Peter Martins Poster


Jump to: Overview (2) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (2) | Trivia (31) | Personal Quotes (11)

Overview (2)

Born in Copenhagen, Denmark
Height 6' 2" (1.88 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Peter Martins was born on October 27, 1946 in Copenhagen, Denmark. He is known for his work on The Turning Point (1977), Living a Ballet Dream: Six Dancers Tell Their Stories (2001) and Åbning af Operaen (2005). He has been married to Darci Kistler since 1981. They have one child. He was previously married to Lise La Cour.

Spouse (2)

Darci Kistler (1981 - present) (1 child)
Lise La Cour (? - 1973) (1 child)

Trivia (31)

Has choreographed more than 50 works for the New York City Ballet.
He collects art.
Had a legendary partnership with NYCB ballerina Suzanne Farrell. Their tall stature and dancing prowess made them a much talked about and praised team.
The role of "The Cavalier" in Balanchine's interpretation of "The Nutcracker" was his most perfomed role and the one he is most famous for. Some say, because it is the character he is the most like.
When his mentor and world renown ballet master George Balanchine passed away in 1983, he became Co-Ballet Master in Chief of New York City Ballet with Jerome Robbins. But sadly Robbins himself passed on in 1990. Martins became the sole director in chief of the NYCB.
He became Chairman of Faculty of the School of American Ballet in 1983.
Had a infamous on-again, off-again relationship with lover and even disciple NYCB ballerina Heather Watts. She was obsessed with Martins as a lover, friend and confidant. He had affection for Heather and cast her in his first attempt at choreography called "Calcium Light Night."
Had a brief partnership and even relationship with wild-child and self-destructive ballerina Gelsey Kirkland.
He began creating dances in 1977 with Calcium Light Night, a series of abstract modernist studies to the music of Charles Ives which remains a critical favorite. Balanchine encouraged him from the beginning, and critics responded early on to his seeming promise as Balanchine's aesthetic heir. Martins created or staged nearly 50 works in his first fifteen years as a choreographer--but the critical consensus is that his works are not yet fulfilling his early promise.

He seems still to be seeking his own voice, and this is no easy task in the face of such expectations. By his own admission he would not be listed among the top ten choreographers of his time.
Was nominated for Broadway's 1986 Tony Award as Best Choreographer for "Song & Dance."
In his youth, he studied ballet with the School of the Royal Danish Ballet and danced with the company from 1965 to 1969. He eventually danced as a guest artist with the legendary New York City Ballet and left the Royal Danish Ballet and even his own native homeland to join NYCB as a permanent member.
All the people in his family were dancers. He claims he "never really had a lot of choice about the future of his profession."
In 1983, after the inevitable death of Balanchine, Martins retired from dancing early and with Jerome Robbins became co-ballet master in chief of the company, a position Martins has occupied alone since the retirement of Robbins in 1989.
His autobiography "Far From Denmark" was never a best-seller and therefore, never made it into a second printing.
Was named man of the year by Danish American Society, 1980.
Enjoys disco dancing and collecting art.
Still Chairman of the New York City Ballet and the School of American Ballet. As well as Artistic Director of the NYCB. [2006]
He is a smoker.
He invited Laine Habony to join New York City Ballet as an apprentice in November of 2013.
He and wife Darci Kistler were nearly killed when their home in Connecticut caught fire in 1996 when she was pregnant with their first child. There were candles on the Christmas Tree and it got out of control.
His first work as a choreographer was "Calcium Light Night" set to music by Charles Ives and premiered in 1977.
He designed the New York City Ballet Workout along with The New York Sports Club.
He met fellow NYCB Heather Watts when she was 16 and he was a 23-years-old principal. They lived together for 11 years.
Martins was inducted into the National Museum of Dance's Mr. & Mrs. Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney Hall of Fame in 2008.
When he became the sole Chairman and the Artistic Director of the New York City Ballet, numerous press accused him of ruining and blaspheming everything George Balanchine and his his innovations of ballet were about. In 1988, Vanity Fair reported that critics accused him of strewing "garbage in the halls of the House of Balanchine".
Quit dancing early in his prime to assume full roles as choreographer, instructor, artistic director and chairman at the New York City Ballet and the School of American Ballet.
In 1992, Scot J. Paltrow of the Los Angeles Times referred to Peter Martins as, "the former heartthrob danseur noble of the City Ballet, the tall, muscular Dane known for having the most perfect fifth position on any stage".
He and wife Darci Kistler got into a domestic altercation where a heated argument got physically violent in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
During the 1970's, he was avidly into disco-dancing.
He was making $50 a week while he was a star with the New York City Ballet performing principal roles as often as 10 times a week.
He received a Dance Magazine Award and Cue's Golden Apple Award in 1977. An Award for Arts and Culture, City of New York, 1981. The title of Knight of the Order of Dannebrog in 1983. An award of Merit, Philadelphia Art Alliance, 1985. And a Liberty Award, 1986. He was nominated for the 1986 Tony Award for Best Choreographer for Song & Dance. Martins is a champion of contemporary music, working often with composer John Adams. His autobiography, Far From Denmark was published in 1982. Martins was named Man of the Year by the Danish American Society, 1980. His exercise regimen, titled NYCB Workout and designed with the New York Sports Club, first appeared in book form in 1997, with a DVD and a second series produced later. Martins was inducted into the National Museum of Dance's Mr. & Mrs. Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney Hall of Fame in 2008.

Personal Quotes (11)

(On what it takes to be a professional ballerina): "It doesn't hurt to be pretty."
If these (ballet) critics were to make a list of 10 world choreographers, they would never include me. I'm simply not considered a choreographer to them.
(On retiring from dancing early to take the helm at the New York City Ballet): "I haven't regretted it for one moment."
There are a hundered dancers who need attention, help and coaching. They come and ask you when they need help, not when you have the time to listen.
(On George Balanchine as a teacher): "He told me that if I listened to him, I would have a future with the company - but if I didn't I might as well as go to American Ballet Theatre [ABT] and be a classical dancer."
[Why he left Denmark and The Royal Ballet of Denmark for America and The New York City Ballet]: The Danes are wonderful people, but too insular. I needed to expand.
Balanchine had this habit of calling up at 7 in the morning and not saying who he was. Of course you recognized him. And he said, 'Meet me for breakfast.' So of course you jumped. And we sat down and he said to me, 'You have to take this company. You have to take it when I'm gone.'
I was the only male around who knew his Balanchine's 'Apollo.' I thought I was wonderful. Afterward this old man [Balanchine] showed me how it should have been danced.
There were 12-hour days when I was tempted to say to hell with this, but I've made my peace with fame and glamor. I'm a dancer, not a prince.
It's one of those freak things that happen in people's lives sometimes. I do not consider myself a violent man in any way. It's never going to happen again.
Choreography is like poison. Once bitten, it's in your system. I find myself thinking of it constantly. When the day comes that I quit dancing, I may actually enjoy it.

See also

Other Works | Publicity Listings | Official Sites | Contact Info

Contribute to This Page