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.