On Sunday 24 September at 3pm, during the 2023 Fall Season, New York City Ballet Principal Dancer Russell Janzen will give his final performance with the company, dancing the principal role in Diamonds.
Following his retirement from NYCB, Janzen plans to pursue a degree in social work.
Finishing my time at New York City Ballet feels monumental. Deciding to leave the company has been quite emotional, but I have had such a full, rewarding career; more than anything I am feeling thankful for all I have experienced. I was given wonderful repertory to dance: ballets that offered me freedom, an outlet for meaningful expression, physical and mental challenges, and endless artistic fulfilment.
I had the opportunity to build relationships with truly phenomenal artists, and it is not lost on me that I'll be hard pressed to find another job where I get to spend my days with people I've known for years while doing something we love.
Janzen was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut and began his dance training at the age of six at The Rock School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He attended summer sessions in 2004 and 2005 at the School of American Ballet and enrolled as a full-time student in the winter of 2005. In October 2007, Janzen became an apprentice with NYCB, and in June 2008, he joined the company as a member of the corps de ballet.
He was promoted to soloist in October 2014 and principal in February 2017. His awards include the 2015 Clive Barnes Foundation Award for excellence in dance, and the School of American Ballet's 2007 Mae L. Wien Award for Outstanding Promise.
Since childhood, ballet has defined me and shaped my days, and I can't quite imagine what life will be like post-NYCB, but after sixteen years, I'm ready to take this next step.
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano') about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman's Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia' column for Dancing Times magazine.