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Robert Fairchild Says Goodbye to City Ballet With Balanchine and Roses

Robert Fairchild bid farewell to the New York City Ballet on Sunday afternoon in George Balanchine’s “Duo Concertant.” In a recent interview with The New York Times, Mr. Fairchild, 30, described the ballet as “tap dancing with ballet shoes, skimming like a stone on water.”

Mr. Fairchild, who retires as a principal, hasn’t danced his last dance. Nominated for a Tony for “An American in Paris,” he plans to pursue a career in acting and musical-theater. At his final curtain call, Mr. Fairchild, the youngest dancer to have a farewell event at City Ballet, choreographed an unusual flower presentation: he stood by a basket of roses and handed a flower to fellow principal dancers, who came onstage one by one.


Mr. Fairchild and Sterling Hyltin in George Balanchine’s “Duo Concertant.”

Julieta Cervantes for The New York Times

The last rose was saved for Peter Martins, the company’s ballet master in chief, who gave one of his own to Mr. Fairchild, who then placed it at the front of the stage, looked out at the crowd and touched his chest. This was a farewell of thanks.

“Duo Concertant,” a 1972 pas de deux set to Stravinsky, begins as two dancers listen intently to a pianist and a violinist. Mr. Fairchild’s longtime partner, Sterling Hyltin, was visibly choking back tears — the pair were the original Romeo and Juliet in Mr. Martins’s 2007 production — but when it came time to move, their dancing was full of jazzy effervescence. It’s what Mr. Fairchild is known for. As his sister, the principal Megan Fairchild, wrote on Instagram: “This boy eats up space on stage like nobody else.”

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