Officially Bitten

by the Ethan bug! Yes, I’ve repeatedly rolled my eyes at friends for falling for his goofy macheesmo motorcycle-riding ballet boy in Center Stage, for swooning right out of their seats over his simple (non-dancing) self-introduction at the start of Stiefel & Stars; I’ve shrugged my shoulders at his macho motorcycle-riding real self in Born To Be Wild (Jose‘s cuter and more interesting, being from the forbidden land, I thought), and his ceiling-high assemble during which he beat his feet together more times than I could count at ABT’s Met gala last year (pshaw, David can do that, I declared… well… almost). No one could understand my offensive nonchalance, my dumbfounding indifference, my mentally ill resistance to Ethan-infatuation. No, they couldn’t understand me, and I certainly couldn’t understand them.

Well, all that changed last night when I spotted him in the audience at the New Ballet program at Columbia University’s Miller Theater. (I’ll write about this very soon, along with the tap dancing rock concert, Revolution, which I saw at the Joyce in Chelsea Thursday night). He was watching the new ballets a couple of rows behind me, with Damian Woetzel. He had his hair all fashionably brushed forward and it looked like he had some highlights put in (yes, he has blonde hair to begin with, but his hair now seems to be different shades of blonde). He was just kind of sitting there flashing his cocked little half-smile at everyone who looked at him, seemingly slightly self-conscious about all the attention, but not in a shy way, if that makes any sense at all. At intermission, he got up and politely shook hands with some people, and when he sat down again I saw an older man — obviously a fan — approach him and ask him the obvious — was he coming back to the stage this Fall?? With a sad, wistful look in his eyes, he shrugged his shoulders and looked down at his knees. As they continued to talk, his cute cocked half-smile slowly returned. I could see him telling the man, “thank you.” Something about it was just so sweetly endearing. He just looked so handsome and forlorn. And I don’t know how to explain it, but something happened. I saw flashing lights. The skies opened. I saw what every other woman on the planet has seen. Right then and there I fell head over heels. I am in love with Ethan Stiefel! I am normal! All I could think about on my subway ride home was how I have to see him do that assemble again — soon! I almost even watched Center Stage again but then came to my senses 🙂 I’ll wait for City Center.


  1. I’m going to be so embarassed by this comment by tomorrow morning but I have to say: Isn’t he the most adorable thing? When I was in NY in May every dance fan I knew and saw while I was there had all these Ethan Steifel spotting stories on subways, walking down the street, and they were all so awed that they never spoke to him. He seemed similarly aloof when we saw him at the stage door, really apart from the crowd like he was trying to get away, which is so unlike him when he dances. I’m so used to seeing him dance on TV with such brava!

  2. I have always heard that Ethan is a great guy. We have watched CENTER STAGE a dozen times just to see Janie Taylor getting off the bus at the beginning. I love Donna Murphy, too. And Julie Kent is so funny in that scene where she mocks Ethan.

  3. This is so cute!
    I also had an Ethan sighting last season at the met – Gillian Murphy and David Hallberg were dancing R & J and I spotted him heading backstage at the intermission. I seemed to be the only one who saw him… or else I was just the only one uncool enough to gawk.

  4. Sorry you “discovered” Ethan Stiefel a little late, Tonya. He really has been a marvelous dancer and I was upset when he made his decision a number of years ago to leave NYCB. I first saw him dance at a SAB Workshop Performance – he danced the third movement of Symphony in C – and he left an immediate, indelible impression on me. I knew that night that he was going to be a big star. (There was another outstanding performance that evening – by Monique Meunier in the second movement of Symphony in C – and I thought for sure that she was headed towards stardom as well, but it never quite worked out for her). Now that Ethan has been named Dean of Dance at the North Carolina School for the Arts, and also given his knee problems, I guess that his performing career may be drawing to a close. Oh yes, just for the record, I too had an Ethan Stiefel sighting last year when he and Gilliam Murphy were sitting in the same row – about 4 or 5 seats from me- at a NYCB performance at the NY state Theater. No special anecdotes to report on Ethan that night but then again, I was probably more focused on Gillian.

    Philip, thank you for the info regarding the quick Janie Taylor appearance at the beginning of Center Stage. I saw that movie but missed the Janie sighting. Now I will have to rent the film and watch it again just to experience and savor Janie’s brief scene.

  5. Hm, I have to be honest, I haven’t been a complete Ethan convert myself. I just prefer Angel’s fire or Vladimir Malakhov’s catlike artistry to Ethan’s clean all-American dancing – which is still very very good. It’s just a matter of taste, I think. Your story is cute though – and he’s very nice! He’s also a little bit of a flirt too. 🙂

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