2018-19 KCB II Dancer Profile: Divya Rea

Divya Rea is in her second season as a member of KCB II, part of Kansas City Ballet’s Second Company.  Originally from Wheaton, Ill., Divya has enjoyed getting to know KC. When she’s not in the ballet studio, you might find her at the River Market shopping for produce or perusing art during First Fridays.

Q: TELL US WHY YOU BECAME A DANCEr.

A: When I was three years old, my mom enrolled me in a beginner’s ballet class. I loved (and still love) the freedom of dancing. I am able to express emotions I otherwise couldn’t describe, and in the studio, I can escape my worries and focus solely on my craft.

Q: WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO WHEN YOU ARE NOT DANCING? 

A: When I have free time, I enjoy playing the piano, writing, or watching TV—essentially anything relaxing after a day of rehearsals! On the weekends, I enjoy walking around Kansas City. I’ve happened upon multiple festivals and fairs by simply taking a walk.

From 2017-18 as KCB II members, dancers Divya Rea and Angelin Carrant. Photography by Brett Pruitt & East Market Studios.
From 2017-18 as KCB II members, dancers Divya Rea and Angelin Carrant. Photography by Brett Pruitt & East Market Studios.

Q: WHAT QUESTION DO YOU GET ASKED MOST ABOUT YOUR JOB AS A DANCER?

A: I often get asked how I stand on my toes, and I always say practice. Every day I work on perfecting my technique and gaining strength. Ballet is not easy, but through repetition and rehearsal it becomes easier.

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

A: Cross-training is important to me. Outside the studio, I alternate my workouts. Some days I elliptical or power walk, other days I lift weights. I incorporate Pilates to lengthen my muscles. I also cook often. I love trying new, healthy recipes.

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

A: One of my first ballet teachers would always remind me that everything is “90% mental.” While that exact percentage may vary, this phrase has shaped my attitude in life. Before I approach a challenge, I must believe it is possible.

 

Top Photo by Brett Pruitt & East Market Studios

2018-19 KCB II Dancer Profile: Samantha Huebner

Meet Kansas City Ballet KCB II Dancer, Samantha Huebner. She’s danced as a Trainee with Kansas City Ballet for two years. This year she’s moved up to KCB II.

Q: TELL US WHY YOU BeCAME A DANCEr.

A: I became a dancer at the age of 3 because my mom needed another way for me to get rid of some extra energy! But I think as I became older, I chose to continue to pursue becoming a dancer because I fell in love with the work it requires. I love the feeling when I work really hard on something and it finally pays off. And, of course, I love the feeling and fun that comes with being on stage!

Q: WHAT QUESTION DO YOU GET ASKED THE MOST AS A DANCER?

A: The question, or statement, I get most often is: “Oh, so you probably have to watch what you eat, huh?” I always laugh and say that just like any other athlete in the world, we need food to fuel our bodies so that we can work. If I didn’t eat, I couldn’t dance, let alone perform! I eat when I am hungry. If I have cravings then I guess that’s what I’m having for dinner!

New Moves 2017. Samantha Huebner is front and center. Photography by Brett Pruitt and East Market Studios.
New Moves 2017. Samantha Huebner is front and center. Photography by Brett Pruitt and East Market Studios.

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

A: I aspire to be a personal trainer when my ballet career comes to an end (hopefully far far in the future). I worked with a personal trainer this past summer and I fell in love with it all! She was so inspiring to me and I want to learn all I can from her and try to inspire others in the way she has inspired me.

Q: WHAT WAS THE BEST DANCING OR LIFE ADVICE YOU EVER RECEIVED AND WHY?

A: Your moods are contagious. Whenever you walk through the door of the studio, you have the chance to determine how you want people to respond to you. The energy you give off, is the energy that will come back to you. Moods are contagious. Bring positive energy into a room.

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

A: Eat and sleep!! Those are so important in my eyes. If I don’t eat enough, I get really sleepy. If I don’t sleep enough, I get really irritable and cranky. I find that if I’m lacking in either one of these two things, my body starts shutting down in a way, physically and mentally as well. Of course I like to go to the gym and workout a bit but I have to eat and sleep or else I’d be a mess.

PAST PROFILE POSTS

Trainee Profile: Samantha Huebner

Top Photo by Brett Pruitt & East Market Studios

KCB II Profile: Angelin Carrant

Angelin Carrant joined the Kansas City Ballet this season as a member of KCB II, part of Kansas City Ballet’s second company. He is originally from Paris, France.

Q: how did you become a dancer?

A: My mother brought me to my first ballet class at the age of 9. She wanted all of her children to take at least one ballet class.

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

A: I wouldn’t say people are too surprised when I tell them I’m a dancer. They think it’s cool.

Q: DO YOU HAVE ANY HOBBIES?

A: I love playing the piano. I really enjoy finding pieces and being able to teach them to myself.

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

A: I enjoy being able to do something that I love every day and it being my profession. Dancing on a stage is a plus as well.

KCB II Profile: Austin Meiteen

Originally from Austin, Tex., Austin Meiteen joined the Kansas City Ballet family this season first a Trainee and then was promoted to KCB II.

Q: how did you become a dancer?

A: I started dancing when I was 5 because my sister started and it was just easier to put me in classes also. I didn’t get too serious about it until I was 13.

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

A: They’re surprised by how many hours we work and also how flexible I am as a guy.

Q: WHAT HAS SURPRISED YOU MOST ABOUT KC?

A: It reminds me a lot of my hometown, Austin. There’ s a certain vibe to it that’s very unique and home-y.

