At only 15 years of age, Herrera joined American Ballet Theater. By 19, she was the youngest ballerina to achieve the honor of principal dancer in the company’s history.
By Walter Raymond
The applause and the tears began from the first time Paloma Herrera appeared on stage at the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires. Principal Dancer of American Ballet Theatre, and alumnus of the Instituto Superior de Arte of the Teatro Colón, Herrera appeared for the last time before the Argentine public to bid farewell to the stage. The prima ballerina chose the role of Juliet, in Sergey Profókiev’s Romeo and Juliet ballet as her final performance. Herrera’s swan song was choreographed by the Colón’s director, Maximiliano Guerra.
In a beautiful gesture of generosity, the ballerina requested her farewell performance be broadcast live on a giant screen placed in Vatican Square, next to Teatro Colon, for all to enjoy.
The Diva's Last Performance
After her appearance at Teatro Colón, which featured four performances where Herrera shared the stage with the principal dancer of New York City Ballet, Gonzalo García, and the theater`s corps de ballet, Paloma toured briefly through other Argentinean cities performing Giselle, a work for which she’s always displayed a special devotion. The presentation at Teatro Colón had a symbolic, emotional aura, as she ended a successful career on the same stage that saw her debut.
In one of her last interviews, Paloma confessed to journalist Agustina Dandraia, "I say goodbye at the height of my career as a dancer. My twenties were wonderful, but I would not go back to that time. I am happy. I couldn’t care less what happens after... I live the present". Having said that, she hinted at the possibility of creating her line of clothes, perhaps under the umbrella of a fashion label. Her clothes will be devoid of sophisticated pretensions: simple models based on her personal allure. "They will be good quality clothes, timeless and easy to wear," said the dancer.
Buenos Aires Ballerina
Paloma Herrera was born in Buenos Aires and graduated from the Instituto Superior de Arte of Teatro Colón. At age 14 she received the Finalist Diploma at the XIV International Competition in Varna, Bulgaria, one of the most important dance competitions in the world. The following year she continued her studies at the School of American Ballet in New York City. At the tender age of 15, she joined American Ballet Theatre, becoming—at age 19—the youngest person to reach the distinction of principal dancer in the company’s history. Paloma traveled the world with American Ballet. The leading ballet magazine Dance placed her among the ten best dancers of the century.