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Ballet Encyclopedia

Peter Martins

born: 1946

Peter Martins was born on October 27th 1946 in Copenhagen, Denmark and at the young age of seven he started his ballet studies at the School of the Royal Danish Ballet. Everyone in his family being dancers Peter says he "never really had a lot of choice about the future of his profession."

In 1965 Peter Martins was given a Corps de ballet contract with the Royal Danish Ballet. Two years later he was promoted to soloist. That same year Balanchine invited him to dance the lead role in Apollo with the New York City Ballet during it's appearance at the Edinburgh Festival. This lead to Mr. Martins coming often to New York during the next three years doing guest appearances with the New York City Ballet until joining the company permanently as a Principal dancer in 1970.

During the following years Peter Martins and Suzanne Farrell created a legendary partnership because their lines complimented each other perfectly. He also had a brief partnership and even relationship with Gelsey Kirkland.

In 1981, while still a dancer of the company, Martins shared the title of Ballet Master with Balanchine, Jerome Robbins and John Taras. When Balanchine passed away in 1983 Peter retired as a ballet dancer of the company and became, with Jerome Robbins, co-ballet master in Chief of the New York City Ballet and chairman of Faculty of the School of American Ballet. He was also dubbed a Knight of the Order of Dannebrog by Queen Margrethe II that same year. In 1986 Peter was nominated for a Tony Award as Best Choreography for "Song and Dance." Since the death of Jerome Robbins in 1990 Peter Martins has been the only ballet master in chief for the NYCB.

In 1991 Peter Martins married a principal dancer of the company, Darci Kistler, and they gave birth to a daughter, Talicia, in June 1996. Mr. Martins received the Artistic Leadership Award in 2001. After spending 30 years with the New York City Ballet and having choreographed more than 50 works Peter Martins has already accomplished plenty. He has thought of someday going back to Denmark to raise his daughter with Darci but says he cannot leave his other family, the NYCB, behind. At the moment he says he has unfinished business to take care of.

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