The dancer who has played Elton John in Love Lies Bleeding for the last six years is taking off his outrageous glasses and hanging up his sparkly leotards.

Yukichi Hattori is retiring from the role — and as a principal dancer with Alberta Ballet — to open his own ballet studio in Calgary.

He's collaborating with several other dancers in the company, including his wife Gailen Johnson.

"We'll teach ballet, ballet fitness, adult ballet class, movement, coaching — things like that," Hattori told the Calgary Eyeopener on Thursday.

Though he's been with the company for a decade, Hattori isn't feeling nostalgic.

"Actually, I am way too excited about the new beginnings, I don't have time to think about that," he said.

"I will definitely miss all my colleagues… But in a way, I will be closer to the community now that I will actually be integrated."

Yukichi Hattori

Yukichi Hattori has played Elton John in Loves Lies Bleeding since Alberta Ballet launched the ballet in 2010. (CBC)

He still wants to perform and choreograph

While Hattori will dance the lead role in Love Lies Bleeding for the last time this week and next, the 35-year-old isn't exactly hanging up his ballet slippers.

"Performing? You know, I'm waiting for offers, if anyone is interested," Hattori said with a chuckle.

He said he's "in conversation" with several arts organizations throughout Alberta and hoping to choreograph a lot more in styles beyond ballet.

"Dance has nothing to do with style or what you're capable of. Because dance is movement chained together. And that can be walking, heartbeat, tap of the finger — it's all dance."

The Elton John ballet runs from May 5 to 7 at the Southern Jubilee Auditorium in Calgary and May 13 and 14 at the Northern Jubilee Auditorium in Edmonton.


With files from the Calgary Eyeopener