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

Veronika Part's Unexpected Retirement from 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.

Latest Posts


Left to right: Dance Theatre of Harlem's Daphne Lee, Amanda Smith, Lindsey Donnell and Alexandra Hutchinson in a scene from Dancing Through Harlem. Derek Brockington, Courtesy Dance Theatre of Harlem

Dancers Share Their Key Takeaways After a Year of Dancing on Film

Creating dances specifically for film has become one of the most effective ways that ballet companies have connected with audiences and kept dancers employed during the pandemic. Around the world, dance organizations are finding opportunities through digital seasons, whether conceiving cinematic, site-specific pieces or filming works within a traditional theater. And while there is a consistent sentiment that nothing will ever substitute the thrill of a live show, dancers are embracing this new way of performing.

Keep reading SHOW LESS

#TBT: Mikhail Baryshnikov in "Fancy Free" (1981)

In Jerome Robbins's 1944 ballet Fancy Free, three sailors on leave spend the day at a bar, attempting to woo two young women by out-dancing and out-charming one another. In this clip from 1981, Mikhail Baryshnikov, who was then both the artistic director of American Ballet Theatre and a leading performer with the company, pulls out all the stops to win the ladies' affections.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Bethany Kirby, Courtesy Tulsa Ballet

An Infectious-Disease Physician on What Vaccines Mean for Ballet

As the coronavirus pandemic grinds into its second year, the toll on ballet companies—and dancers—has been steep. How long before dancers can rehearse and perform as they once did?

Like most things, the return to normal for ballet seems to hinge on vaccinations. Just over 22 percent of people in the U.S. are now vaccinated, a way from the estimated 70 to 85 percent experts believe can bring back something similar to pre-pandemic life.

But what would it mean for 100 percent of a ballet company to be vaccinated? Tulsa Ballet artistic director Marcello Angelini is about to find out—and hopes it brings the return of big ballets on the big stage.

"I don't think companies like ours can survive doing work for eight dancers in masks," Angelini says. "If we want to work, dance, and be in front of an audience consistently and with the large works that pay the bills, immunization is the only road that leads there."

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks