New York City Ballet Dancer Faces Cocaine Possession Charge in Saratoga Springs

A principal dancer with the New York City Ballet faces a drug charge in Saratoga Springs, where the troupe is staging summer performances.

Nilas Martins, the 40-year-old son of the company's master-in-chief, Peter Martins, has been charged with fifth-degree criminal possession of cocaine, police said.

A police officer was walking by Martins' parked BMW in downtown Saratoga Springs shortly after 1:30 a.m. Tuesday and saw Martins trying to hide something that turned out to be a baggie containing one-half gram of cocaine, Lt. John King said.

The dancer pleaded not guilty to the charge, a felony punishable by from one to seven years in prison, King said. Another man in the car was not charged; police did not identify him.

Martins was scheduled to dance the lead in a Wednesday night performance the George Balanchine ballet "Apollo," but did not perform.

A spokesman from the NYCB declined to comment.