Janie Taylor in Jerome Robbins’ Afternoon of a Faun.
photo by Paul Kolnik
Through their lyricism and imagination, Janie Taylor and
Sébastien Marcovici have joined a long legacy of distinctive artists
at New York City Ballet. On the evening of March 1, the two principal
dancers, who married in 2012, will retire from the company
with a program celebrating French composers.
Included will be
two ballets set to the Gallic impressionism of Claude Debussy’s
Afternoon of a Faun and Maurice Ravel’s La Valse, choreographed
by Jerome Robbins and George Balanchine respectively. They
honor Taylor and Marcovici’s gifts: her contrasting vulnerability
and daring, and his poetry and nobility.
“La Valse is probably my favorite ballet,” says Taylor. “I just love
watching it and dancing it. Ravel’s music has such beauty, while at
the same time being ominous and dark. I love the mix of those two
things.” Afternoon of a Faun holds special meaning for Taylor and
Marcovici, because it reflects the origins of their romance—as
two young dancers in front of a mirror in a dance studio.
Their decision to leave the company was prompted by an offer to
the Parisian-born Marcovici from former NYCB principal dancer
Benjamin Millepied (and incoming Director of Dance at the Paris
Opéra Ballet) to become a ballet master for L.A. Dance Project, which Millepied co-founded. Marcovici’s job will entail coaching
and rehearsing ballets and teaching company class.
For Taylor, the timing also seemed appropriate. “At this point in my
career, it seems like the right decision to make. We didn’t have any
interest in not being in the same place for a while.” Born in Texas
and trained at the School of American Ballet, Taylor has branched
out into the design field and is creating the costumes for Justin
Peck’s new ballet for NYCB’s spring season.
Audiences will long remember the couple’s notable performances
in a range of ballets—for their tragic rapture in La Sonnambula
and their refined expressiveness in Liebeslieder Walzer. Some of
Taylor’s other career highs include the fleetness of her Dewdrop
in George Balanchine’s The NutcrackerTM and her despairing
Helena in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Marcovici made an impression
with his Melancholic variation in The Four Temperaments and
his striking shapes in Stravinsky Violin Concerto.
Taylor knows what she will miss about the company: “I’m definitely
sad that I won’t be able to see how the careers of some of the
younger dancers will grow.” And of course there is NYCB’s unparalleled
repertory. “Balanchine’s ballets are the reason I wanted
to be a professional dancer,” she says. “It has been so amazing to
dance them with the company where they were created.”
Marcovici, who trained at the School of the Paris Opéra before joining
NYCB, concurs. “At New York City Ballet, we know Balanchine
ballets,” he says. “Other companies dance Balanchine, but we
understand them in a different way. Leaving the company is leaving
a special place.”
Joseph Carman is a
senior advising editor
at Dance Magazine.