Christine Winkler got a big surprise on May 16 after she completed the final performance of her 19 years with the company. Fellow dancers, ballet mistresses, stage hands, and others who have worked with the popular ballerina over the years, lined up on stage to give her long-stem roses and other flowers. Her husband, fellow dancer John Welker, with whom she danced a special pas de deux encore of Diane Coburn Bruning’s “Berceuse,” helped her hold the flowers until it became too big an armload. The Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre crowd never stopped applauding. CONTRIBUTED BY CHARLIE MCCULLERS
Artistic director John McFall, who brought her and her then-boyfriend John Welker to Atlanta 19 seasons ago, was the final in a long line to give Christine Winkler flowers. CONTRIBUTED BY CHARLIE MCCULLERS
More on our subscriber site: Read our Personal Journeys profile of Winkler, detailing her challenge of returning to the stage after having a baby and the unexpected incident that led to her decision to retire: myajc.com.