As a youngster, Kaufmann was active in horseback riding, softball and gymnastics before discovering ballet at the age of nine. She danced with Oakland Ballet School for five years before joining Contra Costa Ballet School, where she’s danced for the past four years. She trains five days a week, from three to up to six hours a day.
Her past roles have included the Fairy of Temperament in Sleeping Beauty, Clara and the Rose Queen in The Nutcracker and Gretel in Hansel and Gretel.
An interesting twist is that Kaufmann remembers attending the Contra Costa Ballet’s debut of Alice in Wonderland when she was 13 and still dancing at Oakland Ballet School. “As I sat there watching the performance, I vividly remember thinking to myself, ‘I’m going to be Alice someday’ because I just loved her character so much and felt a connection. It just so happened by chance that the next year, I ended up switching studios to CCB and now here I am, dancing with them in my last year, as Alice!” she said.
Kaufmann has found ballet to be the ideal way to express herself creatively. “I’ve always liked to perform – even when I was little and it was just in front of my parents and friends,” she said. “And I like seeing how hard work in class can pay off on stage.”
Still, ballet can be grueling – both physically and mentally. “It’s hard physically because you have to be strong and flexible,” she said. “Because ballet is all about perfection, you can become very critical of yourself. Part of your job as a dancer is to judge yourself so you can make yourself better. That can be hard.”
Kaufmann recently auditioned for and was accepted to the UC Santa Barbara dance program.