Hailing from Staunton, Virginia, James Jordan began his formal dance training at the Richmond Ballet during his freshmen year at Virginia Commonwealth University’s Theatre Department. Three years later, he was recruited by Mr. Bolender at North Carolina School for the Arts for his first company of dancers in Kansas City. During and after those next seven years with Kansas City Ballet, Mr. Jordan also performed in Santa Fe and in the New York area. His career then led him to press relations for public television, prior to his return to Kansas City in 1991 as ballet master. In 2000, he received his B.F.A. in dance from the UMKC Conservatory of Dance. Mr. Jordan works with students in the Kansas City Ballet School and stages the ballets of Todd Bolender and Antony Tudor in Kansas City and across the nation.
Ballet Mistress in Residence
Jennet Zerbe began her ballet training in the Cecchetti method in Los Angeles. She then attended The Royal Ballet School in London, where she studied under Nancy Kilgour and Richard Glasstone, among others. As a professional, Ms. Zerbe trained with Gilbert Mayer of the Paris Opera Ballet, and was coached by Georgina Parkinson of the Royal Ballet, and Elena Tchernichova of the Kirov.
As a professional dancer with American Ballet Theatre under the direction of Mikhail Baryshnikov, her soloist repertoire included the Lilac Fairy in Sir Kenneth MacMillan’s The Sleeping Beauty, Dance of the Big Swans in Baryshnikov’s Swan Lake, the Fairy Godmother in his Cinderella, and Pas d’Action in Natalia Makarova’s La Bayadere, among others. She danced in many neoclassical ballets by George Balanchine, including the first principal couple in Bourrée Fantasque. She played the dual role of the Tsarina and a Grand Duchess in MacMillan’s Anastacia, and embodied Bathilde in Giselle, and the femme fatal, La Lionne in Leonide Massine’s Gaite Parisienne. Additional repertoire included Baryshnikov’s Don Quixote and Nutcracker; MacMillan’s Concerto, Requiem, and Romeo and Juliet; Makarova’s Paquita; Balanchine’s Theme and Variations, Ballet Imperial, Stravinsky Violin Concerto, La Sonnambula, and Symphony Concertante; and additionally in: Giselle, La Sylphide, Les Sylphide, and Etudes. Ms. Zerbe also performed the postmodern choreography of Merce Cunningham, appearing in his Duets on the PBS series Dance in America, and appeared in the feature film Dancers.
After concluding her dance career, Ms. Zerbe graduated with honors from Wellesley College, became a certified Pilates instructor, and most recently joined School of Alberta Ballet working closely with Murray and Nancy Kilgour training young dancers in the Professional Division. Ms. Zerbe delights in joining Kansas City Ballet for the first program with Devon Carney as artistic director.
Lisa Thorn Vinzant
Ballet Mistress in Residence
Lisa Thorn Vinzant is delighted to be invited to serve as ballet mistress in residence under the artistic direction of Devon Carney. Ms. Vinzant danced for the Kansas City Ballet from 1988-2005, performing a wide variety of principal and soloist roles. She was revered for her artistry, musicality and versatility on stage .Some favorite roles include the Cowgirl in Rodeo, Frankiein Frankie and Johnny, Adele in Feast of Ashes, Waltz Girl in Serenade, Peasant Pas de Deuxin Giselle, Princess Florine(Bluebird) in Sleeping Beauty and the featured role in Todd Bolender’s The Still Point.
In 2004, William Whitener asked her to join the Artistic Staff of the Kansas City Ballet as associate ballet mistress. Ms. Vinzant served in that position until 2008 when her son was born. Thrilled with her new role as a mother, Ms. Vinzant also found time to continue to perform and work in the arts. She danced with and served as Rehearsal Assistant for the Owen/Cox Dance Group, accepted a position as Adjunct Professor at the University of Missouri at Kansas City, Conservatory of Music and Dance and continues to teach, coach and stage repertoire for the Kansas City Ballet Company and School.
Ms. Vinzant is originally from Dryden, NY and began her training at the Ithaca Ballet. At the young age of 13, she was accepted into the North Carolina School of the Arts and received the majority of her training there as a scholarship student. Ms. Vinzant has also had the privilege of dancing professionally with the Albany/Berkshire Ballet, Chautauqua Ballet, The Carlisle Project, Kansas City Contemporary Dance Ensemble, Owen/Cox Dance Group, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, Starlight Theatre, Quixotic Fusion and Wylliams/Henry Danse Theatre.
In addition to her dancing career, Ms. Vinzant has choreographed for a variety of companies, including the Kansas City Ballet’s In the Wings and Ballet in the Park series, the Kansas City Youth Ballet, Lee’s Summit Symphony Holiday Magic, the Lyric Opera of Kansas City, and the Kansas City Actors Theatre. In 2013, she received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance, Summa Cum Laude, from the University of Missouri at Kansas City, Conservatory of Music and Dance.