Zippora Karz is a former soloist ballerina with the New York City Ballet where she performed for 16 years on stage and in televised performances. She was featured in a variety of roles choreographed by George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins (The Sugar Plum Fairy in the Nutcracker being one of her favorites) as well as works choreographed for her by such choreographers as Peter Martins and Lynne Taylor Corbett.
Miss Karz danced with the New York City Ballet from 1983 through 1999. She now serves as a teacher and repetiteur for the George Balanchine Trust, rehearsing and staging Balanchine’s choreography for a host of national and international dance companies. She is also a diabetes spokesperson and educator who regularly addresses major diabetes conferences and organizations worldwide.
In addition to her memoir, The Sugarless Plum, published in 2009. Zippora wrote a regular column for the Huffington Post. She lives in Los Angeles, California.
Diagnosed with juvenile diabetes in 1987, just as she was being featured in solo roles, she found a way to continue to live her dream despite her illness. Zippora became as passionate about health and healing as she is about dance. Today she not only teaches and coaches dancers; she motivates and inspires people of all ages to fulfill their dreams and potential through her teaching and public speaking. Zippora’s memoir The Sugarless Plum, published by Harlequin, has inspired people all over the world to live happy and healthy lives.
Zippora moved from Los Angeles to NY at the age of 15 to study at New York City Ballet’s famed School of American Ballet, under the guidance of its founder and genius George Balanchine. She became an apprentice to the NYC Ballet in 1983 and a full member in 1984.
She was promoted to Soloist Ballerina in 1993 and performed until 1999. She was featured in a variety of roles choreographed by George Balanchine, including The Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, Serenade, Apollo, Agon, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Other featured roles include those choreographed by Jerome Robbins, as well as works choreographed specifically for her by such choreographers as Peter Martins and Lynne Taylor Corbett.
Zippora was featured in the documentary “Reflections of a Dancer,” Alexandra Danilova, Prima Ballerina Assoluta. She can be seen in “Dance in America,” broadcast on PBS in Balanchine’s “Western Symphony,” and was also featured in Balanchine’s “Agon” for “The Balanchine Celebration,” also on PBS.
Upon retiring from The New York City Ballet in 1999, after 16 years of performing, Zippora was asked to represent the George Balanchine Trust as repetiteur of his ballets. This took her across the globe staging the great ballets she was blessed to dance and coaching professional dancers. Some of the ballets she has staged include Serenade, Concerto Barocco, Sonatine, Valse Fantasie, Agon, Symphony in C and Who Cares?
Zippora teaches master classes for numerous ballet academies and companies including the Spotlight Awards in Los Angeles from 2003 to the present.
In 2000 Zippora helped create an interactive, school age educational program with NYC Ballet’s education department about the history of music and dance. Representing the NYC Ballet, Zippora taught the program for school systems throughout Edinburgh, Glasgow and the surrounding areas of Scotland.
As dance lecturer Zippora spoke at the Music Center before performances for the New York City Ballet and The Joffrey Ballet as guest speaker to the Music Center’s Dance Arts board on being a “Balanchine Dancer.”
Zippora has devoted herself to motivating and inspiring people to become healthy and active, sharing her personal story of overcoming obstacles and inspiring people to move through her series of gentle dance like movements, which she shares at diabetes conferences around the world.
Diabetes organizations she is affiliated with as a motivator, teacher and speaker include Children with Diabetes, The American Diabetes Association, The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, and Taking Control of Your Diabetes. She has worked with Dr. Fran Kaufman, head of pediatric endocrinology children’s hospital LA, at her diabetes retreats as well as sharing her program with the Hollygrove Orphanage facility in Los Angeles.
She has been featured in the “No Limits” calender sponsored by Lifescan, 2002, as well as articles by Diabetes Forecast Magazine, Countdown for kids, Diabetes Interview Magazine, “The Diabetic Athlete,” by Sheri Colberg, “Winning with Diabetes,” by the American Diabetes Association, and a Los Angeles Times advertisement for the Westside Center for Diabetes, In April of 2007 Vogue magazine singled Zippora out for an article on diabetes, “Sweet Lowdown.” She presently sits on an advisory board for the American Diabetes Association’s Advocacy Leadership Council.
Besides her memoir, Zippora’s self-authored work includes a chapter opening for “Conquering Diabetes,” by Dr. Anne Peters, and “Dancing with Diabetes,” 1988 in Dance magazine. Zippora is a contributing health writer for www.tastybaby.com, a web site devoted to lifestyle and healthy eating specifically at the beginning of life.
In March 2007, Zippora was invited to speak on a panel at the “Changing Diabetes Global leadership Forum” alongside Mike Huckabee, with Bill Clinton as keynote speaker. A short video of her story and movement was featured on the “Changing Diabetes” bus presently touring the globe, a campaign sponsored by Novo Nordisk, including a stop at the United Nations for world diabetes day November 14th, 2007, honoring the United Nations Resolution.
In November 2007, working with affiliates for Novo Nordisk, Zippora traveled to Israel, where she spoke at numerous diabetes clinics. Her motivational events included doctors, nurses, educators, and dieticians. Today, with Novo Nordisk she continues to travel throughout the nation motivating and inspiring individuals of all ages as well as those who care for them.
In 2013, Zippora expanded her reach as an author. Her memoir was sold worldwide and became available in Slovenian. She, also, wrote a children’s book entitled Ballerina Dreams. The story teaches children, with and without Diabetes, that they should not give up on their dreams no matter the challenges they face.
She hopes to continue to inspire people to live healthy active lives through her work as an author and a motivational speaker.