2012 Cover Model Search Finalist: Hannah Bettes
If you pictured a dream ballet dancer, you’d be seeing Hannah Bettes. The 16-year-old has gorgeous facility: impossible, effortless flexibility and crescent-moon feet. But watch her move, and it becomes clear she’s not just a Ballerina Barbie. She’s a smart dancer. When she gets a correction, it’s immediately absorbed, processed and—boom—problem solved. Though Hannah’s DS photo shoot was her first time modeling, she had an inherent understanding of what would look good on camera. Remarkably self-aware, she wowed the editors, pose after gorgeous pose. This is a girl with serious prima potential.
The last time DS caught up with Hannah (“You Should Know,” January 2011), she had just started training intensively in ballet at Florida’s renowned Next Generation Ballet at the Patel Conservatory, after spending several years dominating the jazz and contemporary competition scene with The Dance P.A.D. (then known as Deltona Academy of Dance). “I kind of flipped over to ballet,” Hannah says. “While I was still at my comp studio, I won the silver medal at the World Ballet Competition, I went to the School of American Ballet’s summer program and I did The Nutcracker. Eventually I was like, Yeah: Ballet is what I want to do.”
Initially, Hannah liked that ballet was a constant quest for perfection. But now, after a few years at Patel, she’s discovering another side of the artform. “I really enjoy the acting part of it, becoming different characters in different ballets,” she says. Her dance dream used to be joining New York City Ballet, with its repertoire of neoclassical works by George Balanchine. “But my perspective on everything has changed,” she says. “I want to go really classical now. I realized that in companies like The Royal Ballet and Paris Opéra Ballet, you get to try out Balanchine, but you get to do Swan Lake and Giselle, too. I also have a more classical body. Balanchine dancers tend to be taller; I’m only 5' 2".”
Hannah’s well on her way to her classical dreams: In April she won the Senior gold medal at Youth America Grand Prix finals in NYC, and she’ll head to London’s Royal Ballet School this fall, thanks to a scholarship she won at the Prix de Lausanne in February. “I miss the fun energy of studio competitions sometimes, but ballet competitions like Lausanne are crazy—doing well at one of them can change your life,” she says. Her visit to Lausanne, Switzerland, for the Prix also gave Hannah her first taste of the European dance scene. “It’s a totally different atmosphere,” she says. “Ballet is so well-known and respected in Europe. There’s more opportunity. I can see myself ending up over there.”
Birthday: March 26, 1996
First thing she does in the morning: “I usually sit on the couch for an hour, just to wake up.”
Most-played on her iPod: “Skinny Love” by Bon Iver
Three words that describe her: “Adventurous, outgoing, happy”
Last thing she does at night: “I like to go on Tumblr. I follow a bunch of my friends’ blogs, and I have my own Tumblr now—it’s all dance stuff and inspirational quotes.”
Strangest thing in her dance bag: “I have one of those things to stretch your straddle—it looks like a giant rubber band.”
Must-see TV shows: “ ‘Grey’s Anatomy,’ for sure. I know most people have given up on that show by now, but I still love it!”
Dream dance role: “Probably Giselle. The ballet has such a beautiful, moving story. I love watching Alina Cojocaru’s Giselle online.”
Dance crush: Sergei Polunin (former principal dancer with The Royal Ballet)
WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING ABOUT HANNAH:
Peter Stark, Hannah’s teacher at Next Generation Ballet at the Patel Conservatory: “Hannah has extraordinary flexibility. When she lifts her leg, it just keeps going up. But she’s committed to the artistry of classical ballet, as well as the gymnastics of it. She’s learned how to make decisions about placement that create the best line and enhance her musicality. I’ve never seen Hannah lose her temper and I’ve never seen her cry. She’s not motivated by the short-term goal of a medal—she’s motivated by the long-term process of becoming a great dancer. Thanks to her experience with competitions, she knows she won’t win every time. And when she doesn’t, she just says, ‘OK, next.’ ”
Matthew Powell, ballet instructor at Broadway Dance Center: “Hannah has beautiful legs and feet, and with her extension comes amazing control, which is a rarity. In class she was very upbeat and positive and always engaged in the corrections I gave her.”
