Meet the Dancers: Mona and Tyler

Kansas City Ballet is excited to welcome two new company dancers! Mona Meng who comes to us from California, and Tyler Savoie, originally from Ohio. They are both looking forward to their first season with Kansas City Ballet. Check out the videos below to hear them talk about getting their start in ballet and what they’re most excited for this season!

KC Dance Day 2013 in Pictures

KC Dance Day 2013 was a great success! We had over 1,500 people walk through the doors of the Bolender Center this past Saturday to take free dance classes and watch some amazing performances!

People were able to get a glimpse into the dance world of Kansas City. Different cultures and companies were represented, and our very own Kansas City Ballet company dancers along with KCB II closed out the day with an autograph signing after performing for the audience.

Check out the photos below from the event!

Announcing KCB II

Beginning this season, Community Outreach and Education will see significant expansion. Driving it is the creation of the first-ever Second Company in the Ballet’s 56-year history – a strategic initiative of new Artistic Director Devon Carney.

Known as KCB II, it will be comprised initially of six aspiring dancers from across the US. Because of the formation of KCB II – and members’ role as ambassadors for dance and KCB – we will reach into communities throughout the region in ways never before possible. Additionally KCB II will perform with KCB’s professional company.  Learning the essentials of the art form in a professional environment is an invaluable experience.

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Here’s a quote from Artistic Director Devon Carney:

“One of my primary goals as I begin my tenure with Kansas City Ballet is the creation of this second company. In keeping with the successful history and growth of the Company in recent years it seemed the natural next stage of development. This will enable us to expand our outreach beyond the remarkable Todd Bolender Center for Dance and Creativity into schools, community centers, public parks and more. KCB II will serve Kansas City Ballet well as it continues to move forward as a national force in dance.”

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Be on the lookout this year for performances by KCB II. We’ll be sure to post updates, photos and performance dates as soon as they become available.
If you’d like to learn more about the members of KCB II, please visit our website.

Give It A Try: Absolute Beginner Ballet Workshop

Natalie Fama, Kansas City Ballet’s receptionist, will be trying out our Absolute Beginner Ballet workshop in September (Fridays 5:30-7 pm). Natalie has no experience taking any form of dance, but is eager to learn. Read below to hear more from Natalie on why she’s taking on this challenge.

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Natalie Fama, KCB Receptionist

Q: What made you decide to try the Absolute Beginner Ballet course?
A: I have worked at the Kansas City Ballet for two years now, but crazily enough have never taken a ballet class. My dance background is little to non-existent, so jumping right into a Studio Division class seemed a little intimidating. I think the Absolute Beginner Ballet Workshop will be a great introduction to the basics of ballet.

Q: What background knowledge do you currently have regarding ballet?
A: Not a lot! I am familiar with numerous ballet terms from hearing them around work, but just knowing how to say ‘pas de bourrée’ or ‘tour jeté’ doesn’t count for much. Having observed our professional company and students in rehearsals and performances, I know that ballet requires discipline and dedication, but is very rewarding. 

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Q: What are you most looking forward to in the class?
A: I am excited to dive in and try something totally new. It will be both a mental and physical exercise, but I am up for the challenge. 

Q: What are you hoping to accomplish by taking this course?
A: Ultimately I want to learn more about this art form and have a fun time doing so. I hope (and am confident!) that upon completion of this workshop, I will also feel comfortable taking any of the Beginning Ballet Studio Classes that KCB offers. 

If you are interested in joining Natalie on this adventure, contact KCB School at 816.931.2299 to sign up for the Absolute Beginner Course today! It’s a four week course on Fridays in September (5:30-7 pm; $70 for all four classes), it will give you the confidence to be able to jump in on our beginner ballet weekly Studio class.

In the News: “Movers, Shakers, Stalwarts: Devon Carney”

KC Metropolis reporter Laura Vernaci sat down with new Artistic Director Devon Carney for a Q&A session. Read the article below to learn more about Mr. Carney, his goals for Kansas City Ballet and his interest in technology.

Artistic Director Devon Carney. Photographer Ken Coit.
Artistic Director Devon Carney. Photographer Ken Coit.

