Peter Martins: Biography
Peter Martins is a well-known ballet dancer and choreographer, working as a principal dancer with the Royal Danish Ballet and the New York City Ballet (NYCB). He is the creator of the famous two-act ballet, Swan Lake. He was born on October 27, 1946 in Copenhagen, Denmark. Peter Martins parents were Børge Martins, an engineer, and Tove Christa Ornberg, a pianist. On his mother's side, his aunt and uncle, Leif and Elna Ornberg, were members of the Royal Danish Ballet. They began teaching him ballroom dancing when he was just five years old. His love for ballet started young, but he was faced with discrimination when applying to ballet school, because his aunt and uncle had been Nazi sympathizers. Eventually, Peter Martins joined the Royal Danish Ballet quickly moving from In 1965, he the corps de ballet, to a soloist position. In 1970, Peter Martins left Denmark for New York City and became a principal dancer with the NYCB. Martins retired from dancing in 1983, and assumed the job of sole Balletmaster-in-Chief in 1990. Peter Martins had a very tumultuous romantic relationship with another principal dancer with the NYCB, Heather Watts. There are reports that he abused her on several occasions. Peter Martins has faced other allegations of abused. In July 1992, he was arrested and after his young wife, another New York City Ballet principal ballerina named Darci Kistler, called the police for help, claiming he assaulted her. Peter Martins is now under scrutiny over allegations of sexual misconduct against at least 15 other members of the NYCB during his long career with them. He denies this, but has recently retired from the company amidst the allegations.
Peter Martins: NYCB Career and movie history
Aside from all talk of Peter Martin's abusive past and sexual misconduct, he has had a long and very successful career with the New York City Ballet. He has danced a wide variety of roles, but is perhaps most known for the role of Apollo in the ballet of the same name and as the Cavalier in Balanchine's Nutcracker. Balanchine handpicked Peter Martins to be balletmaster and to carry on the legacy of the NYCB when he passed. However, he faced criticism when he took on that role due to perceived deviations from Balanchine's style. Peter Martins also served as the artistic director and chairman of faculty of the School of American Ballet, which is the training division of the NYCB. During this time, Peter Martins choreographed new works for both companies often. His first work was called Calcium Light Night. It was set to music by Charles Ives and premiered in 1977. His more recent pieces include Octet, Friandises, Stabat Mater and the full-length ballets The Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, and Romeo + Juliet. Peter Martins also choreographed the dancing in two movie productions for Barbie, called Barbie in the Nutcracker and Barbie of Swan Lake. In 1998, Peter Martins published a book called 'Tributes: Celebrating 50 Years of New York City Ballet'. The book pays homage to the Ballet, the people who created and all the dancers, artists, and composers, who helped make artistic fantasies come to life on stage. 'Tributes: Celebrating 50 Years of New York City Ballet' contains the most comprehensive repertory list spanning it's fifty-year history, as well as a complete chronology discography, and videography, making it a definitive history of the Company.
Peter Martins: Net worth, more facts to know
Peter Martins overall net worth is under review. However, he faced criticism for his large annual salary of over $600,000 a year with many people saying it was just too high for his position. Peter Martins was once charged with a DWI in Yonkers, New York, to which he pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of driving while impaired. Just this past December, in 2017, he was arrested after being involved in a three-car crash. This time he was charged with drunk driving, refusal to take a breath test, and backing unsafely. He pleaded not guilty to these charges and his license was suspended. Darci Kistler and Peter Martins have one daughter together, named Talicia Tove Martins. She was born on June 13, 1996. She has been arrested twice in the past year for possession of drugs and for burglary and felony theft. In 2015, Peter Martins and the NYCB welcomed artist Dustin Yellin to create an art exhibit for them. Dustin Yellin: New York City Ballet 2015 is a stunning collection of statues, called Psychogeographies, which show colorful bodies trapped within glass. The pieces were on display throughout the entire 2015 winter season for patrons of the ballet to view and enjoy while coming to see performances.
Peter Martins: In conclusion
Peter Martins has had a very volatile personal life, but there is no doubt that he has really helped shape the art of ballet through his work with the New York City Ballet company.
The above photo is from the Dustin Yellin: New York City Ballet 2015 exhibition.