Freshman Bailey Hetzel will soon be traveling to New York City for a summer intensive with the Bolshoi Ballet Academy. The intensive is taught by Russian ballet professionals and ballet dancers must try out prior to the intensive in order to attend the three-week summer program. Hetzel traveled to the Big Apple back in February and made the cut.
“I get to do partnering, technique class, which is like barre and center combinations; variations, where I learn different excerpts from different ballets; character, which is a different style of dance; and repertoire, which is a group dance we learn and perform on stage at the end of the three weeks,” Hetzel said.
Hetzel will be staying in a dorm room, possibly with another dancer.
“My mom is dropping me off and the second week my aunt, who lives in Philadelphia, is coming to see me,” Hetzel said. “One of my best friends Adele, who I dance with, will be in NYC for a couple days so I can see her, too. At the end, my brother and parents are coming up to watch the performance and we are going to Boston.”
“[Becoming a professional dancer] has always been on my list, but the reality of it is extremely difficult. While it’s not impossible for me, I am at a disadvantage because of my body type. I’m short and build bulky muscle really fast, so I have to be careful. But even then to get into one of the top ballet companies is almost impossible, and for the first couple years you live off of nothing. That would honestly be OK because I’d be doing what I love but I’ve always been someone that does it all the way or not at all, so if I didn’t dance for a company I thought highly of I wouldn’t want to bother.”
Bailey has serious pursuits beyond dancing.
“School is extremely important to me. My grades come first, and that’s the other huge disadvantage I’m faced with. Dancers at my age that want to be in a company when they are older have already given up school and dance the hours that I’m at school. I not only go to school but go to a very prestigious and demanding one. So this year as been really challenging to keep track of it all. I don’t get much sleep, but I’m really proud of myself for what I’ve done in both ballet and school this year.”
And if she doesn’t become a professional dancer?
“I’ve looked into a fighter pilot for the Navy, a sportscaster, even a criminal investigation agents for the IRS,” she said. “My interests are very diverse but I embrace it. I love literally everything, so it’s hard for me to pick something for sure right now — but a prima ballerina is definitely up there.”
By Alysa Taylor