Callie Hocter Chats About Cappuccino's, Love, Intuition & her Wildest Dreams Coming True
Callie Hocter is the vision of a modern woman: in the full essence of what modern feminism represents, this girl, no joke, has got it all. From the most genuine of hearts, to a killer facility. She sits across from me exuding elegance, worldliness and a hint of what seems to be a rebellious nature as she sips on a hemp milk cappuccino.
Did I mention Hocter is the definition of a cool girl? Her brand is distinct and well thought out as she sits across from me with her unmistakable straight bleach blonde bob that frames her angular jaw, her long but obviously toned arms give way to a skin tight black bodysuit and high waisted jeans and boots. Accents like chunky gold vintage earrings and a snake skin belt with a gold snake belt buckle pair well with her milky pale skin. She looks like page 85 out of Vogue Magazine but by no means is she intimidating; the second her big grin spreads from ear-to-ear, you honestly get a rush of warmth that resonates from her bubbly energy.
I having been lucky enough to know Hocter for the past four years and can’t help but to reminisce as I sit across the table from her. I think of the girl I once met in jazz class freshman year, at Point Park University, who had hopes and dreams and of course a kick ass battement, to the girl who now has achieved her biggest dream. Ms. Hocter is now the newest company member of Koresh Dance Company based out of Philadelphia and she could not be any more excited about the opportunity. She literally seems to shine as her head bobs and hands illustrate the story of her audition.
It is by no mistake Hocter achieved her goals. For years now, Hocter has been behaving like a professional dancer. She will openly endorse that to believe it is to achieve it. She shares with me that prior to the biggest audition of her life, her and her two best friends sat at breakfast taking turns writing down positive affirmations in her journal. Even over spring break, while other college students her age party on the beaches of Florida, she continued to prep her body with her diet and workouts; she even took company class before auditioning. We spend the majority of our time chatting and mulling over the concept of how powerful the mind is. Time and time again we come back to the concept of intuition.
Hocter speaks of almost going to school in Philadelphia based on a distinct draw to the city; she speaks of standing in the company studios and feeling that deep resounding welcome of belonging. She even informs me that her first college piece was “Standing in Tears”: a piece from the Koresh Company. The world most certainly can work its magic in the funniest of ways--and if we pay attention it will bring each of us full circle.
She is open to any and everything. She eats, sleeps and works out, always, with her goals in mind. But most of all Hocter knows exactly what she needs to do to feed her soul. Hocter, whether aware of it or not, knows balance. She obsessively dedicates herself to dance and just as equally obsesses over her relationships. Hocter is one of those rare individuals who knows that this life is precious and to not savor each and every moment of it is the only way she could ever fail.
There is no doubt in my mind that Hocter has a career ahead of her that you won't want to miss.
Tell us about you as a child. What are some of your fondest memories? How has your childhood shaped who you are today?
Little Callie was ALWAYS running around. You could find me climbing trees, playing with the neighbors, helping my mom garden, etc. My mom likes to describe me as bold, active, explorative, and persistent. I even remember as a child, I was in recreational dance classes and I had such a hard time sticking to dance because I wanted to be running around outside. Obviously as I got older I realized that I could have the best of both worlds! I don’t have to limit myself to just playing outside or just dance which I talk about in a later question. My fondest childhood memories include vacations to Martha’s Vineyard and Cape Cod, being on the boat, and beach days… funny story, anytime I was at the beach (which was very often since I grew up in Connecticut) you could find me chasing seagulls without a doubt. I have no idea what made me want to chase them, but you could bet I was exhausted by the end of the beach day hahaha.
What qualities in yourself present the biggest hurdles for you professionally and personally? What qualities in yourself would you attribute to your success?
Probably being an empathy for both biggest hurdle and attribute to my success. I feel like I am so sensitive to the energy around me and it can get in the way of my work if I let it bring me down, but if I can harness what I am feeling around me, within myself, and turn it into a positive then I can continue to work free of stress.
Tell us about your experience with pursuing higher education in the arts?
I am so happy I decided to pursue higher education with dance. It truly has been the best decision of my life. Point Park gave me the time and space to nurture my understanding of dance in my body, what it takes to be a professional, and how to be a well-rounded human being. I have grown in ways that I cannot fathom.
What do you find has been most valuable in your education? What was the least valuable?
When I look back, everything has been valuable. If it was not a positive experience, then I learned from it. It taught me to adapt.
What was the audition process like?
The audition process consisted of three different combinations with cuts in between each! Before the audition I decided to drop into a ballet class to get my body warm and ready for the day… looking back I am very happy I decided to do that!
What about the Koresh work appeals to you as an artist?
The work of Koresh is appealing to me as an artist because it is all about HEART. Whenever you watch them live, on YouTube, etc the dancers, the choreography, it makes you FEEL something. I just can’t wait to get on stage and show my heart.
