Darci Kistler

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Darci Kistler
Born (1964-06-04) June 4, 1964 (age 53)
Riverside, California
Nationality American
Occupation Ballerina
Years active 1980–2009
Spouse(s) Peter Martins (m. 1991)
Children Talicia Tove Martins

Darci Kistler (born June 4, 1964)[1] is a noted American ballerina. She is often said to be the last muse for the choreographer, George Balanchine.


Kistler was born in Riverside, California, the fifth child (with four older brothers) of a medical doctor and his wife. Her brothers excelled in amateur wrestling, and she followed them into water-skiing, basketball, football and horseback riding. However, at age 4 she received her first tutu, and (figuratively) never took it off, beginning ballet training that same year. She claimed although she was always athletic, she could never keep to her brothers—so ballet turned out to be one cornerstone she had mastered. After seeing a ballet performance of Rudolph Nureyev and Margot Fonteyn, she decided she wanted to take up ballet herself. She studied with Mary Lynn at Mary Lynn's Ballet Arts and later with Irina Kosmovska in Los Angeles.

In early 1979, Kistler was selected to study at New York City Ballet's School of American Ballet (SAB), where she met George Balanchine. She joined the New York City Ballet (NYCB) corps de ballet in 1980, and was featured in a Time article before the end of the year.[2] Kistler was promoted to (NYCB) soloist in 1981 and principal dancer in 1982, the youngest ever at 17 years. Signature roles include Balanchine's Jewels (Diamonds), Agon, Prodigal Son and Symphony in C. She danced the rôle of the Sugarplum Fairy in City Ballet's 1993 film version of The Nutcracker. She eventually wrote her own autobiography "Ballerina: My Story" as a children's book.

Kistler joined the SAB's permanent faculty in 1994.

Throughout her career, she had numerous dance-related injuries, including a broken ankle that sidelined her for three years. She went through several surgeries, including for her back.[3]

In February 2009, Kistler announced her retirement from New York City Ballet at the end of the 2010 season.[3] Her farewell performance took place on June 27, 2010,[4] and consisted of ballets choreographed by Balanchine and Martins:

Personal life[edit]

Kistler married New York City Ballet's balletmaster-in-chief Peter Martins in 1991. In July 1992, Martins was arrested on charges of assaulting Kistler, cutting and bruising her arms and legs.[5] The charges were later withdrawn.[3] Kistler and Martins have one daughter, Talicia Tove Martins, born in June 1996.[6] In August 2017, Talicia Tove Martins was arrested for burglary of three businesses in Camden, Maine.[7]



  1. ^ Toni Bentley, Darci Kistler Exits the Stage, The Wall Street Journal, May 28, 2010, p. W2
  2. ^ Martha Duffy, Dance: A New Sunbeam, Traveling Fast, Time, December 8, 1980: "At 16, Darci Kistler is on point. There are no subtleties in Darci Kistler's success story: she is a little girl's fantasy come to life. At 16 she has been given major roles by George Balanchine, the greatest living choreographer. New York City Ballet audiences, normally a reserved and sophisticated lot, cheer her on ..."
  3. ^ a b c Daniel J. Wakin (February 5, 2009). "Last Balanchine Dancer Bowing Out". The New York Times. Retrieved 18 November 2014. 
  4. ^ Alastair Macaulay (June 28, 2010). "Arts : Dance". The New York Times. Retrieved 18 November 2014. 
  5. ^ "Martins, Ballet Master, Held On Charge He Beat His Wife". The New York Times. July 22, 1992. 
  6. ^ Milestones, Time, June 24, 1996
  7. ^ "Socialite daughter of famous ballet couple busted for Maine burglaries". The Bangor Daily News. August 7, 2017. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Darci Kistler; Alicia Kistler, Ballerina: My Story (Pocket Books, New York, 1993)

External links[edit]