Kansas City Ballet Patrons Society celebrated the end of a very successful 2017-2018 performance season with a cocktail reception on May 24 hosted at Roth Living. Attendees reminisced about Kansas City Ballet’s Diamond Jubilee Season, which featured the WORLD PREMIERE choreography of Devon Carney’s Romeo & Juliet, the Anniversary Dance Festival with six Kansas City premieres in two weekends featuring George Balanchine’s Diamonds and James Kudelka’s The Man in Black, and the WORLD PREMIERE choreography of Devon Carney’s Peter Pan.
“It‘s wonderful to watch our students grow technically and artistically as they prepare for YAGP,” KCB School Director Grace Holmes said. “Having something to work towards and an opportunity to share their hard work, contributes to students’ self-confidence. And our students are so supportive of each other – it shows how close-knit our Academy community is.”
More than 10,000 students from 31 countries who competed during the regional finals around the globe. Only 1,500 were invited to the finals in New York. Of these 800 were soloists of which KCBS happily had three, one made it to the final round: Poppy Trettel.
While KCBS students did not place at the national competition finals this year, three received scholarship offers from prestigious schools.
Hannah Zucht: Harid Conservatory
Simo Atanasov: Joffrey Ballet
Poppy Trettel: Canada’s National Ballet School
Shaping the Future
When asked about the event, Racheal Nye, principal and YAGP coordinator, said, “It’s great to see the growth in the kids by the end of the process, and see the school represented so well at an international event. I also really enjoy being inspired and motivated by other schools and seeing the talented students from around the world.”
Nye is proud of the way the KCBS students were kind and welcoming to other participants, and their professional attitudes. For example, the Baroque ensemble dancers were reviewing independently and had lined up at open stage to space before she even got there to look for them.
Every year Nye reads through the written performance critiques from the YAGP judges. Her goal is to incorporate these corrections into how she teaches all of her students going forward. She tries to approach the things she wants to fix by gearing the combinations to train the body to reflexively accomplish the move correctly. By looking at the experience as a whole, she attempts to answer these questions:
- What pieces/choreography seemed to do well?
- How prepared were the students and was there anything that she could do in advance that would make things run more smoothly?
- What could she learn about preparing better for the venue? Etc.
In doing so, the results from these competitions shape strategy for future years.
Related Blog Posts
Here are some links to past blog posts with similar topics:
On June 3, 2018, Kansas City Youth Ballet (KCYB) performed in the Rose Garden at Loose Park . The performance is part of an annual event for Kansas City Rose Society. For more than a decade, KCYB has provided entertainment for the Rose Day celebration. Other events that day include a children’s rose craft workshop, a jazz performance by Mighty MO, a Mayor’s Proclamation, and free ice cream, lemonade and bottled water for attendees.
No Divide KC will host an event at Kansas City Ballet’s Bolender Center on Saturday, June 30 from 1 to 4 p.m. called “We Move with You.” The event is open to all ages and especially families in the community and will focus on promoting ways kids and adults with developmental delays can add to the creative landscape of Kansas City. There is a $5 suggested donation.
What is We Move with You?
“We Move with You” is a festival that will include visual art exhibits by Imagine That Gallery and The Whole Person and interactive visual activities by No Divide KC in the Ellis Conference room and in studios 2 and 3. Performances both with and without audience participation in the Frost Studio Theater. Performances will include works from Kansas City Ballet School’s Adaptive Dance demonstrations, The Whole Person, Jen Owen from Owen/Cox Dance and more.
“I’ve wanted to do an event that highlights those with delays and disabilities for a while,” No Divide KC’s Board President Stacy Busch said.
“I have a nephew with autism. When I learned about the Adaptive Dance program, I thought this would be a great way to make something happen in a very positive way. KCBS offers lots of resources and we’re really excited to partner with them to host something in their home.”
No Divide KC is a nonprofit arts organization that creates artistic events that highlight various social causes, organizations, and issues. Using the arts as a vehicle for stimulating social awareness, participation, and community building, these performances help garner greater attention to these underserved social areas and bolster community acceptance and collaboration in Kansas City.
No Divide KC promotes warm and accepting spaces for all people. They’ve held benefit concerts combined with ways for local community organizations to recruit volunteers and spread awareness. They’ve also created documentaries that encouraged body positivity and also under represented female identifying people in our community. This fall they will create an exhibition and documentary in conjunction with the Johnson County Library that will feature local artists from multiple minority groups.
