In early March of 2020 the American Ballet Theatre principal Stella Abrera was in St. Petersburg, Russia, setting Alexei Ratmansky’s “Seven Sonatas” on the Mariinsky Ballet. She was so busy in the studio, she told me a few months later, that she was barely conscious of what was happening in the larger world around her. That is until her husband, former ABT soloist Sascha Radetsky—now director of the Studio Company—called to say he had booked her on the next flight out of St. Petersburg. Hers was one of the last flights to leave Russia in those days when the seriousness of the Covid pandemic was becoming alarmingly clear.
Stella Abrera as Clara, the Princess in Alexei Ratmansky's “The Nutcracker.” Photograph by Rosalie O'Connor