How does this company differ from your previous ones, like Hershey Park?
Dancing at Hershey Park was a really wonderful experience. I feel like it prepared me even more for the real world as a dancer. When I was at Hershey, we performed in 4 shows a day, 5 to 6 days a week no matter what. It gave me a lot of mental and physical toughness and after doing a summer of that, I felt like I could get through anything. The main difference between the companies is that one is more commercial based, and one is more concert based. With that alone, you experience different choreography, different audiences, etc.
How do you prioritize your personal life when your passion has become your career?
That’s a great question. I don’t think about it too hard honestly. Of course, my priority is my career with dance… so if that means that I have to skip out on a night out with friends to get some good sleep for rehearsal the next day then that is what I have to do. It is always my duty as a professional dancer to be 100% for rehearsals and shows. But with that, I have learned for myself that it is extremely important for me to maintain the human parts of me. It is important for me to enjoy other things such as going to a local coffee shops, meeting up with friends to check out a new local restaurant, etc. I guess to sum this question up, while dance is my priority, it is also very important for me to nourish my other interests.
What does your self care routine look like?
I love this question! In a world where I feel like we all romanticize the go go go mentality, jam-packed schedules, and work, I have come to learn that that mentality does not have to be a constant. YES, we have to work hard and YES we have to get our work done but once we do we should pat ourselves on the back and take a breather. So, with that, my self-care routine is ever growing and evolving because the more I learn about myself, the more I adapt it. I have learned to tame my “FOMO” and to be okay with declining plans to take a night to myself. (That one took me awhile to be okay with.), I am an avid user of essential oils and aromatherapy. I have many different kinds that I use for many different purposes. They have helped me immensely. I also practice yoga pretty regularly. Yoga has been one of my favorite discoveries. Not only does it help my body feel strong, flexible, and lean for dance, it has also done wonders for my mental state. Lastly, learning to be mindful of my breath throughout the day. If I get frustrated, upset, overwhelmed, excited, etc learning to take a deep breath in and out to make sure I am being as present and clear minded as possible has been helpful.
What is your favorite song at the moment?
SO MANY!!!! I like a lot of different genres, so it really depends on my mood. My go to happy song is Best to You by Blood Orange. I am also still obsessed with This is America by Childish Gambino… Donald Glover is a Genius!
Who has been extremely influential in your life? Why?
I feel very lucky to have had a couple influential people in my life. My mom of course is one of them. She has sacrificed so much for me to achieve my dreams and not once has she questioned if this is the career path that I should be taking. She is the strongest person I know. The second most influential person was one of my very first dance teachers, Mrs. Jenn. She was the director of Norwalk Dance Academy in Norwalk, Connecticut. I was only about 9, taking a couple recreational classes a week but she saw something in me that I did not see within myself. She was there to witness that period where I would decide to quit dance to only rejoin a couple weeks later and every time I came back, she welcomed me with open arms. At the annual recital, this studio would hand out scholarships to promising students and one year I was given a scholarship (which came as a HUGE surprise to me) and I feel like that gave me the confidence to believe I could really pursue this. Before I moved to Kansas, she made me promise her front row tickets to my first professional show and it is crazy because now I get to fulfill that promise. The third influential person in my life was Jody Phillips of Jody Phillips Dance Company in Overland Park, Kansas. When I moved to Kansas at the age of 11, I was still a recreational dancer, but Jody offered me a spot on the competitive team and the rest is history. I fell in love with dance, it became an obsession really. Jody has been there for me through many hard times in my life and many great times. She was another person who gave me the confidence to pursue this as a career. I remember having a meeting with her when I was in middle school when she told me that I was one in a thousand and that I had something special to offer and I feel like that has been something I have carried with me ever since. Anytime I start to doubt myself, I return to that conversation we had. I owe Jody Phillips and her studio everything. I would not be here without her or her staff.
Where do you typically seek inspiration?
I seek inspiration from MY MOM, food and the people who grow or prepare it, the Netflix show Chef’s Table, the people I surround myself with, and nature.
What in your career so far makes you the proudest?
Oh WOW. Honestly, I am so proud of where I am at right in this very moment. I feel so grateful to be starting with a dream company of mine. It still doesn’t feel real. SOMEONE PINCH ME!!!
What do you think the future of dance is?
I don’t know where the future will take dance I hope the future of dance includes more support from our government, the funding it deserves, and we start getting more people into the audience. It’s time. It’s OUR time.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would tell my younger self to take a deep breath, understand that everything is going to workout the way it is supposed to, and to give yourself fearlessly 100%...whether that be to a project, person, job, plant, meal I’m making for dinner, whatever… I would rather go through this world giving 100% of my honest self. We can not predict the outcome of anything… so there is no need to worry. What happens, happens and you grow from there.