Sara Garbowski’s final bow

After 7 years with the RNZB, Principal Sara Garbowski takes her final bow.

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Sara has had a momentous impact on Aotearoa audiences over the past seven years.

After more than 15 years I have decided it is time to retire from my career as a professional ballet dancer and begin a new chapter. I feel very fulfilled with what I have accomplished over these years. I have amazing memories that will stay with me for the rest of my life and have been able to see so much of the world from dancing in Canada, France, Belgium, and New Zealand. 


 Being able to spend the last seven years dancing with the Royal New Zealand Ballet and my final three years as Principal dancer is something I am so proud of. It has been an honour to dance ballet at the highest level in this beautiful country. I am very grateful to all the dancers, staff, and directors I have had over these years who have supported me through it all. There are so many incredible people in this organization that have made such a big impact on my years at RNZB. 


Upon retirement, I look forward to taking a break and giving myself some time to reflect and figure out what life may have in store for me next.  


 A huge thank you to my close friends and family. Surrounding myself with such supportive people has been invaluable. I would especially like to thank my parents, who have been by my side every step of the way, no matter where in the world I was dancing. And to Liam, who has embraced all that is involved with being a dancer’s husband. I couldn’t have asked for a better person to come home to after a long day.’  

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Sara's RNZB highlights

During her time at the RNZB, Sara’s performances have encompassed a vast range of repertoire, testament to her artistry, technical skill and dramatic flair. In addition to performing solo and principal roles in classical works, including Aurora and the Lilac Fairy in The Sleeping Beauty, the Sugarplum Fairy and Dew Drop in The Nutcracker, Myrtha in Giselle and the title role in Paquita, she has shone in dramatic roles such as Ada in The Piano: the ballet and Lady Capulet in Romeo & Juliet. Her contemporary highlights include Christopher Wheeldon’s After the Rain pas de deux, William Forsythe’s Artifact II and In the Middle, Somewhat Elevatedand Jiří Kylián’s Petite Mort. 

Sara would like to thank everyone who has supported her at the RNZB, on and off the stage, especially the anonymous donor who has supported and encouraged her for the last three years through the Company’s ‘Partner a Dancer’ programme. 



The photos in this story are from Sara’s final performance as the Mother in Hansel & Gretel, at the Bruce Mason Centre in Takapuna on Saturday 9 December 2023.

Many thanks to Heidi Martin for capturing the occasion.