Do you miss classical tutus?
Not yet. But this morning Sleeping Beauty was on. Dancing Aurora took me to a different level at Pacific Northwest Ballet. That part of my life is done, but it was positive.
Where do you consider home?
I’m still finding myself. I don’t want it to be comfortable here—that was the whole reason I left Seattle.
What qualities do you admire most in other dancers?
Tenacity. In Monte-Carlo, I look up to Bernice Coppieters. She still strives to make each step count. She holds the bar very high for the company.
How do you prepare your pointe shoes?
It’s changed since Seattle. I have to dye my own shoes, and then I glue the insides, very lightly. We do a lot of demi-pointe work, and the shoes need to be softer for me to roll through them easily.
What talent do you have that few people know about?
I love origami. I know a lot of different styles, and I am pretty obsessive about that!
What was your worst onstage nightmare?
My Sanguinic première in The Four Temperaments. I overstepped in a turn and fell flailing. I was so shaken that I forgot what I was doing and just stood there.
What do you enjoy most about your dance career?
More and more, I enjoy working in the studio. It is a relaxed place, a time to think and process things.
Do you miss classical tutus?
Maria Kochetkova on How COVID-19 Affected Her Freelance Career, and Her New Home at Finnish National Ballet
When international star Maria Kochetkova embarked on a freelance career three years ago, she never envisioned how a global pandemic would affect it. In 2018, the Russian-born ballerina left the security of San Francisco Ballet, a company she called home for more than a decade, for the globe-trotting life of a guest star. Before the pandemic, Kochetkova managed her own performing schedule and was busier than ever, enjoying artistic freedom and expanding her creative horizons. This all changed in March 2020, when she saw her booming career—and her jet-setting lifestyle—change almost overnight.
After months of uncertainty, Kochetkova landed at Finnish National Ballet, where she is a principal dancer for the 2020–21 season. Pointe spoke with her about her time during the quarantine and what helped her to get through it, her new life in Helsinki, and what keeps her busy and motivated these days.
Kochetkova, Michal Krčmář and Alfio Drago in "Le Corsaire" at Finnish National Ballet
Roosa Oksaharju, Courtesy Finnish National Ballet
Despite major pandemic shutdowns in New York City, Alexandra Hutchinson has been HIIT-ing her stride. Between company class with Dance Theater of Harlem and projects like the viral video "Dancing Through Harlem"—which she co-directed with roommate and fellow DTH dancer Derek Brockington—Hutchinson has still found time to cross-train. She shares her motivation behind her killer high-intensity interval training at Studio IX on Manhattan's Upper West Side.
Viktoria Maley, Courtesy DTH
As a ballet student, I distinctively remember being told that to survive ballet as a profession, one must be exceptionally thick-skinned and resilient. I always assumed it was because of the physically demanding nature of ballet: long rehearsal hours, challenging and stressful performances, and physical pain.
It wasn't until I joined a ballet company that I learned the true meaning behind those words: that the reason one needs thick skin is not because of the physical demands, but because of the unfair and unnecessary emotional demands.
Undoubtedly, emotional and physical strength go hand in hand to some extent. But the kind of emotional demand I am talking about here is different; it is not the strength one finds in oneself in moments of fatigue or unwillingness. It is the strength one must have when being bullied, humiliated, screamed at, manipulated or harassed.