In a large studio on the ;fth ;oor of the David H.
Koch Theater, Amar Ramasar and four women
from New York City Ballet’s corps are rehearsing “Phlegmatic,” from Balanchine’s The Four
Temperaments. Ramasar goes through his solo,
analyzing each step as if attempting it for the
;rst time. Energy shoots through his ;ngers in
an arabesque penchée. His face beams as he pops
through a thicket of women’s bodies, like a jack-in-the-box. When he and his four backup dancers do
a sequence of développés to the side, his legs reach
up as high as theirs, the line completed by a sharply
pointed foot. “It hurts, Rosemary, it hurts!” he
jokes to the ballet mistress, Rosemary Dunleavy, in
mock agony after one of these impressive extensions, then begins again.
Afterwards, he thanks the pianist, hugs Dunleavy and high-;ves his fellow dancers. Everyone
agrees: Ramasar is a mensch, as quick to give
encouragement or welcome a newcomer as he is
to pick up choreography or ;nd a solution to a
partnering riddle. At 34 and clearly at the top of
his game, he is unfailingly modest. This sunny
disposition, and the adaptability that underpins it,
has served him well in a profession that is at times
grueling, and never easy.
His own path has certainly demanded a certain
amount of grit. He started ballet relatively late—at
12—after taking part in a New York City–wide
after-school musical theater program called TADA!
Daniel Catanach, a teacher and choreographer then
working with TADA!, noticed him right away. “He
used to follow me around,” says Catanach, “asking,
‘When do I get a solo, when do I get a solo?’;”
New York City Ballet’s
Amar Ramasar has grown
into more than just an
endearing kid from the
Bronx. In recent seasons,
he’s become an intriguing,
sophisticated artist. But
he still can’t help radiating
his love for dance.
BY MARINA HARSS
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