2018-19 Trainee Profile: Sidney Haefs

2018-2019 KC Ballet Trainee and Second Company Member Sidney Haefs. Photography by Savanna Daniels.

Trainee and member of Kansas City Ballet’s Second CompanySidney Haefs grew up in Santa Clarita, Calif. Sidney is a graduate of the University of Utah School of Dance where, in three years, she earned a B.F.A. in Ballet as well as a minor in Human Development and Family Studies. She performs as a snowflake, a flower and more during The Nutcracker performances through Dec. 23, 2018.

Q: TELL US WHY YOU BECAME A DANCEr.

A: I started dancing when I was 3 ½ years old and then moved on to ice-skating! After a few years of skating, my mother, who had studied ballet through her young adult years, thought it best to transition me towards that path. At first I didn’t really enjoy it. I continued with it because I felt like there was something keeping me connected to the art form. After a while I started to enjoy the structure and self-discipline required to strengthen ones technique. After getting to perform in many productions with my home studio, I fell in love with how, as dancers, we are able to tell a story through movement. Then, when I attended Boston Ballet’s Summer Dance Program, I knew I wanted to pursue dance as a professional career!

Q: WHAT QUESTION DO YOU GET ASKED MOST ABOUT BEING A DANCER? 

A: I think the most common questions I get asked are: “Are your feet really ugly?” and “Doesn’t it hurt to dance on your toes?” Everyone always wants to see how my feet are holding up! I usually end up explaining how my toes have become so accustomed to the discomfort that after so long, pointe shoes just feel normal. It just takes time to find what works for you when it comes to the correct padding!

Q: WHAT IS YOUR GUILTY PLEASURE?

A: Vanilla milkshakes seem to be my go to! These are definitely not that great for you, but they always seem to make me feel better.

Q: HOW DO YOU STAY FIT AND HEALTHY OUTSIDE OF THE STUDIO?

A: Some of the ways that I cross train outside of the studio would be Pilates, cycling, and weight training! I try to stick with these modes of exercise because I really enjoy them which, in turn, keeps me motivated to actually do them after dancing so many hours a day!

Q: WHAT WAS THE BEST LIFE ADVICE YOU EVER RECEIVED?

A: One of my professors at the University of Utah told me to never let a bad performance get you down. I had fallen during a show and it was really devastating. You put in so much work to prepare for performances and the hardest part about live theatre is that anything can happen. She explained to me that I couldn’t let that moment onstage affect my work in the classes or rehearsals that followed. I just needed to pick my self up and keep moving forward. This was great advice because it really showed me that there is something to learn from both success and failure and without those experiences we cannot continue to grow as dancers and artists.

 

Top Photo by Savanna Daniels.

2018-19 Trainee Dancer Profile: Jeremy Hanson

Meet Kansas City Ballet Trainee and Second Company Dancer, Jeremy Hanson. Jeremy attended Kansas City Ballet School and graduated last spring. He was offered a position as a Trainee for the 2018-19 Season. Trainees and KCB II Dancers make up Kansas City Ballet’s Second Company.

Jeremy is the puppeteer for Toto in Kansas City Ballet’s performances of The Wizard of Oz at the Kauffman Center now through Sunday, Oct. 21st.

Q: TELL US WHY YOU BeCAME A DANCEr.

A: My mom is the owner of my dance studio back home, so naturally, she made me take a variety of dance classes from a very young age. At first I hated the idea of dancing to the point where she had to bribe me with snacks if I was able to complete a full dance class, but eventually, my passion and love for the art form grew into what it is today.

Company Dancer Amanda DeVenuta and Second Company Dancer Jeremy Hanson in The Wizard of Oz. Photography by Brett Pruitt & East Market Studios.
Company Dancer Amanda DeVenuta and Second Company Dancer Jeremy Hanson in The Wizard of Oz. Photography by Brett Pruitt & East Market Studios.

Q: WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO WHEN YOU’RE NOT DANCING?

A: I love taking photos and videos and especially love editing them and making them into something that shows off my creativity. It’s another way I love to express myself and try to do it as often as I can when I’m not dancing.

Q: WHAT IS SOMETHING MOST PEOPLE WOULDN’T KNOW ABOUT YOU?

A: The umbilical cord was wrapped around my neck twice when I was born. My mom had to go off sugar completely because the doctors were very worried I wouldn’t be able to slip through when I was finally born. I’m very fortunate to be alive today, much less being as fortunate as I am to be doing what I love every day.

Q: WHAT IS YOUR GUILTY PLEASURE?

A: Hip-Hop. I started out my passion for dancing in a completely different genre than Ballet. When I can I try to go take Hip-Hop classes or try to teach classes because I do miss it. I found my love for Ballet specifically only a couple of years ago. Although my love for it continues to grow more and more each day, I do still miss my roots and my first love when it comes to dancing.

Q: WHAT IS THE BEST LIFE ADVICE YOU’VE RECEIVED AND WHY?

