In honor of The Nutcracker tickets going on sale last week, we thought we’d provide a little pre-holiday spirit by showing some clips from our past Nutcrackershows. The music is being heard all throughout our building as the dancers are preparing for the opening performances on Dec. 1!
Caitlin Mack is in her eleventh year as a company member with Kansas City Ballet. She just finished performing in the fall show, which will be her last performances for this season. Why? Caitlin and her husband are expecting TWINS!
Below, read more about Caitlin, her love for performing, teaching ballet to children and the excitement of expecting two little ones of her own soon!
Q: When did you start dancing? A: I started dancing when I was five. I have three older sisters and they did ballet, so I was excited to be just like my sisters. When I was eight, we switched to Pacific Northwest Ballet School, which is a great school in Seattle. Once that started, I felt that I knew at a really young age that I wanted to be a professional. I absolutely loved it and I loved it because of performing. I’ve personally just always loved performing.
Q: How did you end up at KCB? A: When I was at Pacific Northwest Ballet, I graduated from high school and stayed with their professional division program. It’s like a trainee program. Then, Bill Whitener came out to watch class. At PNB, a bunch of directors will come and watch you take class, because it’s a class of 28 talented ballet dancers. As my husband says, “You were recruited,” because that’s how he relates to it! Bill offered me a corps contract. I was 19 and I was thrilled! I was so excited and felt really good about coming to KCB. I’d heard great things. I knew they had a wonderful repertoire as well as a healthy environment, which was really important to me.
Q: What is one thing people don’t know about you? A: I’m sort of daring. I’ve been water skiing since I was a little kid and I love it. I also slalom ski and do a little bit of wake boarding, but I also cliff jump. We’ve got this place that we go to every summer in eastern Washington. It’s on the Columbia river and there’s this awesome cliff where you can jump off 10 feet or 60 feet. I usually go for 45 feet. I’m not crazy, but semi-crazy! I think that’s why I like doing Twyla Tharp ballets and other ballets where I’m being lifted and thrown, because it’s exciting and thrilling.
Q: This is your 11th season with KCB. What do you enjoy most about being here? A: I have been very, very happy dancing with KCB. I think I’ve been given some great opportunities that I’m not sure I would’ve been able to do in a bigger ballet company. I’d say the repertoire is fabulous; I love it. It’s a good environment too; we’ve got a great artistic staff. Also the dancers; we’re all friends. Everyone is so nice and we spend time with each other outside of the studio. The relationships and the healthy working environment has really made me very happy with KCB. I’ve had no desire to go elsewhere, because when you’re happy somewhere, why would you leave?
Q: What do you keep in your dance bag? A: Kimberly Cowen [recently retired company dancer] and I always thought we should be sponsored by Viva Paper towels, because that’s the paper towel brand we use. The reason I always have it in my ballet bag is because I use a paper towel in my Pointe shoes. Some people use lambs wool pads or gel pads, but I use a paper towel to wrap my feet. Then I stuff my foot into my Pointe shoe. For that reason, I always keep paper towels in my dance bag. Also, right now, because I’m pregnant, I keep some almonds because every two hours I have to have a snack!
Q: Do you have any fun stories from your time teaching here at KCB? A: So, besides dancing, I’ve also been teaching here for 9 years. I teach the little kids, and I’ve always loved children. I just think they’re adorable and so funny. When I told my creative movement class, “Ok guys I have a really special announcement! I’m going to have two babies! There are two babies growing in my tummy!” One of the little girls looked at me and said, “Are they trying to get out??” I was cracking up. It was so precious! I don’t know if that’s why I love teaching, because you never know what they’re going to say, or what they’re going to do, but that was a really cute response!
I think the thing that is making me really excited, besides the fact that I know they can hear music is that it’s sort of a special experience knowing that you’re performing and there are two little babies inside of you. They’re performing with me.
This is Sarah Chun’s first year with Kansas City Ballet. The 19-year-old from Chicago performed in Carmina Burana at the Kauffman Center this past weekend. She sat down with us to talk about her experience performing for the first time with KCB.
Random Fact: Sarah eats a banana before every performance. Why? Sarah says, “Supposedly it’s supposed to calm your nerves; and it’s good for you!”
This past weekend, Kansas City Ballet opened their 2012-2013 season in the Kauffman Center with Toni Pimble’s Carmina Burana. Also on the program were Lynne Taylor-Corbett’s Mercury and Ben Stevenson’s End of Time.
Take a look at some of the photos from this past weekend.
Photography by Steve Wilson.
Also, in case you missed the show, check out our performance video sneak preview!
Don’t forget, you can still buy tickets to this weekend’s final three shows!
Some of the company dancers took the time to tell us why YOU should come see their fall show, Carmina Burana, choreographed by Toni Pimble, which opens THIS FRIDAY! This ballet also shares the evening with Lynne Talor-Corbett’s Mercury and Ben Stevenson’s End of Time.
The dancers are very excited for the performances, and you’ll see in the video below exactly why!
Our fall show, featuring “Carmina Burana,” opens a week from tomorrow! Of course we’d love for all of you to come see this amazing production, so we’ve prepared a little sneak preview for you! We hope to see you at one of the six performances!
For tickets and other information, visit our website.
Q: When did you start dancing? A: I began dancing when I was three years old. My family was in Ohio for the summer, and my mom found a school that had ballet classes. I’m the only girl, both of my brothers played baseball and my mom grew up a softball player…so she was wanting to get me involved in something other than sports. After I saw Romeo & Juliet in Florida when I was 6, I knew I wanted to be a professional dancer.
Q: How did you end up at Kansas City Ballet? A: Growing up I always liked the Kansas City Ballet. As a trial run of auditions during my junior year of college, I decided I wanted to audition there. When I received an apprentice contract I knew I was ready to move out of the college scene and into the professional company scene.
Q: Is it difficult completing your college degree while being an apprentice here at KCB? How do you keep up with both? A: It is a little difficult. While I was at school I was able to take more academic classes during a semester, but here I really only have time to take one class. On breaks from rehearsals I try to get as much schoolwork done as I can so I don’t fall behind in my class.
Q: What are you most excited for this year with KCB? A: I am most excited about getting the opportunity to learn the different repertoire. KCB has a wide variety of ballets, and each ballet has something a little different that I can learn from.
Q: You’ve only lived in KC a few months now, what are some of your favorite places you’ve been so far? A: Trader Joe’s is one of my favorite places. Growing up I had always heard about the food that they have there, but I never had the chance to go. Now I live 15 minutes from one. Also, the Royals ballpark is beautiful. My dad is a pitching coach for the Cleveland Indians Organization, so I grew up around baseball.
Q: What are you hoping to gain from your experiences here at KCB? A: I am hoping to gain versatility in my dancing. With the repertoire at KCB being so vast, I’m excited to get the opportunity to really learn and perform different styles.
Q: What do you keep in your dance bag? A: I always keep a book with me in my dance bag. On breaks I like to read; I’ve been reading all the Nicholas Sparks books over the summer so I’m finishing up some of those right now. My favorite Nicholas Sparks book is “Safe Haven.”