James is a former New York City Ballet Principal Dancer and current Associate Dean at the Colburn School’s Trudl Zipper Dance Institute.
James Fayette retired from New York City Ballet in 2005 at the rank of Principal dancer. Throughout James’ dancing career he was privileged to work with the greatest dancers and choreographers of that time, originating roles in Jerome Robbins’ 2 and 3 Part Invention and Brandenburg Concertos as well as in works by other choreographers including Christopher Wheeldon, Susan Stroman, Lynn Taylor-Corbett and numerous works by Peter Martins. He also established himself as an excellent partner in a number of signature roles in the New York City Ballet repertoire including Balanchine’s Serenade, Concerto Barocco, Brahms Schoenberg Quartet and Jerome Robbins’ In The Night and West Side Story Suite.
James started ballet at age 5 in his hometown of Ridgefield Connecticut. He trained in a variety of ballet styles beginning with classes that were derived from the Russian Vaganova School after which he studied Balanchine technique at the School of American Ballet as a full scholarship student. Furthermore, he was awarded a Danish/American exchange scholarship in 1989 to train in Bourneville technique at the Apprentice program within the Royal Danish Ballet. From 1986 to 1991 Mr. Fayette also participated in and helped to develop lecture demonstrations for the School of American Ballet. These taught about the history and art of ballet and were performed at schools throughout the New York City area.
His vast training and knowledge of ballet served him well as a guest teacher of pas de duex at the School of American Ballet and guest teacher at Ballet Academy East and the New York State Summer School of the Arts along with the number of master classes he would offer at schools across the country when visiting as a performing artist.
During his professional career James founded and managed an independent touring group of dancers from varied dance disciplines, which toured both domestically and throughout Italy from 1995 through 2002. In addition to setting choreography and coaching the dancers, he organized all aspects of the company including programming, casting, staging, rehearsing and most areas of management including production and domestic touring.
Throughout James’ career at New York City Ballet he was a union delegate and participated in all dancer employment contract negotiations. Following retirement from full time performing in 2005, he was recruited by the dancers’ union to become the New York Area Dance Executive for the American Guild of Musical Artists, representing professional dancer employment nationwide. He has worked closely with the managements and dancers of most major American dance companies including New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Houston Ballet, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Ballet West, Kansas City Ballet, Martha Graham Dance Company and Merce Cunningham Dance Company. He has a deep understanding of how the employment of dancers is managed and is keenly sensitive to the needs and career concerns of professional artists. His approach to resolving problems between companies and their artists has earned him a high level of respect throughout the professional dance world with both the Artists and their managements.
James performed principal roles in the PBS Broadcasts of Live From Lincoln Center’s, New York City Ballet’s Diamond Project in 2002 and Lincoln Center Celebrates Balanchine 100 in 2004.
James also holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from St. Mary’s College of California.