A: “Everything happens for a reason.” This is something I live by. It really helps me get through the tough times and makes me see the positive in almost every situation.

 

Top Photo by Savanna Daniels

Trainee Profile: Emelia Perkins

KCB Trainee Emelia Perkins. Photography by Savanna Daniels.
KCB Trainee Emelia Perkins. Photography by Savanna Daniels.

Originally from Baton Rouge, La., Emelia Perkins joined Kansas City Ballet as a Trainee for the 2017-2018 season. 

Q: how did you become a dancer?

A: My mother was a dancer and she still teaches. So, as a young child, I was hanging around the studios and she put me into dance classes at age 4 to keep me busy.

Q: DO YOU HAVE ANY HOBBIES OR SPECIAL INTERESTS?

A: I like to do a lot of tactile or physical activities, meaning I enjoy building things and crafting. I used to play a lot of sports. I still enjoy sports, but it’s rare for me to have the energy for them anymore.

Q: WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT BEING A DANCER?

A: This is a hard question, you know, because I would want to say all aspects of being a dancer. I enjoy the athleticism, the artistry, the elegance, the confidence, I enjoy the routine, the long days of rehearsals, the ongoing battle for refinement and nuance; and I enjoy the sore muscles, the blistered feet, and going home exhausted at the end of the day. But, if you want the short answer, I guess I’d have to say performing is the most enjoyable and rewarding part of being a dancer.

Q: DO YOU HAVE A PERSONAL MANTRA OR AFFIRMATION THAT YOU SWEAR BY?

A: If you keep doing what you’re doing, you’ll keep getting what you’ve got.

Trainee Profile: Madeline Wittmann

KCB Trainee Madeline Wittmann. Photography by Savanna Daniels.
KCB Trainee Madeline Wittmann. Photography by Savanna Daniels.

Originally from Little Silver, N.J., Madeline Wittmann joined Kansas City Ballet as a Trainee for the 2017-2018 season. 

Q: how did you become a dancer?

A: I started when I was 6 years old. My best friend from childhood was going, so I wanted to go, too. Ever since my first class, I have been in love with dancing.

Q: DO YOU HAVE ANY HOBBIES OR SPECIAL INTERESTS?

A: I live on the beach in New Jersey. During the summer I enjoy surfing and stand-up paddling. I love any opportunity to be outdoors, immersed in nature. I always feel refreshed and recharged. It’s very calming and fun.

Q: WHAT MAKES UP YOUR FITNESS ROUTINE?

A: I try to take really good care of my body because it is my instrument. I listen to it. Everything in moderation and making sure I take time for myself everyday. I love to do gyrotonics, Pilates, yoga and go to the gym to keep strong.

Q: DO YOU HAVE A PERSONAL MANTRA OR AFFIRMATION THAT YOU SWEAR BY?

A: Yes. One of my mentors from UNCSA, Helen Pickett, told me to stay in the present moment. The future and past have far less power. The only real life is the present. I am the most present when I am onstage.

Trainee Profile: Tyler Ferraro

KCB Trainee Tyler Ferraro. Photography by Savanna Daniels.
KCB Trainee Tyler Ferraro. Photography by Savanna Daniels.

Originally from Huntington Beach, Calif., Tyler Ferraro joined Kansas City Ballet as a Trainee for the 2017-2018 season. 

Q: how did you become a dancer?

A: I became interested in dance after taking a musical theater class. So, I started taking dance classes when I was 10 and soon focused on classical ballet.

Q: what do you enjoy most about being a dancer?

A: I have always enjoyed the combination of structure and creativity in dance. There are rules in technique that appeal to my methodical side but it is also important to express myself and make movements my own.

Q: WHAT IS SOMETHING MOST PEOPLE WOULDN’T KNOW ABOUT YOU?

A: When I was younger, I spent a lot of time snowboarding and surfing.

Q: DO YOU HAVE A PERSONAL MANTRA OR AFFIRMATION THAT YOU SWEAR BY?

A: You are enough.

Trainee Profile: Madison Mackenzy Braaksma

KCB Trainee Madison Braaksma. Photography by Savanna Daniels.
KCB Trainee Madison Braaksma. Photography by Savanna Daniels.

Originally from Atlanta, Madison Mackenzy Braaksma joined Kansas City Ballet as a Trainee for the 2017-2018 season. This is her first season as a Trainee.

Q: how did you become a dancer? WHEN DID YOU START DANCING?

A: Well, when I was little my mom put me into creative movement class. When I was 7, I got involved with Irish dance. I began competing and got very serious. At 13, I started to take private ballet lessons to help strengthen my Irish dancing and fell in love with ballet.

Q: what do you enjoy most about being a dancer?

A: Performance! Definitely being on the stage and performing in front of people is what I enjoy most.

Q: AS A PROFESSIONAL ATHLETE WHAT MAKES UP YOUR DIET AND FITNESS ROUTINE?

