Meaghan Grace Hinkis

Even in a sweaty practice studio, ABT II’s Meaghan Grace Hinkis exudes a quality of performance-level flawlessness. As she rehearses the Sugar Plum Fairy pas de deux, not a hair is out of place in her classic French twist, and there are no holes in her pink tights—even her pointe shoes are scuff-free. Meaghan moves with extreme delicacy, her precise footwork contrasting with horizon-reaching extensions. She whips out triple fouettés consistently, arms extended in allongé. It’s clear she loves what she does; her energy radiates through the space and her smile is infectious.

Just 18 years old, Meaghan is in her second year dancing with ABT’s second company. She’s also a competition star: Meaghan won the bronze medal at the Helsinki International Ballet Competition in 2009, and in 2003 she received the Hope Award at a regional Youth America Grand Prix. Her early training in jazz at the New England Dance and Gymnastics Center in Westfield, MA, “definitely plays a part in her versatility,” says ABT II director Wes Chapman. “She can do anything.”

Meaghan began taking ballet when she was 11 years old to help her jazz technique. “I loved it,” she says. “I’m a perfectionist, and ballet is either done right or it’s wrong.” Meaghan continued her ballet journey at The Hartt School of Dance in Connecticut, and when she was 13 years old, her family moved to NYC so she could perform the role of Clara in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. During 8th grade, Meaghan started training at the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School at American Ballet Theatre before landing a spot in ABT II in 2007, just two years later. “Meaghan is refined for her age—more so than most,” Chapman says. “She is naturally talented and has so much drive.”

The most challenging part of Meaghan’s day? Finding the motivation to do homework after a full day of rehearsal! She’s finishing the courses (through correspondence) necessary for high school graduation and plans to continue her education with online college courses, or through the college classes ABT offers in conjunction with Long Island University. “Education helps your dancing—it keeps your brain sharp and helps you learn quickly,” Meaghan says. (Want to follow in Meaghan’s college-bound footsteps? Check out DanceU101.com to find your perfect program.)

Ultimately, Meaghan aspires to join ABT’s main company, eventually becoming a principal dancer. “She’s got everything it takes,” Chapman says. “She’s extraordinary.”

Fun Facts

Birthday: May 27, 1991

Favorite dancer: Alina Cojocaru of The Royal Ballet. They share the same birthday!Her inspiration? “My sister is an elite-level gymnast. She’s my hero.”

Fave NYC spot: Rockefeller Center at Christmas timeFave TV show: “Criminal Minds”

Top three flicks: The Proposal, Miss Congeniality and Legally Blonde

Fave ice cream: Mixed chocolate and vanilla from Tasti D-Lite

Boyfriend?: “No boyfriend,” she says, “but I’m always looking!”

Jenny Dalzell is a dancer in NYC and assistant editor at Dance Teacher and Dance Retailer News.

Latest Posts


Photo by Jayme Thornton

How Paloma Garcia-Lee Manifested Her Dream Role, in Steven Spielberg’s "West Side Story"

On a rainy day in November 2018, Paloma Garcia-Lee got a call from her agent that brought her to her knees outside her New York City apartment: She was going to play Graziella in Steven Spielberg's West Side Story.

The call came after a lengthy audition process with Spielberg in the room, and the role, originated by Wilma Curley on Broadway in 1957 and later portrayed by Gina Trikonis in the 1961 film, was her biggest dream. In fact, it's something Garcia-Lee says she manifested from the day plans for the movie were announced in January 2018. "I wrote in my journal: 'I am playing Graziella in Steven Spielberg's West Side Story.'"

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
Photo by @mediabyZ

Am I Less Committed to Dance Because I Have Other Passions? (Spoiler Alert: NO!)

Let's face it—dance is HARD, and in order to achieve your goals, you need to be committed to your training. "Still, there's a fine line between being committed and being consumed." Dancers can, and should, have interests outside of the studio.

Not convinced? We talked with dance psychologist Dr. Lucie Clements and two multifaceted dancers, Kristen Harlow (a musical theater dancer pursuing a career in NYC and Kentucky) and Kallie Takahashi (a dancer in her final year at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts), and got the inside scoop on how having hobbies outside of dance can inform your artistry, expand your range and help prevent burnout.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
Photo courtesy of Brittany Conigatti

Go Behind the Scenes of Annie Live! With Brittany Conigatti

Unwrap your candy canes, pour the hot chocolate and round up your fellow theater lovers: NBC is kicking off the Christmas season with its latest live-broadcast TV musical. Annie Live! premieres December 2 and features a star-studded cast, including Harry Connick Jr., Tituss Burgess, Megan Hilty and, as the title character, young phenom Celina Smith.

Luckily, people got a taste of what the special will entail when the cast kicked off the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade with a performance last week. But since you’re never fully dressed without a Dance Spirit exclusive, we caught up with Brittany Conigatti, one of the young orphans and adult ensemble members in the show, to learn what it was like putting together a large-scale live production for the small screen.

The cast of Annie Live! poses for a group photo. The cast of Annie Live!Photo courtesy of Conigatti


Keep Reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks

contest
Enter the Cover Model Search