photo by Tony Seideman
Veyette and Fairchild on the porch with their basset hounds, Norman and Trudy.
The July 24 wedding of 27-year-old Megan Fairchild and 29-year-old Andrew Veyette at Crabtree’s Kittle House would have been national news in a country less obsessed with Hollywood celebrities and British royals.
Don’t recognize the names? Fairchild and Veyette are principals at the New York City Ballet. (“Principals,” for non-cognoscenti, means they’re among the top 50 or so ballet dancers in the world.) “Being principals of the New York City Ballet means their dancing meets the highest standards of the international dance world,” says Wallie Wolfgruber, director of Dance at Purchase College. Fairchild’s race up through the NYCB ranks was among the most rapid in the company’s history; she went from apprentice to principal in four years. (Fairchild’s rise was so fast that she went to an upstate spa to decompress. “Everybody else there was divorced and dealing with real-life problems and I’m like, ‘I got promoted,’” she says.) Veyette moved through the ranks at a more traditional pace; in 2007, after seven years, he was made a principal as well.
If they were on an equivalent level as movie stars or professional athletes, they would have purchased a multi-million dollar mansion in Bedford. Instead, they opted for a simple, fully restored, 150-year-old, two-bedroom home in Dobbs Ferry. “We saw a lot of condos in the City in the six-hundred-thousand range, plus common charges,” Fairchild says. “Then we found this place and were able to get it for four hundred seventy-five-thousand dollars.” Another reason that Fairchild and Veyette chose Dobbs Ferry: they can leave at 9 am and be at Lincoln Center by 9:45.
If they sound more like hardworking young professionals than the crazed, obsessed, hallucinating, sometimes suicidal dancers portrayed in films like Black Swan and The Red Shoes, that’s because they are. “Dancers are pretty reliable,” Fairchild says. “We have to learn ballets so quickly.”
The couple met in 2002, after Fairchild was named an apprentice at the NYCB. For her, leaving a small hometown in Utah was a huge change. “Every friend I had at school in Utah was Mormon,” she says. “Ballet was the only place where I knew non-Mormons. My family’s not Mormon, so I was trying really hard to fit in. It wasn’t until I got to New York and was at the School of American Ballet that I finally felt, ‘This is where I belong.’”
Veyette quickly noticed her—and made his romantic intentions apparent. But since he had a reputation with the company of being somewhat of a bad boy, Fairchild wasn’t interested. Persistence, however, paid off. “I started looking at Andy differently the day he mentioned he talked to his mom in California on the phone for an hour,” she recalls. “I realized he was not such a tough guy.” The pair started dating and eventually moved in together in an apartment in Brooklyn, where they lived for eight years before moving to Dobbs Ferry.
photo by Paul Kolnik
Dancing together in Danses Concertantes.
Ironically, because of their significant height difference—she’s 5’3”, he’s 6’—they rarely dance together at NYCB. But they commute together and, off-season, perform together all over the world. “It’s hard to work with the same person you’re dating, sometimes,” Veyette says. “There’s an aspect of, ‘We see each other enough; we don’t need to see each other even more.’ Plus, she has a really wonderful partnership with Joaquin De Luz that I’m happy for her to have. I don’t want to take that away from either one of them.”
Of course, dancing comes with a built-in expiration date. “I don’t want to dance into my forties,” Fairchild says. And, while some dancers go on to become ballet teachers or run dance companies, Fairchild has a unique fallback—she’s studying advanced mathematics at Fordham University. “It’s like being able to do fun puzzles for an entire semester,” she says. “I’ve decided if I’m going to major in math while I do ballet, though, I have to take one class at a time. I got a B-plus in my last one and I was so upset.”
Veyette quips, “You would have thought she’d failed the course.”
Veyette also has talents that reach beyond the world of ballet: he has a voice that’s almost as strong as his dancing. He auditioned for and won the role of Riff, leader of the Jets, in the NYCB production of West Side Story. There is a chance that musical theater could be in his future. “I had never really sung before I auditioned for Riff, so I didn’t know I could,” he says. “But, yes, since doing it, I’d like to think that was something I could do when I was done dancing.”
Right now, however, ballet is all-consuming. After a 12-hour day in the studio, going home to tree-lined streets is “like taking a vacation every evening.” For fun, they do a lot of bicycling together. “When we had our bikes in Brooklyn, we used to love to ride in Prospect Park, which is a really special, beautiful park,” Fairchild says. “When we were moving, we went for one last ride and said, ‘This is kind of sad.’ Then we came up here and we rode on the Saw Mill path, and we said, ‘Oh yeah, this is so much better.’”
Though their house is simple, it’s where they hope to spend the next 20 years or so. That’s one reason they decided to get married in Chappaqua. Says Fairchild, “We wanted to show our friends and family where we live. This is where we intend to spend our lives.”
Tony Seideman is a Peekskill-based writer.