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.

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: 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.