Ballet Stars

Veronika Part's Unexpected Retirement from ABT

Part in La Bayadère. Photo by Gene Schiavone, Courtesy ABT.

When dancers retire from a major company like American Ballet Theatre, the occasions are often full of fanfare and significant planning. (Case in point, Diana Vishneva's final bow with ABT just last month.) But the company's latest announcement snuck up quickly and quietly.

This Saturday afternoon, principal Veronika Part will give her final performance, in Balanchine's Mozartiana.


Part as Odette. Photo by Rosalie O'Connor, Courtesy ABT.

The statuesque Part is known for her elegant lines and expressive artistry in roles throughout the classical canon, like Odette/Odile, Medora and Myrtha. She graduated from the Vaganova Ballet Academy and joined the Mariinsky Ballet before she arrived at ABT as a soloist in 2002.

Unlike Vishneva's retirement from ABT, which was announced last fall, Part's departure was only announced on Monday. According to The New York Times, her contract was not renewed. Though Part was a member of ABT for 15 years, her performances were not always well received by critics. Still, she had no shortage of dedicated fans, many of whom took to the internet when news of her retirement broke. One even started a petition on change.org to ask artistic director Kevin McKenzie to reconsider his decision.

In 2015, Laura Jacobs interviewed Part for Pointe's essay on the elusive pursuit of perfection, and Part's words still ring true:

"Every single day until the last day of your dance career you have to work, you have to strive to achieve perfection. But better than perfection is the ability to let it go. When you're onstage you have to know that it's impossible to be perfect and you just rely on your experience and talent. The great performance is when you feel, 'Oh my god, I'm just completely free.' This is amazing."

As she concludes her time at ABT, we wish Part the very kind of performance she describes.

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