After 23-Year Career, Colorado Ballet’s Chandra Kuykendall Hopes for Onstage Closure | Steve Sucato [Arts Air]

Chandra Kuykendall and Domenico Luciano and Artists of Colorado-Ballet in "Swan-Lake". Photo by Francisco Estevez Photography.
Chandra Kuykendall and Domenico Luciano and Artists of Colorado-Ballet in “Swan-Lake”. Photo by Francisco Estevez Photography.

By Steve Sucato

In addition to cancelled shows, the coronavirus pandemic has disrupted final performances for many retiring dancers. This week, Pointe is giving several retiring principals and soloists a chance to reflect on their careers and offer advice to the next generation.

After 23-years as a professional dancer, 22 of those with Colorado Ballet, Chandra Kuykendall felt it was time for change. The 41-year-old principal dancer, who officially retired this season, did so to spend more time with her husband and two small boys and to do all those other things being a full-time ballerina curtailed. A native of Parker, Colorado, Kuykendall trained at the Academy of Colorado Ballet for 9 years before joining Colorado Ballet in 1997. She was promoted to principal in 2007 and has performed leading roles from Odette/Odile in Swan Lake and Aurora in The Sleeping Beautyto ballets by George Balanchine, Antony Tudor, Twyla Tharp and Jíří Kylián. Kuykendall took time to talk about balancing career and family, and on missing out on a final onstage farewell.

Your final performance was supposed to be in April but was cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Do you feel cheated out of that experience?

I want to take a final bow. It would be really special for me. I don’t want a party, I just feel really unsettled without that onstage closure. My artistic director, Gil Boggs, and I have been discussing how to make that happen this upcoming season. The feeling is that something will be worked out.

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This article first appeared on PointeMagazine.com on June 4, 2020

Steve Sucato is a former dancer turned arts writer/critic. He is Chairman Emeritus of the Dance Critics Association and Associate Editor of ExploreDance.com.