The Kansas City Ballet Guild held its annual Spring Luncheon on May 10th at Hallbrook Country Club. Peggy Beal and host Barbara Eiszner planned the lovely luncheon – Craig Sole provided the beautiful floral arrangements. President Gigi Rose recognized special guests, Carol and Tony Feiock, the Honorary Chairmen of the upcoming Emerald City Ball taking place on October 6, 2018. After guests were treated to a dance performance by Kansas City Ballet’s Second Company, Gigi introduced the 2018-2019 Guild Board and passed the gavel to her successor, incoming President Susan Meehan-Mizer.
Kansas City Ballet Guild is pleased to announce long-time supporters of the Kansas City Ballet and generous members of the Kansas City community Carol and Tony Feiock as Honorary Chairmen for The Emerald City Ball.
The Emerald City Ball
2018 Ballet Ball Honorary Chairmen, Carol and Tony Feiock, and Ball Chairman, Gigi Rose, are looking forward to an evening of cocktails, exquisite cuisine, and dancing on Saturday evening, October 6, 2018, at the InterContinental Kansas City At The Plaza. This year’s Ball will celebrate the Kansas City Ballet’s world premiere of Septime Webre’s The Wizard of Oz. The Emerald City Ball is presented by Kansas City Ballet Guild in support of Kansas City Ballet programs and scholarships.
Click for more information and to purchase tickets online.
Since 2000 Kansas City Ballet has provided an educational outreach program called Reach Out And Dance (R.O.A.D.) to elementary students using movement to enhance learning. The program has grown to become the centerpiece of KCB’s Community Engagement and Education.
WHAT IS R.O.A.D.?
Each week R.O.A.D. provides movement classes to hundreds of 3rd and 4th grade students in Missouri and Kansas elementary schools introducing children to the fundamentals of dance and integrating 21st century learning skills and curriculum. The program provides under-served and at-risk youth with a different learning paradigm through which they can experience success, develop self-discipline, and strive for personal excellence within and outside the school environment, all of which is demonstrated by post-program survey assessments.
THE R.O.A.D. SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM
This year brought the introduction of the R.O.A.D. Scholarship Program. Its goal is to enhance cultural awareness, foster creativity, strengthen critical thinking and problem solving skills, expose students to potential careers in dance, and to cultivate an appreciation for the art form.
The first phase of the program began in September 2017. Teaching artists impart different movement styles to students weekly and gauge their interest and ability. In the second phase, select students enter a tuition-free Dance Discovery program at Kansas City Ballet School from January through April. Transportation to and from KCBS, Ballet Fundamentals class plus Modern and Jazz classes, and necessary dance attire is provided at no cost to the student’s family. The third phase is planned for summer when these same students will be provided tuition-free summer classes at KCBS.
“We are so excited to offer this new comprehensive program that will create a broader reach and make dance even more accessible to students who might not have had the opportunity to participate in this way before,” KCB Community Engagement and Education Manager April Berry said. “Our research shows this program not only helps students with their school curriculum, like geography, math and social studies, but it leaves many with a boost in confidence to help them succeed. Principals and teachers have raved about the effects of this new program and we are thrilled to have 80+ students who have completed their fist year of the program. R.O.A.D. Scholars will attend KCB’s Peter Pan performance this weekend as part of the program.”
A DONOR WITH HEART
For more than 32 years, Dance Shoppe, Inc. has served as the number one supplier of dance wear in Kansas City, Mo. Opened in 1985, they have always stayed true to their commitment to high quality dance apparel and, because of this, they have had the distinct honor of serving dancers throughout their careers.
This season Susan Bibbs, Owner of Dance Shoppe, donated all of the dance wear for KCB’s new R.O.A.D. Scholarship Program.
Maybe it’s because she grew up in a small town in Western Kansas where community is second nature, where people help one another however they can. Or, maybe it’s from all the support that Bibbs and her business have received throughout the last three decades. Now she feels it’s her time to ‘Pay It Forward’. She is thankful she is in a position where she can give back and make a difference.
“The right outfit is everything… Like a baseball player needs a glove, so does a dancer need the proper dance attire. Not just for ease and freedom in movement that dance wear provides but for the total picture, it’s the completion, a mind-set,” Bibbs said. “After all these years, it still amazes me to see the excitement on the faces of kids when they get their first pair of dance shoes.”
Bibbs was excited to offer assistance to the program. “I feel our part is simple compared to what all is entailed in the organization of this project. The coordination of the students, the schools, the transportation, etc. is mind boggling,” she said.
April Berry couldn’t be happier to be part of this partnership: “A generous gift of this nature is invaluable to our ROAD scholarship program. Providing these deserving and talented children with these outfits not only serves them physically but helps improve self-esteem by showing they belong and that their community cares about them.”
On Wednesday, May 16, Jeffrey Bentley received the Nonprofit Professional of the Year award at the the 34th Annual Philanthropy Awards Luncheon hosted by Nonprofit Connect. He was nominated by Kansas City Ballet Board President Kathy Stepp and Kansas City Ballet Chief Development Officer Jennifer Wampler.
