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Evelyn Cisneros: 1959—: Ballerina

Retired From The Stage But Not Dance

In 1999, at the age of 40, Cisneros retired from the San Francisco Ballet. "I want to have a family and that is the most important thing to me right now," she told the San Francisco Chronicle. San Francisco Ballet's Charles McNeal echoed the sentiments of many when he told the San Francisco Chronicle, "it's the end of an era. I don't know of any other artist like her. She's been an icon of this institution: gracious, committed, honest. The beauty and talent you see onstage is exactly who she is." At her final performance the mayor of San Francisco introduced her and a tribute video was shown. She was honored with standing ovations and many tears were shed. The dance critic for the San Francisco Chronicle wrote of her final performance, "She was elegant, sensual, firmly in control yet somehow impetuous. She seemed to be telling us she was fine, that we will be fine, even as she danced away from us."

Following her retirement, Cisneros and Legate had a boy named Ethan. She also began teaching. "I've always been interested in working with children," she told the San Francisco Chronicle. "It's something that I enjoy doing, and I want to give back to the community for getting behind me and supporting my work and my time here." However, she also felt a commitment to ballet. As she told the Albuquerque Journal, "My greatest fear is that the art of ballet will disappear in our country. Our response as artists who have devoted their lives to perfecting the art form is to pass it on to the next generation." To pursue both of these objectives, in 2002 Cisneros became the ballet education coordinator for the San Francisco Ballet. She also took on a monthly ballet help column for Dance Magazine. Meanwhile, Cisneros has hinted that she may yet pursue modern dance like ballet great Mikhail Baryshnikov who began a brilliant career in modern dance at the age of 50. Whether she does or not, one thing is sure, Cisneros has enjoyed a satisfying career. "I have had such a great time," she told the San Francisco Chronicle. "And I am just so grateful that I have been able to do so much more than I ever dreamed I could do, that I have had such joy. That is the one thing I hope people go away with: the joy I have tried to share with the audience."



Albuquerque Journal, Albuquerque, NM, July 22, 2001, p. F5.

Dance Magazine, April 1997, p. 60.

San Francisco Chronicle, May 1, 1998, p. C4; January 24, 1999, p. 26; May 5, 1999, p. A1; May 7, 1999, p. A22; May 11, 1999, p. B1; June 9, 2002, p. 45.


"Evelyn Cisneros," Performing Arts Video, www.pav.org/evelyn.htm (March 25, 2003).

"Evelyn Cisneros - Mills College Convocation" Voice of Dance, www.voiceofdance.org/Insights/vcol.e.cisneros.html (March 25, 2003).

—Candace LaBalle

Additional topics

Brief BiographiesBiographies: Ciara Biography - Wrote Out Goals to Elizabeth David (1913–1992) BiographyEvelyn Cisneros: 1959—: Ballerina Biography - Began Dancing To Overcome Shyness, Debuted With The San Francisco Ballet, Improved Reputation While Adapting To Change