In the world of ballet, retirement marks a bittersweet end while also celebrating the extraordinary contributions and artistic journeys of exceptional dancers. Following our final performance of Coppélia, we will bid farewell to four remarkable Alabama Ballet company dancers: Frederick Lee Rocas, Ariana Czernobil, Jenna Graham, and Nathanael Edwards.

Frederick Lee Rocas is retiring from Alabama Ballet after a thirteen year career as a principal dancer with our company and a beloved teacher in our school. Frederick will be moving to Pennsylvania as he accepts his new role as the Men’s Program Coordinator at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet. On retiring from his dancing and teaching career with Alabama Ballet, Frederick notes: “I have no words for the gratitude I feel for the experiences my career at Alabama Ballet has given me. I owe many thanks to this company for turning me into the dancer, teacher, and person I am now. Without this company, I would not have had the chance to perform some of the best ballets I could dream of, the knowledge that I have now, some of the most amazing people from this art form, colleagues, friends, and the love of my life, Carolina!”

Ariana Czernobil is retiring from a twelve year career with Alabama Ballet as a principal dancer and will also be making the move to Pennsylvania to join Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet’s team. On her retirement, she states: “Leaving the Alabama is bittersweet but I part with a lifetime of memories that I cherish. I am thankful to all dancers past and present who have inspired me, but I am especially grateful for Tracey and Roger for guiding me and giving me opportunities to grow and flourish as a dancer. Though I am sad to leave, I am excited for my next adventure as a faculty member at the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet!”

Jenna Graham is retiring from a nine year career as a company dancer with Alabama Ballet to continue her career as a pilates and ballet instructor and embark on a new career as a writer. When asked about her retirement, Jenna commented: “I am extremely grateful for my nine-year career with the Alabama Ballet. This company has given me unforgettable moments on stage and the sweetest friendships, and these are two things that I will cherish forever. I look forward to spending more time investing in clients and students at Aero Joe Pilates and at Briarwood Ballet, and I have also started writing a romance/coming-of-age novel! Thank you to everyone who has come to watch me perform over the years. It truly means the world to me!”

Nathanael Edwards is retiring from Alabama Ballet after three years with the company to further his education and forge a new path. On his retirement, Nathanael states: “I am very grateful for my time dancing at Alabama Ballet. Not only was I given the opportunity to achieve my dream, but also make many friendships and countless memories on and off the stage. As I step away from ballet I plan to go to college and get my undergrad as well as pursue other interests of mine in this next chapter of life. I will always look fondly on my time at Alabama Ballet and cherish my career as a ballet dancer here.”

As we bid farewell to these four dancers, we honor their immeasurable contributions to the Alabama Ballet. May their next chapters be filled with fulfillment, happiness, and new adventures, as they leave a lasting imprint on our organization.

You can catch these dancers on stage for their final performances with the Alabama Ballet in the classical storybook ballet, Coppélia, this June 2-4 at ASFA’s Dorothy Jemison Day Theater. Get your tickets here