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.

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.