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.

Dancer Profile: Charles Martin

Charles Martin joined Kansas City Ballet in 2007 just in time to celebrate Kansas City Ballet’s 50th Anniversary. He’s now in his 11th season with the company.

Q: WHEN DID YOU START DANCING?

A: My mom owned a dance studio and I was always there dancing around, so I started classes at age 3.

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

A: Getting to express things that words can not.

Dancer: Charles Martin. Photography: Brett Pruitt & East Market Studios.
Dancer: Charles Martin. Photography: Brett Pruitt & East Market Studios.

Q: DO YOU HAVE HOBBIES OR SPECIAL INTERESTS?

A: I love doing hair and makeup!

Q: DO YOU HAVE A PERSONAL MANTRA?

A: Work hard, even when it’s hard work.

Q: IF YOU FIND YOU HAVE AN UNEXPECTED HOUR FREE, WHAT WOULD BE YOUR IDEAL WAY TO SPEND IT AND WHY?

A: Meditating, stretching or taking a nap.

Dancer Profile: Danielle Bausinger

Danielle Bausinger joined Kansas City Ballet at the start of the 2014-2015 season.

Q: WHEN DID YOU START DANCING?

A: My mom loved ballet but never danced professionally. So she helped at a local dance studio. My sister went into lessons and then I followed her lead once I turned 3.

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

A: There is no feeling in the world like performing! Putting your emotions through your movement and to music is something magical in this world that can’t be replicated.

KCB Dancer Danielle Bausinger as evil fairy Carabosse in "The Sleeping Beauty." Photography: Brett Pruitt & East Market Studios.
KCB Dancer Danielle Bausinger evil fairy Carabosse in “The Sleeping Beauty.” Photography: Brett Pruitt & East Market Studios.

Q: DO YOU HAVE HOBBIES OR SPECIAL INTERESTS?

A: I love to go to movies and I enjoy going to the driving range every now and then.

Q: DO YOU HAVE A PERSONAL MANTRA?

A: Work hard, even when it’s hard work.

Q: IF YOU FIND YOU HAVE AN UNEXPECTED HOUR FREE, WHAT WOULD BE YOUR IDEAL WAY TO SPEND IT AND WHY?

A: I rest and recoup. I do better when my body has had some down time. If I keep going and running errands and such, I don’t have the stamina in my legs to push when I get too tired.

Dancer Profile: Kaleena Burks

Kaleena Burks has been a Kansas City Ballet dancer since the 2010-2011 season.

Q: WHEN DID YOU START DANCING?

A: I started ballet when I was 3 years old. My mother enrolled me in dance because she also danced as a child.

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

A: I’m obsessed with all things vintage. I love going to the West Bottoms to antique shop!

Dancer Kaleena Burks in rehearsal of Diamonds for the Anniversary Dance Festival. Photography by Elizabeth Stehling.
Dancer Kaleena Burks in rehearsal of Diamonds for the Anniversary Dance Festival. Photography by Elizabeth Stehling.

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

A: That we literally dance all day! We have an atypical 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (in our case 6 p.m.) job, but we are up and moving for all of those hours.

Q: DO YOU HAVE A PERSONAL MANTRA?

A: I always tell myself when I’m having a rough day or feeling exhausted that I will be out of my funk—a sort of “This too shall pass” mentality.

Q: IF YOU FIND YOU HAVE AN UNEXPECTED HOUR FREE, WHAT WOULD BE YOUR IDEAL WAY TO SPEND IT AND WHY?

A: When I do have the rare hour off, you can usually find me in a studio sewing pointe shoes. I like to watch my colleagues dance, and I always need more sewn shoes.

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.

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.

Dancer Profile: Sasha Chernjavsky

Originally from Rochester, NY, Sasha Chernjavsky joined the Kansas City Ballet as an apprentice this season.

Q: how did you become a dancer?

A: I was inspired by watching a friend dance.

Q: DO YOU HAVE ANY HOBBIES?

A: Drawing.

Q: WHAT HAS SURPRISED YOU MOST ABOUT KC?

A: It’s a very quaint city and there seems to be a lot to do.

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

A: I played piano for about 10 years.

Dancer Profile: Javier Morales

Originally from Cuba, Company Dancer Javier Morales joined Kansas City Ballet this season.

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

A: My mom was a French teacher at the ballet school. I went with her and was watching the ballet classes. I liked it from the beginning. I started taking ballet classes in 1992 or 1993.

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

A: I enjoy dancing as if there was nothing more than the dance itself.

Q: do you have hobbies or special interests?

A: I am interested in the history of the world and the human conscience, massages and physical therapy.

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

A: I write stories.

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!