Nina Ananiashvili will retire from ABT in June - a mere 16 years after she arrived to dance her first Odette/Odile in 1993. Hard to believe that so much time has passed. New Yorkers never allowed her to be a guest artist - we claimed her as our own, rightfully or not, from day one. We allowed her guest appearances with that other company in Moscow, but her home was the Met stage.
Nina and Bocca in Swan Lake. Do you remember those? If you were there, you’ll never forget. And Nina at curtain call traveling from one end of the stage to the other acknowledging the cheering audience always with a special thank you to her most adoring fan: the guy in the audience who at every performance raced to the stage with an arm full of flowers and passionately cried out Nina Assoluta! Nina! Nina! Nina Assoluta! So many flowers. Over the years he probably spent the equivalent of a down payment on a BMW with low mileage.
Haglund worries about the flower guy. What will happen to him when Nina retires? How will he handle his grief, his loss? Nina will go on to dance a bit more and build her State Ballet of Georgia. But what will become of the flower guy? Will he ever feel the passion again? Will he really be okay?
You know, these artists retire and go on to great and satisfying second lives. We don’t have to worry about them. But we should worry a bit about those who are left behind and who invested years watching, admiring, and singing the artists’ praises - like the flower guy.
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