Kelsey Hellebuyck on Her New Life at Kansas City Ballet

Photo by Linda Johnson.

Kelsey Hellebuyck isn't afraid of new experiences. After dancing with Boston Ballet and Pennsylvania Ballet, she took a bold leap, joining Kansas City Ballet this fall. Pointe spoke with Hellebuyck about her new home before her KCB debut this weekend in Bruce Well's A Midsummer Night's Dream.

 

What has this move been like?

I've already done this a couple times in my career, but I just hoped this new place would be supportive. So far everybody seems very kind, but it's not all new—a lot of people I've danced with or went to school with are actually here, like Tempe Ostergren. When I first joined Boston Ballet, she was there and was the older corps member dancers aspired to be like.

 

How have Midsummer rehearsals been going?

I've done Balanchine's Midsummer four times, so doing a different version is like learning another Nutcracker: You see the old choreography, but then you have to be like, "Nope! Erase that. Let's learn something else." I'm a fairy, and Bruce has an interesting take on it. He doesn't want the arms to be too Swan Lake-y but more like an insect. We do this thing called "the bug" which is like a spider spinning its web.

 

What are some of the lessons you've learned so far in your career?

Oh, geez. I've learned so much. When I joined Boston Ballet, I was 16 and just wanted to please. I didn't know how to pace myself and would get so stressed out. But as I grew up, I learned to work smarter, not harder. It's important to take a step back and realize that you've worked your whole life to get to do what you love for a living. Also, you can't worry about casting because sometimes your director has plans for you that you don't know about. I'm glad I learned that fairly young, so now I don't worry.

 

KCB's season opens this Friday with A Midsummer Night's Dream. Performances run Oct. 7-9 and 14-16 in Kansas City, MO. 

 

For more news on all things ballet, don't miss a single issue.

Latest Posts


Maria Kochetkova. Darian Volkova, Courtesy Kochetkova

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.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
DTH's Alexandra Hutchinson and Derek Brockington work out with trainer Lily Overmyer at Studio IX. Photo by Joel Prouty, Courtesy Hutchinson.

Working Out With DTH’s Alexandra Hutchinson

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.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Getty Images

As Ballet Looks Toward Its Future, Let's Talk About Its Troubling Emotional Demands

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.

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks