers, but we're human beings first," he said. "Thank you from the bottom of my heart."

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Ballet Stars

As a member of American Ballet Theatre, Gray Davis is used to being in the spotlight. But this past weekend, all eyes were on Davis for a totally different reason, after he jumped down onto the subway tracks in New York City to save a man who had allegedly been pushed.

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