Few people are truly inexhaustible, but Damian Woetzel appears to be one of those rare creatures. As a principal dancer at the New York City Ballet from 1989 to 2008, Woetzel’s exuberance and limitless energy was lavishly celebrated.
“I loved to dance, and it was never enough,” he says. “I always wanted to do more. City Ballet had multiple ballets on a night. If there were three ballets, I’d want to do all three. One was not enough. Two was pretty good. Three? Wow. That would be my night.”
Before retiring from that stage at 41, Woetzel acquired a master’s degree from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. He later taught at Harvard Law School and served on President Obama’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities. Now 51, Woetzel has become the new president of Manhattan’s prestigious Juilliard School—the first former dancer to hold that position.
In this profile, he pulls back the curtain and gives a glimpse into his life, onstage and off.