PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — As the Pennsylvania Ballet wraps up its season, one of the company’s longtime dancers is preparing to say goodbye for good. After more than two decades of dance, he’s retiring this weekend.
The journey has been no less than a dream come true for Ian Hussey.
“I grew up idolizing Pennsylvania Ballet dancers,” Ian said.
Now, Ian is one of the ballet’s most popular, performing as a principal dancer for the last 15 years, his entire professional career, with the company.
“I’ve danced everything I’ve ever dreamed of dancing, and so few of us can say that,” Ian said.
That’s what happens when the roles start as a child.
Ian’s first performance with the ballet was in 1994. He was a party boy in The Nutcracker.
“I was nine years old, so I’ve kind of been here ever since,” he said.
Ian grew up to become the Cavalier in the Nutcracker.
He was definitely no stranger to crowds during the holidays, but his career has been far from easy.
“Ballet is so hard, and the cruelest joke of all is it gets harder as you get older,” he said.
Admittedly, after 25 years under the microscope as a dancer, Ian is looking forward to the simple joys of retirement.
“Maybe I can have a beer and a bowl of pasta and not be like am I going to regret that later?” he said with a laugh.
But it’s his diligence that colleagues and friends say makes Ian an incredible talent. And over the years, he has stunned in countless leads.
This season, Ian took the stage in Giselle with close friend Alexandra Hughes.
“The second act with Giselle saying goodbye to her love, it was very emotional,” she recalls. “I’m going to miss dancing with him because he makes you feel protected and safe.”
Ironically, Ian’s last dance on Sunday will also be a first.
“Glass Pieces will be a brand new role for me as I say goodbye,” he said. “It’s really exciting.”
The timing couldn’t be more perfect. Sunday is Mother’s Day.
“My mom has been to every show of mine,” he says. “I feel very fortunate to be able to have my whole career where I grew up, I’m from South Jersey.
They say I bleed green. I am a huge Eagles fan. I am a Philly boy.
No doubt, this weekend the hometown crowd will give Ian a curtain call to remember.
He expects the moment to be bittersweet.
“Just try to enjoy the moment as much as I can because that’s going to be the moment that lasts a lifetime,” he said.
Once he officially retires, Ian is moving to New York to finally live full-time with his husband.
He says he’s looking forward to eventually starting a family. But first, he’s excited about a year-long European vacation.
Ian is performing Saturday and Sunday at the Academy of Music in two different pieces.
His scheduled performances are:
Saturday, 5/11, at 2pm, Glass Pieces
Saturday, 5/11, at 8pm, DGV
Sunday, 5/12, at 2pm, DGV and Glass Pieces