OMAHA — June 14, 2018 — It has been a few seasons since we first met Whitney Walsh, a cheerful young dancer with a bubbly personality and ridiculously beautiful feet.
“I joined the company when I was 19,” says Whitney. “I felt like I really had to prove myself because, at the time, I was the youngest dancer at the lowest rank. I was most definitely dubbed the baby of the group!”
At age 23 now, Whitney has grown in many ways — not the least of which professionally, with her recent promotion to company artist.
“There are so many phenomenal dancers at American Midwest Ballet,” Whitney says. “Dancing with them every day inspires me to work harder — not only to improve my technique, but also to become a better artist. I feel so lucky to call all of them my co workers.”
We recently caught up with Whitney to see what she has been up to this summer.
How long do you allow your body a complete rest when you’re on summer break?
I like to give myself a couple of weeks completely off to let my body recover. But after that, I get right back to ballet. My home studio in California offers classes a few times a week, so I take those when I’m there. I also like to do some cardio to keep my stamina up.
What is your daily routine when the company is in season?
When we’re in season, I’ll wake up around 7 a.m., or even earlier if I want to stretch or do some light cardio at the gym before heading to the studio.
I like to get to work early around 8:50 a.m., so I can have plenty of time to prepare for the day before company class starts. Then we usually have a full day of rehearsals. On my breaks, I’ll usually get tea or lunch with friends.
Most days, our company work day goes until 4:00 p.m. If I’m not teaching after rehearsals, I’ll go home and help my body recover with an Epsom salt bath or a bucket of ice . And I love to cook, so I will usually finish up my day by making dinner — sometimes with a glass of rosé.
Since you enjoy a good dinner party, if you could ask six people (living or dead, famous or not) to dinner, who would you invite?
George Balanchine, most definitely; Tiler Peck [New York City Ballet] because I’m a complete fan girl — and she’s my favorite ballet dancer; my Grandma and Grandpa who passed away early on in my life; and Christina Tosi, the owner of my favorite bakery, Milk Bar, because I am obsessed with her cookies.
And of course, my beautiful mom, Juliet. I couldn’t invite all of those incredible people and not have my mom there with me!
So, speaking of Tiler Peck — what’s this about the two of you working together recently?
It’s true. I had a wonderful opportunity to work/dance with the incredible Tiler Peck on her upcoming project for NBC and CLI Studios. Stay tuned!
What is your favorite part of the ballet season?
My favorite part of every season is The Nutcracker. Not all professional dancers would agree with me about that, I’m sure! [laughs] Christmas is always my favorite time of year.
Where do you hope to be five years from now?
In five years, I hope to be starting my tenth season with the company! Really, my overall goal is to remain strong and healthy — and still dancing as much as possible. My dream role since I was a little girl has always been the Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker, so maybe by then I will have crossed that off my bucket list!