A: I cross train in the mornings before going to rehearsal. As far as diet, I eat low carb, low dairy, lots of fruits, and lots of veggies. But I do have a sweet tooth.

Trainee Profile: Emma Fridenmaker

KCB Trainee Emma Fridenmaker. Photography by Savanna Daniels.
KCB Trainee Emma Fridenmaker. Photography by Savanna Daniels.

Originally from Villa Hills, Ky. just outside of Cincinnati, Emma Fridenmaker joined Kansas City Ballet as a Trainee for the 2017-2018 season. This is her first season as a Trainee.

Q: how did you become a dancer? WHEN DID YOU START DANCING?

A: It has always been my dream to dance professionally for as long as I can remember. I wanted to dance because my older sister danced and I wanted to be just like her. So, when I started preschool, I took the ballet class they offered there. Then the following year, I started my training at Cincinnati Ballet.

Q: what do you enjoy most about being a dancer?

A: I enjoy performing. I love being on stage and being able to really embody a character. I also enjoy the bond that is created between all the dancers.

Q: do you have hobbies or special interests?

A: I really enjoy making jewelry—back home, my best friend and I would make and sell jewelry to the kids in the Nutcracker cast. I also love baking. My specialty is chocolate chip cookies.

Q: WHAT ARE MOST PEOPLE SURPRISED TO LEARN ABOUT YOUR JOB AS A DANCER?

A: It is life consuming. Everything revolves around your future and your career.

Q: DO YOU HAVE A PERSONAL MANTRA?

A: Be an encourager. The world already has enough critics.

Trainee Profile: Allison Rainford

KCB Trainee Allison Rainford. Photography by Savanna Daniels.
KCB Trainee Allison Rainford. Photography by Savanna Daniels.

Originally from Springfield, Ill., Allison Rainford joined Kansas City Ballet as a Trainee for the 2016-2017 season. This is her second season as a Trainee.

Q: how did you become a dancer? WHEN DID YOU START DANCING?

A: When I was 8, a friend let me try her pointe shoes on. After that I just had to dance, so my mom enrolled me in classes.

Q: what do you enjoy most about being a dancer?

A: Performing! There is a feeling you get on stage that you can’t find anywhere else.

Q: do you have hobbies or special interests?

A: I really enjoy cooking and baking. I just find them really relaxing, plus you have delicious treats when you’re done!

Q: What is something most people wouldn’t know about you?

A: I grew up on a farm.

Q: What do you enjoy most about kc and why?

A: I love the city! it’s a lot bigger than the town where I grew up, and I really like exploring it.

Trainee Profile: Samantha Huebner

KCB Trainee Samantha Huebner. Photography by Savanna Daniels.
KCB Trainee Samantha Huebner. Photography by Savanna Daniels.

Samantha Huebner is in her second year as a student trainee with Kansas City Ballet.

Q: HOW DID YOU BECOME A DANCER? AND WHEN DID YOU START DANCING?

A: My parents put me in dance classes when I was 3 years old. They said when I came off stage after my first recital that I said, “I want to do this forever!”

Q: what do you enjoy most about being a dancer?

A: Absolutely everything! I love the endless strive for perfection, and the satisfying feeling when I accomplish something—whether that be a performance, or gaining an inch of flexibility.

Q: What is something most people wouldn’t know about you?

A: I’m a total nerd. I love math and science. My favorite movies, TV shows and books are Sci-Fi themed and futuristic. I love Star Trek and Star Wars, Tron, etc. Also, SpongeBob is the best show ever.

Q: If you have an unexpected hour free, what would be your ideal way to spend it and why?

A: If I have an hour free while I’m at work, I’ll spend it stretching and snacking. If I’m at home with an hour free, I’ll plop down on the couch and watch my current favorite Netflix show.

Trainee Profile: Georgia Fuller

KCB Trainee Georgia Fuller. Photography by Savanna Daniels.

Georgia Fuller began her first season with Kansas City Ballet’s Trainee Program this fall. Learn more about the Cincinnati native below.

Q: HOW DID YOU BECOME A DANCER? AND WHEN DID YOU START DANCING?

A: I started dancing when I was only 2 years old. My mom put me in classes at a small studio because I had so much energy and was constantly dancing around! I later began more intense training when I turned 7.

Q: What do you enjoy most about being a dancer?

A: What I enjoy most about dancing is the feeling you get while your body is moving in time with music. The expression of my emotions onstage takes me to my happy place—you get to be truly yourself. It is only you and the music.

Q: Do you have hobbies or special interests? If so, what are they and what do you enjoy about them?

A: I love reading, writing, and baking! I’m a huge bookworm, and I love writing poetry. I also enjoy baking healthy recipes for my friends and family.

Q: Do you have a personal mantra or affirmation you swear by? If so, what is it?

A: I always tell myself that to live life well, one must always be humble and kind. Before I go onstage, I always repeat the bible verse, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” It’s my favorite.

 

Photography by Savanna Daniels