By Laura Vernaci, Wed. Aug. 14: The Kansas City Ballet’s Artistic Director Devon Carney, comes to Kansas City from the Cincinnati Ballet where he has spent roughly a decade of his career. In 2003, he was appointed chief ballet master, and was named associate artistic director in 2008.Prior to Cincinnati, Carney was a company dancer with Boston Ballet. Joining their second company in 1978, he became a principal dancer with the main company eight years later.

Laura Vernaci: Why don’t we start with how you’ve made your journey to Kansas City.

Devon Carney: Journey is an understatement, seriously. [Laughs] It’s ongoing. The journey is not complete by any means. There was the interview process… Actually let me go back a little further when it comes to Kansas City sort of showing up on my horizon. There was the announcement that Bill [Whitener] was going to be resigning in a year. And I thought that was cool that Kansas City Ballet was going to make that extensive of a transitional period. I thought that was really great because it gave the company and the community time to kind of ingest this. I mean he’s been here for 17 years and that’s a long commitment level for an artist to stay put in one place for that many years. I respect him highly for dedicating that much of his artistic life to Kansas City, as did his predecessor. So to give it a year – that was the first thing I saw about Kansas City. I had already been following them on their Facebook page and I think they were one of the first cities, or first ballet companies, to have an app.

LV: I didn’t even know they had an app. I’ll have to check it out.

DC: There have been many more but Kansas City was one of the first ones. I was always getting apps trying to see the dance companies.

LV: So you’re tech savvy?

DC: Yeah, I love it. Ever since my high school years of – you probably won’t even know what this is. It’s when computers had tape, punch tape; the paper tape roles with all of the holes on it. That was the program and I thought it was the coolest, most high tech thing in the world. You put this piece of tape in here and click, click, click on an IBM. And of course, where we’ve gone from there is amazing.

To read more of this article, visit the KC Metropolis website.

2013 Dancer for a Day

Last week, children around the KC area in 1st, 2nd and 3rd grade spent the day here at the Bolender Center participating in this year’s Dancer for a Day. Part of our outreach and education program, this event is a great way to encourage participation in the arts. It’s also a fun and educational showcase of what it’s like being a dancer here at Kansas City Ballet!

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When the children arrived, they began their day with a dance class taught by one of our KCB School Instructors, Miss Tess. Following this fun activity, they were able to watch the company dancers while they were taking their morning technique class.

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They also took a trip down to our basement where our all of our production offices are located. They were able to view hundreds of costumes, along with our ‘shoe room’ and costume shop.

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The children even had the chance to hold a pointe shoe and learn more about these essential and important pieces of equipment for dancers.

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It was an exciting day filled with fun and educational activities – and everyone left the building with a smile on their face!

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To view more photos from this event, you can check out the photo gallery below!

KCB School: The Benefits of Dance

Skyler Taylor, KCB School Registrar and Instructor tells us about the many qualities you gain by being involved in dance and why Kansas City Ballet School is a wonderful and unique place to begin your training today.

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Q: What are the benefits of taking a ballet class?

A: First of all, it is fun!  Instructors at Kansas City Ballet make dancing and taking class enjoyable.  They are friendly and willing to help each student.  Ballet also has several benefits for the body, mind, and spirit.  It will give you confidence, coordination, strong and flexible muscles, and the desire to learn more.  Dance is a great way to lessen the stress from the day.  Come try a class today for free and see what we mean!

Q: What is special about Kansas City Ballet School?

A: At Kansas City Ballet School, most ballet classes have live music.  I love teaching and dancing to live music, because it is beautiful and inspiring.  We offer several styles of dance for teens and adults, so you will find a class and level that is right for you.

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Q: What do you hope our students accomplish in a year?

A: In the Academy Division, we have several goals for our students.  The Kansas City Ballet School syllabus is designed to help each dancer reach their full potential.  We also hope to help them grow as artists and give them performance opportunities to share their love for dance with others.

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Q: What are you looking forward to most this year?

A: I am really looking forward to teaching Level 3 Jazz this year.  For several of the students, this will be their first time experiencing Jazz.  I am excited to see them move in a new style and see their personalities come to life.
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If you are interested in learning more about the different classes KCB School has to offer, please visit our website. Our Academy classes offer opportunities for children between the ages of 3-19, and our Studio division offers a variety of fitness classes for adults of all ages. Call 816.931.2299 to speak with a KCB School staff member today!