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

A: I graduated with a 4.0 GPA and an SAT score in the 95 percentile.

KCB II Profile: Divya Rea

Divya Rea joined Kansas City Ballet’s KCB II this season. She is originally from Wheaton, Ill.

Q: WHEN DID YOU START DANCING?

A: I was three when my mom enrolled me in a ballet class. I loved dancing and continued to train and pursue my dream to one day dance professionally.

Q: what ARE PEOPLE MOST SURPRISED TO LEARN ABOUT YOUR JOB AS a dancer?

A: People are usually surprised to learn how much time and effort goes into being a dancer. The days are long and the work never truly ends. There is always something to perfect, even after training for ten years. However, everything is worth it when I step on stage.

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

A: Cross training is important for me. In addition to dance, I do Pilates and run on an elliptical machine. I’m also always on the lookout for new workouts to try. This summer I enjoyed the workouts at Orange Theory Fitness. As far as nutrition goes, I make sure I fuel my body with plenty of fruits, vegetables, and lean protein. My favorite dish to make is riced cauliflower with salmon and zucchini.

Q: DO YOU HAVE HOBBIES OR SPECIAL INTERESTS?

A: Outside of ballet, I enjoy playing the piano, learning about philosophy, and reading about new scientific discoveries. Piano has always given me a way to lose myself in music. Philosophy fascinates me because I enjoy pondering unanswerable questions, while reading about scientific breakthroughs offers evidence that some mysteries may someday be solved.

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

A: One of my first ballet teachers would always tell me to “be a shepherd, not a sheep.” This has been my personal mantra since the age of 8. It reminds me to do what I believe is right, even if that means breaking from what is popular.

KCB II Profile: Miranda Dafoe

Miranda Dafoe came to Kansas City Ballet in 2015 as a Trainee. Now she is dancing in her second season with Kansas City Ballet’s KCB II.

Q: WHEN DID YOU START DANCING?

A: I started taking classes when I was 3 years old. I haven’t stopped since!

Q: what ARE PEOPLE MOST SURPRISED TO LEARN ABOUT YOUR JOB AS a dancer?

A: They are surprised by how many shoes we go through! I’m lucky to make two pairs last a week and they cost about $80-100 a pair!

New Moves 2017. Miranda Dafoe is pictured in the front center. Photography by Brett Pruitt & East Market Studios.
New Moves 2017. Miranda Dafoe is pictured in the front center. Photography by Brett Pruitt & East Market Studios.

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

A: I eat a lot of veggies and protein. My snack during rehearsal is always an RXBAR. And of course, I like to treat myself to dessert every once in a while! As far as fitness goes, I focus on cardio and core work at the gym.

Q: WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT KC?

A: I love that coming from San Francisco, KC has that “big city feel” as a small city.

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

A: I’m half Russian!

KCB II Profile: Gavin Abercrombie

Gavin Abercrombie is dancing his second year with Kansas City Ballet’s KCB II this year.

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

A: I started dancing at the age of 8, when after seeing my first performance of The Nutcracker, I asked my mom to enroll me in ballet classes.

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

A: I enjoy the athleticism and the ability to communicate through movement.

Kansas City Ballet Second Company dancers Marisa Whiteman and Gavin Abercrombie.

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

A: I love hiking. Getting the chance to be outside, especially for prolonged backpacking trips is something I grew up doing and always enjoy.

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

A: I have a twin brother.

Dancer Profile: Cameron Thomas

Company Dancer Cameron Thomas is an apprentice with Kansas City Ballet this year after two years as a member of KCB II. Find out more about what makes Cameron tick.

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

A: I became a dancer after being forced into a ballet class around age 10 or 11 as part of my gymnastics class. Later that year I was part of a local production of The Nutcracker and switched to dancing full time. After that I was off!

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

A: I love sharing dance with others. That could be through live performance or through conversation. I think dance is very powerful, and I love demonstrating that.

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New Moves 2017. Cameron Thomas is pictured on the left. Photography by Brett Pruitt & East Market Studios.

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

A: I love music. I play piano and trombone. I enjoy playing music because it enhances my dancing but also exists outside of it. It’s a hobby I can retreat to.

Q: What do you enjoy most about Kc? Why?

A: I love the food—I’m not used to this many sources of good barbecue.

 

KCB II Dancer Profile: Marisa Whiteman

Now in her second season with Kansas City Ballet’s second company, KCB II Dancer Marisa Whiteman, shares a little about herself and what she’s enjoyed about KC these last four years (the first two as a member of our Trainee Company).

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

A: I have a twin sister named Mikhaila. We started ballet classes at age 4. I have had the opportunity  to dance with her in Russia. I’ve also had the opportunity to learn to fly on the trapeze when I was younger.

Q: Do you have a personal mantra or affirmation that you swear by?

A: The mantra I live by is to be the best “Me” I can be. I believe everyone is unique in their own way and we should all embrace ourselves.

Kansas City Ballet Second Company dancers Marisa Whiteman and Gavin Abercrombie.

Q: Do you have hobbies or special Interests?

A: Some of my favorite hobbies are baking and traveling. I love trying out new recipes and when I have a free time I love to explore new places. Visiting new countries is interesting because of all the cultural differences and history. Occasionally, I still like to do a bit of drawing as well.

Q: What do you enjoy most about KC?

A: I found Kansas City to be a hidden gem in the center of the U.S. It has so much of what a big city offers with a small town feel. It has a great arts community, sports, restaurants and the friendliest people.