Pennsylvania Ballet Principal Dancer Zachary Hench Retires

Zachary Hench and Lauren Fadeley in Christopher Wheeldon’s Swan Lake
Zachary Hench and Lauren Fadeley in Christopher Wheeldon’s Swan Lake

Over the weekend at Philadelphia's Academy of Music, the Pennsylvania Ballet presented post-modern choreographer Christopher Wheeldon's re-interpretation of Swan Lake, the 19th Century ballet classic which runs there through March 15. At the March 8 matinee performance, the Pennsylvania Ballet bid adieu to Zachary Hench as its Principal Dancer. Hench will continue with the Company as Ballet Master.

That Hench's retirement announcement came during Swan Lake was a case of circumstances coming full circle; he joined the Pennsylvania Ballet in 2004, with his first role that year being "Siegfried" in Wheeldon’s Swan Lake at the Academy of Music. Since that time, Hench has danced in numerous roles there including "Romeo" in Romeo and Juliet, "Prince Charming" in Cinderella, and as "Oberon" in Balanchine’s version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

As for the new staging of Swan Lake under Wheeldon's eye, the Lev Ivanov and Marius Petipa classic with its still-haunting score by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, has been re-interpreted for younger audiences, with costumes and sets designed to look like an Edgar Degas' painting.

The Academy of Music is located at 240 S Broad Street in Philadelphia. For tickets or more info visit or call 215.893.1999.

Photo: Alexander Iziliaev

Posted on Monday, March 9, 2015