Maria Chapman Announces Retirement, After Her Final Bow
PNB’s Maria Chapman in Balanchine’s Apollo. Photo by Angela Sterling, Courtesy PNB.
Julie Kent. Carla Körbes. Paloma Herrera. Xiomara Reyes. Over the past year, each of these phenomenal ballerinas took their final bows. Yesterday, Pacific Northwest Ballet broke the news that another dancer of the same generation has retired: principal Maria Chapman. The sudden announcement wasn’t made until after her last performance, which was just this weekend in a triple bill, but Chapman’s reason for leaving the stage is, of course, well thought out. “With mixed emotions, I announce my retirement from PNB so that I can enjoy more time with my daughter,” she said in a press release from PNB. The mother of 16-month-old Eleanor enjoyed a 20-year career in Seattle and danced a broad repertoire, including the leads in many works by Balanchine, William Forsythe, Christopher Wheeldon and Twyla Tharp.
I still remember flipping through Dance Magazine and seeing Chapman in the Bloch dancewear ads as a young student at my southern Indiana school. Over 2,000 miles away from Seattle, her star still shone brightly to my classmates and me. Though it’s bittersweet to see Chapman retire after two decades onstage, I’m excited to see which stars will rise next, particularly soloist Elizabeth Murphy, who is the company’s Sugar Plum poster-girl for this year’s Nutcracker.
In honor of Maria’s farewell and in celebration of her next chapter, check out this clip of her rehearsing Wheeldon’s poignant After the Rain pas de deux with PNB principal Karel Cruz.