Real Life

Ballet babe: I want a sperm donor

When beautiful ballerina Katie Hurst-Saxton fell in love with a dashing principal dancer, it looked to be a fairytale romance with a happy-ever-after ending.

The passionate match-up, which saw Michael Braun leave his wife and three kids in Australia to be with Katie, is at the heart of TV3’s reality show The Secret Life of Dancers.

The series, which follows the Royal New Zealand Ballet on tour and reveals what really happens when the curtain goes down, is compulsive viewing for ballet fans.

For Katie (24), however, there are bittersweet memories when she watches the show. Since it was filmed, she and Michael have split and Katie is still grieving the loss of her perfect partnership.

“I cry myself to sleep because he’s not in the bed next to me,” she says quietly. “It’s horrible. He was missing his kids and it almost broke him, so I suggested he needed to be with them. It’s horrible for me, but that’s what he needed to do. I’m proud of myself for suggesting that. He’s my best friend and he always will be.”

From the moment the show started filming, there was no hiding the chemistry between the two ballerinas.

“As soon as I heard we were doing the show, I knew I had to be completely honest about my life,” she says. “People see us on the stage but they don’t know what it’s really like for us, or that we go through what everyone else does – the good and the bad. We’re not robots.”

As she recovers from her heartbreak, a determined Katie is setting herself a new goal – and it doesn’t involve a new man.

Having witnessed the strong, loving bond Michael has with his kids, Katie says she’s decided to become a mum one day soon, even if it means taking the solo route.

“I see a baby and I go all gooey. I’m so clucky,” she says. “I think about having a baby all the time. I want to be a young mum, so I’m quite happy to get a sperm donor and have one by myself.”

Choosing to be a single mum might seem like a tough option, but Katie’s used to taking on challenges. At 16, the Christchurch dancer was one of the youngest ballerinas to be picked for the prestigious national company. And if she does become a mum, this young achiever plans to combine parenthood with ballet.

“I’ve always wanted to be one of those dancers that have kids and go straight back to dancing,” she smiles. “If my true love comes along afterwards, that’ll be great, but a child is all I really want now.”

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