Last Big Dance For Ballet's Longtime Leading Man

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(Sacramento, CA)
Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Jack Hansen has danced the good guys – the handsome, heroic men in classical ballets. And he’s danced the bad guys – wearing a red cape and fangs as Count Dracula, a role he helped invent. But whatever the role, Hansen clearly loves the spotlight. 

Jack: “I think that will be the one thing that I miss the most. That’s probably the one reason I got into this business, was I loved being on stage, center, knowing that everyone in there was watching me. That’s the thrill. That is why I am in the studio every day. Because I love being on stage.” 

But Hansen has paid dearly for that attention. He’s been dancing professionally since he was a teenager, and all of that leaping, landing and lifting have taken a toll. 

“Being in the studio for six hours a day is torture for my body. I have very bad Plantar faciitis, and especially in my left foot. And it’s getting more difficult the older I get.” 

Plantar Faciitis is an overuse injury, common among athletes, caused by inflammation of the tissue that connects the heel bone to the toes. Hansen tapes his foot daily, but it still hurts. 

 “And then I found out that I had heel spurs, and I’m not one of these people that wants to go and have surgery. So I’ve been dancing with the spurs. And it’s been painful.”

So he’s going into semi-retirement. Hansen will still dance, but he’ll do smaller character roles, less physically demanding, and less time on stage. But he’ll still be in the world of dance, which is where he wants to remain, even if he will no longer perform in the central role.

“This is the only business I know. I’ve been doing this business since I was five years of age, started dancing then. At 16, first professional contract. Now 36, I’m ready to move onto something different.” 

Hansen will do more teaching, working with the young dancers, some of whom are still in their teens. So as he prepares his aching body for his final weekend as the leading man, in a big ballet, is Hansen having second thoughts? 

“I have had a great run. I have danced the leading roles in so many amazing ballets, and I don’t regret any of it. And I don’t regret my decision to finally retire.” 

Jack Hansen performs as the Prince in the Sacramento Ballet's production of "Sleeping Beauty" Thursday, March 20th and Saturday afternoon, March 22nd.  Stephan Calka will dance the role on Friday and Saturday nights.