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By Jenny Dalzell
Growing up a bunhead in Virginia Beach, Quincie Hydock’s main dream was to join a classical ballet company. She trained seriously at Virginia Ballet Theatre, and as graduation neared, she knew she wanted a college dance program with a strong ballet emphasis. But today, Hydock is in a different place than she expected. After graduating in 2013 with a BFA in dance and choreography from Virginia Commonwealth University, she’s a freelance dancer in New York City. And while she still hopes to join a concert dance company, she’s sporting bare feet more often than pointe shoes and has her sights set on contemporary work. —Jenny Dalzell
How did you choose VCU? My high school hosted the National High School Dance Festival my junior year, and the director of Richmond Ballet’s trainee program told me about their partnership with VCU: The first two years of college you’re a full-time trainee with the Richmond Ballet and you get credit toward a BFA. I hadn’t considered that program before—I wanted strictly ballet and I had assumed VCU was all modern. But when I auditioned for Butler University in my senior year, I didn’t get in. That turned out to be okay because I got to audition for VCU.
What was your schedule like? I took my gen ed classes in the morning, and headed to Richmond Ballet from 1:00 to 6:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday. I only had one VCU dance class per week—a modern class taught by different guest artists.
After the two years as a trainee, students are either chosen for Richmond Ballet’s second company, or they can continue college. What was your route? I switched over to be full-time at VCU. I took ballet four times per week and modern five days per week. And I started taking choreography classes, which is something I realized that I love.
How did you feel when you weren’t selected? Well, by my second year as a trainee, I realized that I didn’t necessarily want a career in classical ballet. That was great, because I was able to explore the school and modern dance.
In retrospect, would you have made a different choice after high school? I absolutely love what happened. The best thing about the traineeship was that I got professional experience with a company, which has been especially helpful as a freelancer. I know how to act like a professional; I know how hierarchies work—even simple things like not encroaching on someone else’s space at barre. It’s a blessing that my original plan didn’t work out. I was ready to explore something else.
Photo by Sarah Ferguson, Courtesy Richmond Ballet