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Ballet dancer's drug trial postponed

Nilas Martins, a principal dancer with the New York City Ballet currently performing at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, has had his felony cocaine possession trial adjourned.

Martins, 40, was charged with felony cocaine possession on Caroline Street, city police said.

Saratoga Springs Police Officer Lloyd Davis came upon Martins' BMW, parked at Pavilion Row and Caroline Street at 1:32 a.m. Tuesday, July 3, and noticed Martins appeared to be concealing something, according to Lt. John King. The ballet dancer was trying to kick a clear, plastic bag with white powder under the car seat, King said.

Martins, of 303 W. 66th St., Manhattan, was charged with fifth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, a felony punishable by one to seven years in prison, King said. He was arraigned in City Court on Tuesday morning and pleaded not guilty, police said.

Martins was released from custody Tuesday after the arraignment and posted $5,000 bail. He was scheduled to appear in City Court at 9 a.m. Friday, July 6, but his attorney, E. Stewart Jones, has requested an adjournment, Saratoga County District Attorney James A. Murphy III said. Jones could not be reached for comment.

The ballet removed Martins, who became a principal 14 years ago, from its program the following day, and he did not perform in Thursday's matinee.

Consistent with company policy, Mr. Martins will not be appearing in upcoming performances in Saratoga, said Joe Guttridge, its manager of press relations, in a prepared statement.

Martins, who is from Copenhagen, Denmark, and joined the prestigious New York City ballet in 1986, became a principal dancer in 1993. He is the son of Peter Martins, the ballet's master in chief.

In July 1992, police arrested Peter Martins in Saratoga Springs after his wife, star ballerina Darci Kistler, accused him of assault.

Peter Martins was arrested after Kistler called police and said he pushed her

and repeatedly slapped her in the face. Kistler dropped the assault charge a week later, saying she didn't want to pursue the matter, and the case was dismissed.

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