Heather Watts and the things she loves
photo by Bruce Weber
Heather Watts is very specific about her favorite things. A prima ballerina with New York City Ballet for some 20 years, Watts spends much of her time at the house in Roxbury that she shares with husband Damian Woetzel, a former star of New York City Ballet, as well, and their two golden retrievers. Here are some of her must-haves.
The Dogs / “They are at the top of my list of things I can’t live without. Pepper, seven, weighs 68 pounds. Her brother Coop is ten and weighs in at 82 pounds. They are sometimes bad, but always my loves. When we have to go away, our opera-singer friend in New York babysits them. We call her our dog-sitting soprano.”
Balanchine Ballets / “Agon, Serenade, Concerto Barocco, and so many more. I adore them all.” And of course she would, having been a Balanchine protégé. Watts attended the School of American Ballet, the official school of New York City Ballet on a scholarship and joined the company in 1970. Balanchine chose Watts, he says, “because I could not let such a talent disappear.” In 1979 she was promoted to principal dancer.
Fragrant Flowers / “Dahlias, sweet peas, roses, tulips, and peonies. We have an amazing garden that my dear husband toils over. I love having my own flowers; I love cutting them, and I also love leaving them in the garden just to look at.”
Vases and Pitchers / “Naturally I have to have a whole collection of holders for flowers, of every shape and size to show off the beauty of the flowers.” Watts has a special collection of mid-century pottery from Sweden. “I was sent by Vanity Fair to do a story with photographer Bruce Weber. I fell in love with the pottery made by Stig Lindberg and I brought some pieces home.” Watts continues at the magazine as a contributing editor, covering art and culture.
Maple Bank Farm Stand / “Owners Cathy and Howie Bronson are amazing. They have the best blueberries, arugula, tomatoes, golden beets, and flowers. I’m also crazy about their sheep.”
Scents / “I love scented candles, in particular Diptyque Baies. This is my personal splurge. I’m also a huge fan of Frederic Malle Geranium pour Monsieur. It’s my favorite cologne to wear—who cares if it was meant for a man? I love it.”
Tag Sales / “Can’t resist them. The Washington Congregational Church July sale, White Flower Farm Annual Tent Sale in June, the annual Privet House summer sale. I love nothing more than finding some wonderful thing that all my friends want and I proudly announce that I got it at a tag sale. I’m also always on the prowl for an estate sale.”
George Champion / “It is this incredible shop in Woodbury, both midcentury modern and vintage antique. From teak ice buckets to Czech pottery, George Nelson lamps, and Anchor Hocking pitchers—it’s all beautiful. George himself is as wonderful as his shop.”
Arethusa Farm / “Have you ever seen a more beautiful ice-cream stand? Ice cream, butter, yogurt, cheese—it’s all changed my life. I can’t drive by without stopping in.”
Books and Photographs / “I can never have too many. Piles everywhere on every subject, but especially art and gardening. I am so fortunate to have Bruce Weber as a friend; every Christmas I get a package of photographs from him—of our dogs, our friends, and some from the amazing locations he visits.”
Watts most recently taught a Balanchine residency at UC Santa Barbara, a spring course on Balanchine at Princeton University, and is currently an affiliate fellow at NYU Center for Ballet and the Arts. In between, however, she is likely to be at home enjoying her favorite things.