Betsy McBride is just a dream. Sweet as the peppermint "Swirl Girl" she played in this summer's "Whipped Cream," she's also undeniably determined, focused, and talented. Leaving her principal position at the Texas Ballet Theatre two years ago to pursue her dreams at NYC's American Ballet Theatre, she's new to New York but no stranger to the demands and rewards of life as a professional dancer. And we think this is just the beginning...
Below we share a peek into her background and daily life – Meet our Muse: Betsy McBride
How long have you been dancing and how did you start?
I've been dancing since I was 3 years old. My sister was taking ballet and I was always hanging around the studio during her classes so when I was old enough to join I started taking classes too.
What do you find most rewarding about dance?
I love the artistry and physicality of it. I love pushing my body to the limits and challenging myself and at the same time being able to express myself artistically.
What’s your favorite music to dance to?
Well, I mostly dance to classical but I love all music. I listen to a lot of pop, indie, and jazz, too, and I think it would be fun to dance to those genres as well.
Have you had any favorite costumes over the years?
I really loved wearing the costumes for both Ben Stevenson's and Alexei Ratmansky's The Sleeping Beauty. The costumes in both productions are so elaborate and flattering. I loved getting to wear them!
Any crazy backstage / onstage stories to share?
The first time I performed Clara in Ben Stevenson's The Nutcracker my ribbons from my pointe shoes came completely untied, and all the other party children in the scene and myself kept tripping and stumbling on them! It's a crazy moment because the choreography has Clara get her pointe shoes as a gift and on stage has to put them on super fast before her solo. I was so frantic I put my shoes on the wrong feet and my ribbons wouldn't tie properly. It was a disaster!
What do you like to do when you’re not dancing?
I love to travel, go to museums, go to the movies, read, but mostly spend time with friends and family.
Do you follow a fitness routine outside of your dance classes and rehearsal?
Yes. I work with an awesome trainer, Joel Prouty, about once a week. He helps build my endurance for ballet and also helps prevent injuries. I also enjoy taking yoga and Pilates.
How long have you been in New York, and what’s your favorite part about living here? What would a perfect NYC day look like?
I've been living in New York about two years now. My favorite part about living here is that there is always something to do and there are so many opportunities here. I feel like I go out without a plan sometimes and run into friends or things to do and it really is the city that never sleeps. I usually eat brunch somewhere yummy and then spend some time in Central Park on Sundays to regroup and that's a pretty perfect day to me.
How would you define your personal style? Do you like to keep your dance / street wardrobes separate, or do you integrate, embracing the athleisure trend?
I'm not sure how I would define my style. It's definitely all over the place sometimes! I am always open to trying new trends and branching out. I have to say I definitely enjoy the athleisure trend, especially to and from the studio.
How do you relax at the end of a long day?
Usually I relax with my boyfriend. One of us usually cooks and then we have dinner together. It's a nice way to unwind. We work together but it's funny I feel like I hardly talk to him all day because we are both usually busy focusing on our separate rehearsals.
Cook, order in, or out to eat? Any favorites?
All of the above! I love to cook, but on the weekends I like to order in or go out some! I love all food but especially Italian or a really good burger after a long week!
What is one thing you wish more people knew / understood about ballet?
How much hard work is put into this art form. We are at the studio for about nine hours every day rehearsing and taking class, and on performance days we work for about seven hours and then have a two hour break before the show. When we aren't in the studio practicing, we have to do a lot of outside work whether it's other body conditioning, sewing pointe shoes, or learning choreography we'll have to know for rehearsals. It takes so much dedication and focus to be in this art form.