Dance: A New Sunbeam, Traveling Fast

At 16, Darci Kistler is on point

There are no subtleties in Darci Kistler's success story: she is a little girl's fantasy come to life. At 16 she has been given major roles by George Balanchine, the greatest living choreographer. New York City Ballet audiences, normally a reserved and sophisticated lot, cheer her on to three or four bows. Alexandra Danilova, a former prima ballerina, says that Darci has "a perfume in her dancing that makes you think, 'How beautiful.' "

She is a typical Balanchine dancer: lithe, leggy, fair-haired. She moves with the...