Hezekiah has been dancing at Amherst Ballet since 2013 when he was nine years old. Even at an early age, he was very dedicated and always pushed his limits.
What has been driving Hezekiah all this time? Here is what he says: “I am drawn to the physical challenge of dance. In ballet, you’re constantly striving to move in an ‘ideal’ way that is almost impossible to actually accomplish. Working towards that potentially unattainable goal is part of what makes ballet stimulating for me.” This, however, could present him with problems at times. He cannot practice in a half-hearted way even when he is tired, because doing so leaves him feeling unfulfilled. Thanks to years of hard work, Hezekiah has grown to be a beautiful dancer.
But the physical challenge is not the only thing that has kept him going all these years. Hezekiah has also been enamored by the power of dance “to communicate our ideas and feelings to others, to invoke ideas or feelings in others, and to make thinking and feeling a collaborative rather than solitary process.” “The fact that dance attempts to do these things through movement, and the challenge of that,” says Hezekiah, “is why I find it compelling.”
And he has certainly achieved that expressive power. His artistry is well represented in “Vestris” (Dreams, 2021, Amherst Ballet), a solo piece in which the character progresses through a number of personas. Hezekiah marvelously captured the spirit of the piece, originally choreographed for Mikhail Baryshnikov, and lists it among his favorite roles “because of the complexity of the acting.”
Hezekiah has been training solely at Amherst Ballet, which he considers “a very special place.” He states, “I have always known that it was a place where I could get the level of training necessary to achieve the fulfillment and the expression that can come from dance, and in an atmosphere that works well for me. I love that Amherst Ballet isn’t competitive, and for the most part I have experienced it as a warm, welcoming community. I agree wholeheartedly with the school’s mission of ‘Ballet for All’ – in my opinion, art is a communal, human thing, so embracing everyone is a crucial piece of it.” And he has been at the center of this community as “a gentle leader,” as described by Artistic Director, Madeleine Bonn. “He sets an example of someone who is always listening, always learning, always self-examining,” states Madeleine. “His wit, musicality, exquisite acting skills, and enthusiasm enliven every class and rehearsal at our studio. And his kind presence will be greatly missed.”
In Amherst Ballet’s Spring Performance, “The Mask of Zora” on June 4, Hezekiah will dance the role of a vampiric math teacher as well as a technically challenging variation from Napoli, highlighting two different skillsets of his.
Hezekiah graduates from the Hartsbrook School this June and will attend Syracuse University, working towards a B.F.A in film. He hopes to be a professional director in the future.
Hezekiah’s message to Amherst Ballet
“Though Amherst Ballet has had its challenges, I have always found it to be an open place where I can explore dance as myself, and am very grateful to have been a student here. I want to thank all my teachers, especially Heather Reichgott, Molly Terril (Stamell), Liesl Swogger, and Madeleine Bonn, all my fellow dancers, and all the people working behind the scenes for making Amherst Ballet what it is.”
Thank YOU, Hezekiah, for being such a serious yet funny, wonderful role model for everybody! We wish you the best for what’s to come!