“Jeff continues to innovate and fulfill the organizational mission to establish Kansas City Ballet as an indispensable asset in the Kansas City community.” —Kathy Stepp, Stepp & Rothwell
Please leave your congratulations messages for Jeff in the comments section.
Several Patrons’ Society members embarked on a weekend excursion May 4-6, 2018 to see Tulsa Ballet’s Signature Series featuring three thought-provoking works. Each ballet reminded audiences of the dangers in allowing history to repeat itself, and inspired them to keep moving forward.
- Kurt Jooss’ classic 1932 The Green Table is a powerful statement on war that continues to remain provocative and relevant today.
- Rassemblement (which translates to “gathering”) is Nacho Duato’s moving look at the “liberating powers of music and dance” as related to human rights issues.
- And, an exciting new work called Glass Figures by Resident Choreographer and audience favorite Ma Cong.
While in Tulsa the group had dinner with Ma Cong at Dalessandro’s where he decribed his inspiration and motivation for his piece. He met the group before the show as well.
The next day the group also visited the Gilcrease Museum which houses the world’s largest and most comprehensive collection of art and artifacts of the American West and the Philbrook Museum of Art (where these photos were taken) an art museum in the historic home of Waite and Genevieve Phillips with expansive formal gardens located in Tulsa, Oklahoma featuring two locations.
If you are interested in joining the Patrons’ Society or making an individual donation, please contact Brent Kimmi at firstname.lastname@example.org or 816.216.5608.
Originally from Iowa, where she began her dance training, Layne-Mulhern’s family moved to Kansas City in 2001. She continued her training at Somerset Ballet Centre (SBC) in Prairie Village. SBC was acquired by Kansas City Ballet School (KCBS) as a second campus the following year. Two of her teachers that first year were Kimberly Cowen and Maureen Hall. Cowen danced with Kansas City Ballet for 20 years before retiring in 2012 to join the faculty of Kansas City Ballet School and Hall is still a member of KCBS’s faculty. Two other major influences from the KCB were former principal dancers under Todd Bolender, Lisa Thorn Vinzant and Sean Duus. Thorn Vinzant is now Ballet Master for Orlando Ballet and Duus still teaches at KCBS in addition to working in the KCB Community Engagement and Education Department.
Layne-Mulhern started teaching dance as a teenager, and taught her first class at KCBS when she was in her early 20s. “Teaching just seemed very natural,” she says.
Expanding Dance Education
As an aspiring dancer in her 20s, Layne-Mulhern performed with some of the smaller KC dance companies but also moved to New York for a couple of years to pursue performing opportunities as a freelance dancer.
Other very formative experiences as a ballet teacher came about while she was living in New York. Layne-Mulhern completed American Ballet Theatre’s ballet teacher training program for all levels of ballet students, became a certified Pilates instructor, and attended an intensive anatomy workshop at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. “All of those things helped me grow exponentially as a teaching artist, and I still draw on those experiences, while continuing to build on them as much as possible. I definitely strive to be a lifelong learner,” she says.
When she returned from New York, she came back to teaching at KCBS.
Teaching in the Academy
Over the years, Layne-Mulhern has taught every level of the Academy at KCBS, either as a regular teacher or a sub, but she currently teaches ballet, pre-pointe, pointe, and conditioning for Levels 3, 4, and 5. “Those three levels are so formative – the students have a solid foundation of knowledge, but they’re still learning new steps and perfecting many aspects of their technique,” she says. “They’re also rapidly developing as artists in these levels, and unlocking so much potential. It’s an exciting time for them as students, and it’s very inspiring to have the privilege of being their teacher. I expect a lot from myself as a teacher, and I expect a lot from my students; I want all of us to give 110% every class, every day.”
Teaching in the Studio Division
Adult classes are different. Layne-Mulhern tries to make ballet as accessible as possible in adult classes. “Ballet is absolutely for everyone. I like to say in my beginning ballet classes that you’re not going to just walk into your first class or two or three and be anywhere near perfect, and that’s really okay. Ballet is like so many other worthwhile challenges – learning to play an instrument, learning to speak a foreign language – it takes time, work, and repetition to figure it out and move forward,” she says.
What does she enjoy about sharing ballet with students? “I find so much happiness in it, and I want to give that to other people,” Layne-Mulhern says. “I believe that dance will always be relevant and important. It has so much beauty and integrity and joy to offer the world, and the world will always need those things.”
Want to try her class?
Interested in taking an adult studio class with Taryn Layne-Mulhern? Check out the upcoming schedules here.