I recently had the opportunity to ask Bailey Hetzel some questions about her journey as a ballerina. Bailey is a phenomenal dancer, she takes to teh stage with incredible poise and grace. Her passion and dedication for ballet is remarkable. Below are her responses.
Q1: When did you start ballet?
I started ballet when I was 9 but really started to consider doing it when I was 12. After that I decided to train more seriously.
Q2: Where do you currently dance?
I currently dance at Melbourne City Dance Center with Melbourne City Ballet Theater on the East Coast of Florida.
Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?
I’d say 4 years.
Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?
I currently wear Russian Pointe Rubin and they are my favorite! I have tried them all but I’ve always tended to gravitate towards Russian Pointe’s shoes because they last me a long time and look prettiest on my feet. Plus the blisters are minimal:)
Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?
Ocala which is about 2 1/2 hours away. There I grew up playing any sport I could get my hands on and I’ve always grown up in a family that appreciates that. My uncle played college football at FSU and that was a huge achievement for both sides of my family, something they were proud of. So when I moved I met someone that did ballet and I decided to try it. I ended up loving it, which was really weird at the time because I was never known to be quiet or disciplined for that long, but for 4ish years I did both ballet and soccer.
When I had to choose and picked ballet, it was big. My body has always kinda been ideal for sports, I build bulky muscle quickly and I get my speed from my uncle. Plus ballet was really unheard of in my family. Nobody had ever gone that route nor were we surrounded by it but everyone’s learning to appreciate ballet too:)
Q6: What is your favourite variation?
That’s so hard!! I of course have ones I hate but I think for the most part every variation has something to love. I would say that Diana and Actaeon is my favorite.
Q7: What company would you love to work for?
Also a good question! I think in the US I would lean towards ABT because I think they treat their dancers well. But I‘m aiming towards out of the country. I love Dutch National Opera, Staatsballett Ballet in Berlin or even Paris Opera. Hard to pick one, I see myself moving around.
Q8: Do you have a favourite memory/moment in ballet?
Not one that sticks out above the rest. Any time I’m on stage or just performing in front of a small group I’m happy.
Q9: Who are your ballet roles models? Dancers that inspire you.
My teacher Artem Yachmennikov is probably the biggest one I have. He’s danced in all the of the big companies like Dutch National Ballet, Mariinsky, Bolshoi, and San Francisco Ballet, at ranks of Principal and First Soloist. Now he teaches us at MCDC and you can tell he loves it. He’s very hard on us and demands the best, but he’s a really good person and always there for us when we need him to be:) Misty Copeland is such a generic role model but I love what she stands for. There’s so many other dancers in her position and while they aren’t being talked about, I feel like she is a symbol that signifies all of their hardships. I for one have always been discouraged about my body because I know it’s not what everyone thinks of when they think “ballerina.” But I’m also learning that my body is strong and capable and admired by many. Ultimately I’m doing this for myself.
Q10: Best advice you’ve ever received from a teacher?
There’s a lot of good advice about different things but I have to say one that has always stuck out over the years. It was said when I was about 12 by Duncan Cooper, a more contemporary/ballet teacher known for giving great speeches:) He was teaching at a ballet competition I attended and in that class he told us that we needed to “get comfortable being uncomfortable,” especially being in the ballet world. Ever since that day I’ve pushed myself into doing things I never thought I would. Since I was able to learn that so young, now that I’m older, I truly am comfortable being uncomfortable. It’s something I think everyone should take into account, not just dancers.
Q11: Classical or romantic tutu?
Classical!! Although I think there’s always a place for romantic too:)
Q12: What do you like to do when you aren’t dancing (your free time)?
When I’m not dancing I enjoy cooking, reading, working out at the gym and going to the beach:)