(60) Heather Watts, Balanchine Ballerina

Posted by on 09.18.2017

This week we are joined by distinguished Balanchine ballerina, Heather Watts.  Immediately noticed for her stunning physicality and the individuality of her interpretations, Watts was one of the last ballerinas to inspire Balanchine, having roles created for her in ballets like ‘Walpurgisnacht’ and danced many of his existing masterpieces such as ‘Concerto Barocco,’ ‘Symphony in C,’ and ‘Theme in Variations.’ She has devoted her life after the stage to keeping Balanchine’s works alive, whether it’s giving lectures on the way Balanchine’s worlds related to art and world events at the time of their creation, or coaching her roles for the many artists of the Vail Dance Festival. In 2012, Watts was awarded an honorary doctorate from Hunter College.  She is married to former New York City Ballet Principal Dancer, Damian Woetzel.  Today we talk with Heather about her early career, how she caught Balanchine’s eye, the way his death impacted her life, and why coaching his ballets and influencing the next generation is so important to her.

1 Comment

  1. I met heather walking by the area of the stage door sidewalk of the NYCB sometime in the mid-80s. Brief chat, knowing nothing about her, what she does, or ballet altogether. We closed with her saying how I should maybe attend a production sometime. I did that not long after and was hooked for life. Especially with the nycb. We were just ..acquaintances. Some years later…perhaps as much as 10..she gave me an autographed pair of her pointe shoes…She is one of the most gracious and beautiful women I have ever met or seen in photos or otherwise in the whole wide world.


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