18/11/2014 09:29 GMT | Updated 20/05/2015 06:12 BST

Love Dance? This Man Has Created Over 80 Ballets

City.Ballet S2:E3 | Peter Martins

"It was not ballet I was drawn to - I was drawn to New York City," says New York City Ballet's Master in Chief Peter Martins.

In episode three of Sarah Jessica Parker's docu-series City Ballet, Danish-born Martins discusses his 30-year journey from principal dancer to the company's lead artistic director.

Since he choreographed his first production - Calcium Light Night - in 1977, Martins has created more than 80 ballets including The Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake and Romeo & Juliet.


It's quite a feat - but his role, like many of the others in the company, isn't without its challenges.

As well as creating a repertoire the audience wants to see, Martins explains the tricky business of balancing artistic quality with selling tickets.

"Sometimes, they don't go hand in hand," he says, before adding that he doesn't miss his own dancing days. (Martins retired from dance in 1973.)

MORE: This is what it takes to produce a ballet

"Dancing is about yourself," he says. "When you choreograph, you look at everybody else. You try to get the best out of that, so it's much more satisfying becuase you're starting from nowhere. You're making stuff from a blank canvas - that's extraordinarily exciting."

But it's not choreography that Martins loves about his job.

"The most rewarding part of my job is that I hire everybody from when they are 17, 18 years old," he explains. "All these kids, they're in trouble like other teenagers. And I see them grow and become young adults.

MORE: Ballet is tougher than you think

"When you see them succeed here and have careers - and get married and have children - that to me is truly gratifying."

See Martins at work with the NYCB dancers in the video above and look out for more from the series as SJP explores life at the company each week.

In other not-so-serious City Ballet news, you need to see this behind-the-scenes clip from the company's dog show....


Dogs! Bonus Clip | City.Ballet. S2