We had a fantastic 2014-2015 season at the Kansas City Ballet! From Wonderland to Wunderland, here’s a look back at a few of the many beautiful moments our dancers brought to life in the past year.
This is Lamin Pereira dos Santos’s first season with Kansas City Ballet. He is originally from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and began dancing at the age of 10. Lamin’s most recent role with Kansas City Ballet was Albrecht in our March production of Giselle. Read below to learn more about Lamin!
Q: What was it like getting to dance such a prominent lead role in Giselle such as Albrecht?
A: Performing the role of Albrecht gives me a huge feeling of accomplishment and it’s really a dream come true to be able to perform such a big role, especially after so many years of dedication, hard work and passion. The moment I had on stage was truly precious and an unforgettable experience!
Q: What is your favorite moment to perform in Giselle?
A: I love the Mad Scene in the 1st act and there are so many moments in the 2nd act that I really love too, especially when Albrecht first arrives to Giselle’s grave, and from the pas de deux until the end of the ballet when Albrecht is devastated.
Q: What were you feeling as you were getting ready to perform Giselle for the first time in front of an audience?
A: I was actually very nervous when I was getting ready in my dressing room because it was my first time performing this ballet, and there is a lot of responsibility on my shoulders. My biggest concern was if I was going to tell the story of Giselle clearly enough for the audience to understand. The technical part in the second act also had me a little worried, it’s very hard! But once I stepped on stage, all of my concerns and doubts were gone and I had a fantastic time. I was really relaxed during the performance.
Q: How did you first get involved in ballet?
A: In Brazil, for students of the public schools, the government had extra activities such as judô, painting, dance, gymnastics, and soccer.
I was the kid involved in soccer, basketball and judô, nothing related to dance. My little sister was the one taking dance classes. One day when I was about 10 years old, her dance teacher asked me to join the class to help my sister with rolling on the floor and doing cartwheels, so I said yes, why not?
After six months my teacher Denise Sá took us to a professional ballet school called Centro de Dança Rio to apply for a scholarship. I did the exam but the director could only offer me a full scholarship if I took ballet class. She took me to watch a professional class and introduced me to Thiago Soares (principal of Royal Ballet) and the ballet master Maria Angelica Fiorani, and that’s when I decided that I wanted to dance ballet.
Q: Was the professional ballet school you attended an after school activity growing up?
A: It was an after school activity but it was also a professional ballet school where I learned different styles of dance, and there were exams to move from one level to another. The main objective was to prepare dancers for corp de ballet. It was a private school. For me it didn’t feel like it was an extra activity growing up because at that point I wasn’t doing it just for fun or to pass the time. I knew that dancing was what I wanted to do and I wanted to become a professional.
Q: Were your parents easily convinced to let you enroll in all of these new dance classes?
A: My mom was the one taking me and my siblings to dance at first, then my dad joined her and they never said no or criticized our choices. Eventually my parents were always at ballet competitions watching me, or traveling to another place for competitions. They also came every time to my open classes for parents to watch. They always gave me support!
Q: What motivated you to decide to audition for companies in the US?
A: I was always very focused on my goals and never really cared about anything else but ballet, which was my dream. I competed throughout the years and in 2007 I was competing at Youth America Grand Prix Semi Finals in Brazil and received 2nd place and a spot to compete in the final round in NYC in April of 2008.
Once in NYC I knew there were going to be a lot of amazing dancers, so I tried to focus on myself and show the best of me. At that time my biggest wish was that a director from a big school or company would see me and offer me something; either a contract or a scholarship.
I made it to the final round in NYC and was awarded a full scholarship to the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School at American Ballet Theatre! I was extremely happy and I could not wait for that opportunity. I moved to NYC in August of 2008.
This past weekend, Artistic Director Devon Carney’s production of Giselle opened at the Kauffman Center! We want to congratulate our dancers, production team and staff on a fantastic job making this beautiful production come to life.
Below you can view a short video featuring highlights from this past weekend’s shows.
Click here to read the Kansas City Star’s review of Giselle.
There are still three performances left – March 20-22! Get your tickets online at kcballet.org or 816.931.8993.
Yoshiya Sakurai just finished his fourth season with Kansas City Ballet. He is originally from Niigata City in Japan and has been dancing since the age of three. He has received numerous awards throughout his career and trained at many prestigious facilities around the US and Canada. Yoshiya’s most recent role with Kansas City Ballet was the Jester in our May production of Cinderella. Read below to learn more about Yoshiya.
Q: How did you get involved in dance?
A: I started ballet because my mom was a ballet dancer and teacher. I started dancing with her at the age of three.
Q: How did you end up in the United States?
A: When I was 14 I attended Canada’s National Ballet School for four years. After I graduated, I landed my first job in New Jersey at American Repertory Ballet.
Q: Are there any cultural differences between dancing in the US and Japan?
