Student Spotlight: Ballet Dancer, Natalie Heinemeyer
Ballet Dancer Natalie Heinemeyer Lands Lead Role in Swan Lake
Writer / Matt Keating
Photographer / Amy Payne
She has the lead role in Swan Lake at The Ballet Theatre of Carmel.
“I tried cheerleading, tap and tumbling, but dance was always something I stayed with,”Heinemeyer says. “When I turned eight, I asked my parents if I could enroll in a pre-professional ballet program. After some searching, I landed at Ballet Theatre of Carmel, where I can train during the day.”
Heinemeyer has been there since she was 11.
“The instructors are kind and encouraging,” she says. “They have helped me become the best performer I can be, and they continue to push me for improvement. I am competitive and enjoy working hard.”
Heinemeyer says that she loves ballet because “it is a beautiful illusion. It takes years of practice, muscle memory and precision in every movement to tell a story or convey emotion. The ultimate reward is performing on a stage in front of an audience.”
Heinemeyer auditioned for Swan Lake at Ballet Theatre of Carmel, and when the cast list was released, she was ecstatic.
“I am honored to dance the role of Odette, alongside many other talented dancers at Ballet Theatre of Carmel,” she says. “I don’t think people really understand the history when they see a performance like this. The choreography was revised in 1895 and we perform Petipa’s and Ivanov’s original choreography with some adaptations from our directors.”
Ballet Theatre of Carmel will perform Swan Lake in four acts at the Westfield High School Auditorium at 7:30 p.m. on May 12 and 2 p.m. on May 13.
To further her ballet career, Heinemeyer is moving to France.
“Most dancers want to further their training by auditioning for Summer Intensive programs,” she says. “These programs are offered through some of the most prestigious schools, where a dancer can train with professional dancers and instructors outside of where you live.”
Most programs are five days a week, and the students dance six to eight hours a day.
“Last summer, I spent five weeks with family in D.C. training at The Washington Ballet,”Heinemeyer says. “This year, I was offered a five-week Summer Intensive Scholarship to train in France. I am very excited about the opportunity to travel abroad and train in Europe.”
“Take care of your body,” she says. “Ballet, or dance in general, takes time, dedication and determination. Stretch your muscles and learn to like ice baths.”
Heinemeyer currently attends Classical Conversations, which is a homeschooling program.
“The two classes I enjoy the most are Economics and Debate,” she says. “I’m in my third year of Latin, and I also take French offered at the Westfield Public Library. My French teacher is great. “
Heinemeyer says she is so busy she doesn’t have much time for outside hobbies.
“In an average week, I spend 24 hours at the studio training,” she says. “In my spare time, I love to draw or practice calligraphy, and I enjoy learning to play songs on the piano, even though I don’t take lessons.”
Heinemeyer loves Westfield and says she makes time for Westfield’s Friday Night Lights.
“I usually have ballet until 8 p.m, so I pack a change of clothes and run out of the studio to get to Westfield High School’s second half of the football game,” she says. “I love that so many people come out to support the players and the cheerleaders. I love Westfield, and I love how it is safe, clean and friendly. “
Heinemeyer says she is “grateful to her instructors and mentors that pour themselves into my training and believe in me. I want to thank Jane Hachiya-Weiner, Frank Weiner, So Yon Nam, Janessa Touchet and Sara Woolgar, for investing in me. When I dance, I dance for you.”