SEATTLE, WA — Pacific Northwest Ballet Artistic Director Peter Boal and principal dancer Maria Chapman have announced that Ms. Chapman has decided to retire. Ms. Chapman joined PNB as an apprentice in 1995 and was promoted to corps de ballet in 1996, soloist in 2005, and principal in 2009.

“In her 21st season with PNB, Maria has made the difficult decision to retire from the stage,” said Mr. Boal in his announcement. “Maria’s career has been filled with extraordinary roles, but it is her most recent real-life role, as mother of precious Eleanor, that has quickly become her favorite.”

“With mixed emotions, I announce my retirement from PNB so that I can enjoy more time with my daughter,” said Ms. Chapman regarding her decision. “I feel blessed to leave the stage happy and healthy and with two decades of wonderful memories, on and offstage. I fully enjoyed my last performances with PNB, dancing three wonderful ballets, with the entire company, in the EMERGENCE program, and I can end my career on a high note. I know I will always miss this spectacular career, and the PNB community, however when Eleanor came into my life sixteen months ago, my goals changed and she became my world. As I did when I left home at age 15 to become a ballerina, I once again leave a safe ‘home’ to follow my heart to be a full-time mom. I am truly grateful to all of my fans, friends and family for the love and support you gave me throughout my career.”

Mr. Boal continued: “I have had the unique pleasure of watching Maria grow from a gangly-legged student at the School of American Ballet, to an accomplished artist and beloved ballerina. Maria’s range has been tremendous not only in works by George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins and Kent Stowell, but also as a muse to many choreographers. I will never forget her quirky allure as the punk heroine in Twyla Tharp’s Afternoon Ball, her embodiment of beauty in Christopher Wheeldon’s After the Rain, her innate elegance in the second movement of Balanchine’s Symphony in C, or her poignant portrayal of Odette in Kent Stowell’s Swan Lake. In addition to her artistic triumphs, she has been a true advocate for academic education for dancers, as the chair of Second Stage, PNB’s career transition program. We will miss Maria on our stage and in our studios, but we are most happy for Eleanor.”

Maria Chapman is from St. Simons Island, Georgia. She was a student of Magdalena Maury and studied under Patricia Bromley at Terpsichore Co., Ltd. in Atlanta. She continued her training on full scholarship at the School of American Ballet and attended summer courses at Boston Ballet, Houston Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet School, and the School of American Ballet. She joined Pacific Northwest Ballet as an apprentice in 1995 and was promoted to corps de ballet in 1996, soloist in 2005, and principal in 2009.

Ms. Chapman has danced leading roles in George Balanchine’s Agon, Apollo, Concerto Barocco, Coppélia (Spinner), Divertimento No. 15, Emeralds, The Four Temperaments, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Divertissement pas de deux, Helena), Symphony in C, and Symphony in Three Movements; Peter Boal’s Giselle (Myrtha); Todd Bolender’s Souvenirs; David Dawson’s A Million Kisses to My Skin; Ulysses Dove’s Dancing on the Front Porch of Heaven and Vespers; Nacho Duato’s Jardí Tancat; Nicolo Fonte’s Within/Without; William Forsythe’s Artifact II, In the middle, somewhat elevated, and One Flat Thing, reproduced; Kiyon Gaines’ ə{SCHWA}; Paul Gibson’s Sense of Doubt; Ronald Hynd’s The Sleeping Beauty (Aurora in “Aurora’s Wedding”, Bluebird pas de deux); Jiri Kylian’s Forgotten Land and Petite Mort; Jean-Christophe Maillot’s Roméo et Juliette (Lady, Capulet, Rosaline); Mark Morris’ Pacific; Annabelle Lopez Ochoa’s Cylindrical Shadows; Crystal Pite’s Emergence; Alexei Ratmansky’s Concerto DSCH and Don Quixote (Mercedes, Queen of the Dryads); Jerome Robbins’ The Concert, Glass Pieces, and In the Night; Kent Stowell’s Carmina Burana, Cinderella (Cinderella), Delicate Balance, Firebird, Nutcracker (Clara, Flora, Peacock),  Silver Lining, and Swan Lake (Odette/Odile); Susan Stroman’s TAKE FIVE … More or Less; Price Suddarth’s Signature; Lynne Taylor-Corbett’s Mercury; Twyla Tharp’s Afternoon Ball, Brief Fling, In the Upper Room, Nine Sinatra Songs, Opus 111, and Waterbaby Bagatelles; and Christopher Wheeldon’s After the Rain pas de deux, Polyphonia, and Tide Harmonic. She originated leading roles in Kiyon Gaines’ ə{SCHWA} and Sum Stravinsky, Benjamin Millepied’s 3 Movements, and Victor Quijada’s Suspension of Disbelief, and featured roles in Donald Byrd’s Seven Deadly Sins and Christopher Stowell’s Quick Time.

Ms. Chapman danced in the BBC’s 1999 film version of PNB’s production of Balanchine’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, filmed at Sadler’s Wells Theatre, London. She is also featured in the 1999 danceWORKS fitness video and began appearing in Bloch dancewear advertising in 2002.

In addition to her performing career, Ms. Chapman is a founding member (1998 to present) of Second Stage for Dancers, PNB’s career transition program. She is currently chairperson of the Second Stage Dancer Committee.

Featured photo: Maria Chapman in Kiyon Ross’s Sum Stravinsky, photo © Angela Sterling.

Photos: Maria Chapman with daughter Eleanor, photo courtesy of Maria Chapman. Maria Chapman in George Balanchine’s Apollo, photo © Angela Sterling. Maria Chapman and Karel Cruz in Christopher Wheeldon’s After the Rain pas de deux, photo © Angela Sterling.