(60) Heather Watts, Balanchine Ballerina

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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.

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