It's time to get your pirouette on! From September 5th to September 30th, we're hosting a contest to find out who's the best turner of them all.
Put together your most impressive turning combo. Post a video online. Share your turns with us and thousands of other dancers around the world. And if our editors think you're the top turner, you'll win a fabulous prize.
All of 18-year-old Kaylin Maggard's dreams—from scoring the title of National Senior Outstanding Dancer at New York City Dance Alliance Nationals to winning the 2017 Dance Spirit Cover Model Search—are coming true. And to anyone who knows the gorgeous contemporary dancer, that's no surprise.
From the moment the Dance Spirit staff met Kaylin, it was obvious her humility and talent would take her far. Not only did she go full-out during the photo shoot and class at Broadway Dance Center, but she was always cheering on, laughing with, and supporting her fellow CMS contestants Haley Hartsfield and Michelle Quiner. During the voting period, the social media world was abuzz with praise for her work ethic, positive attitude, and generosity.
Since her CMS trip to NYC, Kaylin's moved from her hometown of Columbia, MO, to the Big Apple for her freshman year at Juilliard, and is busy getting acquainted with the city. As for the future? She's taking it one opportunity at a time, but something tells us we'll be seeing this contemporary queen reach new heights every year.
New York City principal Lauren Lovette has become an icon thanks to her emotional maturity and exceptional musicality. The 26-year-old quickly rose through the ranks after joining the company as an apprentice in 2009, reaching principal status in 2015. A Thousand Oaks, CA, native, Lovette started studying ballet seriously at age 11, at the Cary Ballet Conservatory in Cary, NC. After attending two summer courses at the School of American Ballet, she enrolled as a full-time student in 2006. Last year, she made her choreographic debut with For Clara, her first piece for NYCB. Catch her latest work this month during the company's fall season. —Courtney Bowers
In our "Dear Katie" series, former NYCB soloist Kathryn Morgan answers your pressing dance questions. Have something you want to ask Katie? Email firstname.lastname@example.org for a chance to be featured!
I know I'm not getting good enough dance training from any of my local studios. But I'm not sure I'm ready to move away to study at a big-name school, either. How do you know when you're ready to leave home to pursue your passion?
Instagram star Kylie Shea has built a following of nearly 170,000 with her playful workout videos, which combine traditional fitness activities, like jumping rope or running on the treadmill, with pointe shoes and sassy choreography. Shea's effortless cool-girl-next-door vibe and solid ballet technique make her vids totally irresistible.
Now Shea's using her platform to address the body image issues that tend to plague dancers. In a poignant video, she sheds her clothes and tugs at her skin. The caption explains her relationship with her body and the pressure she feels to maintain a certain aesthetic as a dancer.
Physical discomfort is inevitable when you're spending tons of hours in the studio every day, but some pain shouldn't be suffered through. "Dancing through pain can make an injury worse and lead to more time away from dance," says Dr. Joel Brenner, medical director of dance medicine at Children's Hospital of The King's Daughters in Norfolk, VA. "Failing to rest and recover when you're in serious pain could even lead to the point where you're unable to dance in the future."
That may sound scary, but there's good news: If you take precautions and listen to your body, many injuries can be stopped in their tracks. The first step? Knowing what's normal—and what's not.
Think about it: How often do you see a ballet pas de deux for two women? Almost never, right? Sometimes, choreographers will forgo the traditional danseur-ballerina pas to make a duet for two guys, since they can lift and partner each other easily. But a dance for two ballerinas is a rare thing.
That's part of what makes "Duet," a new video by director Andrew Margetson featuring Royal Ballet beauties Yasmin Naghdi and Beatriz Stix-Brunell, so compelling.