A: In Japan, dancing is not really a full-time job, and many dancers work other jobs. In the US, dancing full-time has many benefits and you work for a longer period of time throughout the year.
Q: What do you do when you’re not dancing?
A: I like to hang out with friends, play video games, and watch movies.
Q: What is something most people don’t know about you?
A: I get coffee at Parisi in Union Station almost every morning before work!
Q: What are you most looking forward to next season?
A: I am excited to be a part of our Artistic Director, Devon Carney’s first season (that he has chosen the programming). I look forward to seeing how our company grows.
Q: What is the biggest difference between living in the US and Japan?
A: I think that would have to be the food in Japan – I miss it!
Q: What would you like to do in the future?
A: It would be great to help train a younger dancer that desires to become a professional!
NEW MOVES opened this past weekend here at the Bolender Center. This choreographic showcase allows company dancers and outside guest choreographers to create new works on our dancers. This year six new works premiered, of which four were created by company dancers Charles Martin, Travis Guerin, Anthony Krutzkamp and Ian Poulis, and two by outside guests, Erin Lustig of Seamless Dance Theater and Ilya Kozadayev, former principle dancer with Houston Ballet.
Take a look below to see some highlights from this past weekend. If you’re in the area, you still have a couple chances to catch this great performance! Get your tickets for April 4 or 5 by visiting our website or calling 816.931.2232!
This week we had an exciting adventure at City Hall with our KCB II dancers!
Dressed as the Undead from Dracula, they took over the office of Mayor Sly James! Thankfully, the Mayor was patient with our ‘Undead,’ as they rummaged through his office and even accidentally knocked a few things over….Check out photos and video below to see more of our takeover!
Don’t miss our Undead in Dracula, Feb. 21 – March 2 at the Kauffman Center! Select your own seats online or call the Ballet Box Office at 816.931.2232 to order your tickets today!
This week we had a chance to catch up with our new student apprentice, Maggie Andriani! Between classes, Maggie gave us a glimpse of what it has been like to dance with the company so far and what she is most looking forward to this season.
Maggie has been a student at the Kansas City Ballet School for ten years, and is thrilled to have the opportunity to work with the company this year. When she first found out that she had been chosen as student apprentice, she said, “I was shaking I was so excited!”
Since then she has been taking classes with the company in addition to school, part-time work, regular dance classes and performing with the Kansas City Youth Ballet. Beginning this season Maggie will also be rehearsing and performing with the KCB! She loves the Nutcracker season and is looking forward to learning Dracula, but says she is most excited about the production of Cinderella.
Until rehearsals start, Maggie is enjoying the opportunity to take class with the company throughout the week. On Saturday mornings, when most teenagers might sleep in, she is at the studio striving to learn everything she can from the artistic staff and company dancers. She looks up to all the company members and is inspired by the qualities that they each possess. She hopes “that by watching them that somehow their special talents will transfer over to (her)!”
We are excited to watch Maggie grow in both technique and artistry as she dances alongside the company this year, and we are eager to see where her passion for dance takes her in the years to come!
From everyone at Kansas City Ballet, we’d like to thank those who were able to make it to our fall production featuring Fancy Free, along with four other spectacular pieces. Also, a big congratulations to the dancers and production staff for putting on an amazing show!
As audience members, you don’t get to see what goes on behind the scenes. From dancers hurrying to get into place, costume changes, managers calling lighting cues among many other things, backstage can be a quite chaotic but also an exciting place. Here are a few glimpses behind the curtain from our fall show….
Now, for the audience view:
(Photos courtesy of Steve Wilson)
This past Friday, the Michael and Ginger Frost Studio Theater here at Kansas City Ballet’s Bolender Center was filled with people looking to get a glimpse into the rehearsal process of our company dancers. They also were given a behind the scenes look at KCB’s fall show featuring Jerome Robbins’ Fancy Free, which opens this Friday Oct. 11 and runs through Sunday, Oct. 20!
Check out some photos below from the First Friday event. To view these dancers in full costume and onstage at the Kauffman Center performing 5 spectacular ballets, you can order tickets online at kcballet.org or call 816.931.2232.
Dancer Rachel Coats smiles as Artistic Director Devon Carney talks to audience members about the rehearsal process.
Dancers Sarah Walborn and Michael Davis rehearse segments from Jodie Gates’ Keep Me Wishing in the Dark:
First Fridays are a great way for audience members to get an up close and personal look at rehearsal. In the photo below, Dancer Sarah Chun rehearses for the upcoming fall show.
This week we feature Dancer Kaleena Burks, who you may recognize from some of our 2013-2014 season images. This is Kaleena’s fourth season with KCB. Recently she sat down to talk with us about getting her start in ballet, and what it’s like to see her face on a billboard.
Check out the video below to hear from Kaleena!