On the Rise: Hannah Bettes
Bettes dancing "Coppélia" at the Cape Town International Ballet Competition. Courtesy Patel Conservatory.
Even before taking her first professional bow with Boston Ballet this fall, Hannah Bettes was one of the best-known teens in ballet. Her bright, lyrical presence, together with a stunning facility (those feet), has won her numerous competition medals and a devoted following. Now in her first season as a corps member, she’s discovering how competition fame translates into a career.
Company: Boston Ballet
Hometown: DeLand, FL
Training: Central Florida Ballet School, Next Generation Ballet at the Patel Conservatory, The Royal Ballet School
Accolades: Youth America Grand Prix gold medal, junior division; World Ballet Competition silver medal, pre-professional division; Prix de Lausanne second prize, Audience Choice
Breakout moments: After winning at Prix de Lausanne in 2012, she spent her last two years of training at RBS, where Liam Scarlett chose Bettes as a soloist for a ballet he set on the school.
On transitioning into company life: “Ballet can be selfish at times—you’re always working on yourself—but now, being part of a corps de ballet where everyone has to be the same, it’s not really a selfish thing anymore.”
What she’s working on: ”I’m still constantly working toward holding my turnout. And a lot of my base technique, I find, is still kind of weak. From the competitions, I learned how to do a lot of tricks, but it’s the little in-between steps that I’m still faulty with.”
What Nissinen is saying: “She was a top-level student, but it’s a very different thing to be a student than a professional—I was willing to take that big step and start her in the company,” says Boston Ballet artistic director Mikko Nissinen. “And she has been able to handle it. Now, it’s just: How do we hone those qualities? How do we make her a top-rate artist? This is just the beginning.”
Her first year at Boston: Bettes has already rehearsed soloist roles, including Neapolitan and four little swans in Swan Lake, and she performed the ballerina doll in Nutcracker. This spring, she is thrilled to revisit her contemporary roots. “We’re doing Episodes and Chroma in the same triple bill. Just being around it will be incredible.”
If "Fosse/Verdon" whet your appetite for the impeccable Gwen Verdon, then Merely Marvelous: The Dancing Genius of Gwen Verdon is the three-course meal you've been craving. The new documentary—available now on Amazon for rental or purchase—dives into the life of the Tony-winning performer and silver-screen star lauded for her charismatic dancing.
Though she's perhaps most well-known today as Bob Fosse's wife and muse, that's not even half of her story. For starters, she'd already won four Tonys before they wed, making her far more famous in the public eye than he was at that point in his career. That's just one of many surprising details we learned during last night's U.S. premiere of Merely Marvelous. Believe us: You're gonna love her even more once you get to know her. Here are eight lesser-known tidbits to get you started.
Every dancer knows that how you fuel your body affects how you feel in the studio. Of course, while breakfast is no more magical than any other meal (despite the enduring myth that it's the most important one of the day), showing up to class hangry is a recipe for unproductive studio time.
So what do your favorite dancers eat in the morning to set themselves up for a busy rehearsal or performance day?
When it comes to dance in the U.S., companies in the South often find themselves overlooked—sometimes even by the presenters in their own backyard. That's where South Arts comes in. This year, the regional nonprofit launched Momentum, an initiative that will provide professional development, mentorship, touring grants and residencies to five Southern dance companies.
You ever just wish that Kenneth MacMillan's iconic production of Romeo and Juliet could have a beautiful love child with the 1968 film starring Olivia Hussey? (No, not Baz Luhrmann's version. We are purists here.)
Wish granted: Today, the trailer for a new film called Romeo and Juliet: Beyond Words was released, featuring MacMillan's choreography and with what looks like all the cinematic glamour we could ever dream of: