Juan Carlos Amy-Cordero, a popular principal dancer with the Eugene Ballet Company, was found dead in his home late Wednesday night, an apparent suicide.
Riley Grannan, Eugene Ballet’s managing director, said Amy-Cordero’s wife couldn’t reach her husband in Eugene Wednesday night when she was traveling in Walla Walla, Wash. She asked a friend here to check on him; the friend found a suicide note on the door and called police, Grannan said. He didn’t know what the note said.
Eugene police confirmed that Amy-Cordero was found dead at his West 15th Avenue home when an officer was called there about 11:30 p.m.
Friends, fans and fellow dancers were shocked at the news of the 28-year-old dancer’s death.
“I had a beer with them on Friday, and there was no indication anything was wrong,” Grannan said. “This is a crushing loss for all of us in the company and our dance community at large.”
Amy-Cordero, known to friends as JC, joined the company in 2002 and was promoted to principal dancer in 2007.
“Strong, precise and smooth, he took charge of the stage from his very entrance,” Register-Guard dance critic Gwen Curran wrote of his 2012 performance in the Eugene company’s “Rite of Spring.” “Stunning pirouettes, effortless leaps and graceful partnering reminded me of (dare I say) a young Baryshnikov. He was Apollo.”
A native of Boston, Amy-Cordero danced with Boston Ballet from 1999 to 2001 and had studied with the Boston Ballet School and the San Francisco Ballet School.
He danced with Eugene Ballet in more than 50 ballets, performing in more than 55 cities on tour.
In 2010 he married EBC principal dancer Jennifer Martin, who has since retired from dancing to become ballet mistress for the company.
His roles included the lead in “Peter Pan,” the Prince in “Swan Lake,” Puck in “Midsummer Night’s Dream,” Romeo in “Romeo and Juliet,” and the opening solo in EBC artistic director Toni Pimble’s “Dark Side of the Moon.” His most recent role with the company was as the Monkey King in last spring’s production of “Mowgli.”
“Juan Carlos was a phenomenal technician,” Pimble said. “He was also the jester on and off stage, playing tricks on the dancers with a pixie-like twinkle in his eyes.”
Amy-Cordero learned photography from his father, Angel Amy Moreno, a writer, photographer and historian in Boston, and took his camera with him on tour. His photography can be seen at amycordero.com .