Magazine article Pointe

Making Her Mark

Magazine article Pointe

Making Her Mark

Article excerpt

Kathleen Thielhelm found early success at The Joffrey Ballet.

The Joffrey Ballet's Kathleen Thielhelm loves dancing the lyrical pieces that show off her long, lean body. Her favorite role, however, is Myrtha. the deathly Queen of the Wilis from Giselle, which the company first danced this season.

"There was no smiling!" she says. "It was hard for me. but the work was rewarding in the end. It was a big check off my list."

Like any dancer, Thielhelm, 26, knows it's best to continue to stretch her abilities by performing roles out of her comfort zone. And her next challenge will be even bigger: She'll work with a new artistic director, Ashley Wheater, who was appointed to the Joffrey after many years as ballet master at San Francisco Ballet. Joffrey has never been led by anyone other than founders Gerald Arpino. who became artistic director emeritus in July, and the late Robert Joffrey.

"In my first rehearsal with Ashley, I saw a lot of changes," Thielhelm says. "I think his approach suits me. I want to grow in a new way, have a new inspiration."

Wheater is still getting acquainted with the dancers. The first stuff on the table is getting to know her better," he says of Thielhelm. "We'll use these next few performances to see how to push her in a new direction."

The next role for Thielhelm is the Snow Queen in Robert Joff rey's The Nutcracker. "You can really make it rich, your little snowland," she says. It's an impressive accomplishment for the dancer, who hails from the small town of Manitowoc, Wisconsin. Thielhelm says her hometown teacher. …

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