I’ve had the privilege of seeing a number of ABT final performances, Angel Corella, Ethan Stiefel, Nina Ananiashvili, Irina Dvorovenko, Julio Bocca. Final performances are both joyous and sad events; joyous as they provide a retrospective of a great dancers’ career, but sad knowing that we will never see the dancer in action again.
Sascha Radetsky gave his final ABT performance Thursday before Independence Day to a packed crowd, probably 90% full in the orchestra. Sascha has been a crowd favorite for many years. He joined ABT as an apprentice in 1995, promoted to the Corps in 1997, and Soloist in 2003. Sascha has danced a wide-range of leading roles including the Second and Third Sailors in Fancy Free, Champion Roper in Rodeo, Paris, Tybalt, and Benvolio in Romeo and Juliet, and my favorite of his roles, the lead male in Stanton Welch’s Clear. In 2008, he joined Dutch National Ballet as a Principal Dancer, returning to ABT in 2010.
For his final performance, he danced with Xiomara Reyes in Coppélia. Not my favorite ballet, but they both danced well and the audience was appreciative, giving Sascha two ovations after his Act III solo. Sascha has been injured for the middle part of the Met season, but he was solid and energetic on his ménage section (split jumps in a circle) punctuated by a nice triple pirouette to a double tour to the knee. Xiomara was also in fine form, particularly with a controlled fouetté section with alternating double and single pirouettes with one arm overhead.
However, the dancing was secondary as the main event was the going away curtain calls. There were plenty of hugs and tears as Sascha was congratulated on a great ABT career by current and former dancers in addition to a well-deserved goodbye from his many adoring fans. There were many ballet stars in attendance: Gillian Murphy, Ethan Steifel, Gennadi Saveliev, Marcelo Gomes, David Hallberg.
Modest bravado describes Sascha’s demeanor as a dancer and he seemed uncomfortable with all the attention; try as he might, he was unsuccessful at deflecting attention to others. He was the main attraction this evening. In addition to extended bows, he was presented with a flower wreath by Artistic Director Kevin McKenzie and embraced by wife, Soloist Stella Abrera.
Haglund has interesting comments on Sascha’s career and farewell evening.
What next for Sascha? Post-ABT, Sascha will be featured in Flesh and Bone, a “dark and gritty” ballet drama series on the Starz Network in 2015. Look out for his writing, which has been featured in Vogue here and here. I interviewed Sascha earlier in the Met season on his writing interests.