Event Recap: BARRE Afterhours

Barre Afterhours at BBBS on April 14, 2018. Photo by Karen Badgett.
Barre Afterhours at BBBS on April 14, 2018. Photo by Karen Badgett.

Following Kansas City Ballet’s The Man in Black program at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, more than 75 people attended the BARRE Afterhours at Big Brothers Big Sisters Kansas City on Saturday, April 14, 2018. Dancers from Kansas City Ballet also attended. Guests enjoyed delicious pasta from Lidia’s Kansas City and fabulous beer from KC Bier Co. A special thank you goes out to each of the sponsors:

          

We’re currently looking for new BARRE KC Board Members to serve for the 2018-2019 season. Please click here to apply online.

 

PARTY PICS

Second Company Members attending BARRE Afterhours at BBBS. Photo by Karen Badgett.
Second Company Members attending BARRE Afterhours at BBBS. Photo by Karen Badgett.
BARRE Afterhours at BBBS. Photo by Karen Badgett.
BARRE Afterhours at BBBS. Photo by Karen Badgett.
BARRE Afterhours at BBBS. Photo by Karen Badgett.
BARRE Afterhours at BBBS. Photo by Karen Badgett.
BARRE Afterhours at BBBS. Photo by Karen Badgett.
BARRE Afterhours at BBBS. Photo by Karen Badgett.
BARRE Afterhours at BBBS. Photo by Karen Badgett.
BARRE Afterhours at BBBS. Photo by Karen Badgett.

 

Trainee Profile: Madison Mackenzy Braaksma

KCB Trainee Madison Braaksma. Photography by Savanna Daniels.
KCB Trainee Madison Braaksma. Photography by Savanna Daniels.

Originally from Atlanta, Madison Mackenzy Braaksma joined Kansas City Ballet as a Trainee for the 2017-2018 season. This is her first season as a Trainee.

Q: how did you become a dancer? WHEN DID YOU START DANCING?

A: Well, when I was little my mom put me into creative movement class. When I was 7, I got involved with Irish dance. I began competing and got very serious. At 13, I started to take private ballet lessons to help strengthen my Irish dancing and fell in love with ballet.

Q: what do you enjoy most about being a dancer?

A: Performance! Definitely being on the stage and performing in front of people is what I enjoy most.

Q: AS A PROFESSIONAL ATHLETE WHAT MAKES UP YOUR DIET AND FITNESS ROUTINE?

A: I cross train in the mornings before going to rehearsal. As far as diet, I eat low carb, low dairy, lots of fruits, and lots of veggies. But I do have a sweet tooth.

2018 Ballet Ball Chair Announced

Chairman Gigi Rose and Gary Rose. Photographer Larry F. Levenson
Chairman Gigi Rose and Gary Rose. Photographer Larry F. Levenson

Kansas City Ballet Guild will hold its annual gala on October 6th at the InterContinental Kansas City at the Plaza. Gigi Rose is serving as chair of the event that will kick off the Kansas City Ballet season. The theme, “The Emerald City Ball”, will commemorate the Ballet’s world premiere The Wizard of Oz which opens October 12th.

The recipient of the Guild’s Pirouette Award will be announced at the Ball.  This award is presented annually to an individual whose extraordinary volunteer efforts have benefited the Kansas City Ballet and the performing arts community.

Proceeds from the gala support the Kansas City Ballet and Kansas City Ballet School.

Underwriters and Benefactors

With gratitude for your support, Emerald City Ball Underwriters and Benefactors will enjoy a splendid pre-dinner reception in the InterContinental’s rooftop ballroom prior to entering the Emerald City.

Additionally, sponsors at the Table Host level and above on Tuesday, October 16 will experience an evening of dinner, music and dance among the never-before-seen sets of The Wizard of Oz on the stage of the Muriel Kauffman Theatre at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.

Learn more about becoming an underwriter or benefactor of the Ballet Ball here. Single tickets will go on sale in August 2018.

Dancer Profile: Charles Martin

Charles Martin joined Kansas City Ballet in 2007 just in time to celebrate Kansas City Ballet’s 50th Anniversary. He’s now in his 11th season with the company.

Q: WHEN DID YOU START DANCING?

A: My mom owned a dance studio and I was always there dancing around, so I started classes at age 3.

Q: WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT BEING A DANCER?

A: Getting to express things that words can not.

Dancer: Charles Martin. Photography: Brett Pruitt & East Market Studios.
Dancer: Charles Martin. Photography: Brett Pruitt & East Market Studios.

Q: DO YOU HAVE HOBBIES OR SPECIAL INTERESTS?

A: I love doing hair and makeup!

Q: DO YOU HAVE A PERSONAL MANTRA?

A: Work hard, even when it’s hard work.

Q: IF YOU FIND YOU HAVE AN UNEXPECTED HOUR FREE, WHAT WOULD BE YOUR IDEAL WAY TO SPEND IT AND WHY?

A: Meditating, stretching or taking a nap.

Dancer Profile: Danielle Bausinger

Danielle Bausinger joined Kansas City Ballet at the start of the 2014-2015 season.

Q: WHEN DID YOU START DANCING?

A: My mom loved ballet but never danced professionally. So she helped at a local dance studio. My sister went into lessons and then I followed her lead once I turned 3.

Q: WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT BEING A DANCER?

A: There is no feeling in the world like performing! Putting your emotions through your movement and to music is something magical in this world that can’t be replicated.

KCB Dancer Danielle Bausinger as evil fairy Carabosse in "The Sleeping Beauty." Photography: Brett Pruitt & East Market Studios.
KCB Dancer Danielle Bausinger evil fairy Carabosse in “The Sleeping Beauty.” Photography: Brett Pruitt & East Market Studios.

Q: DO YOU HAVE HOBBIES OR SPECIAL INTERESTS?

A: I love to go to movies and I enjoy going to the driving range every now and then.

Q: DO YOU HAVE A PERSONAL MANTRA?

A: Work hard, even when it’s hard work.

Q: IF YOU FIND YOU HAVE AN UNEXPECTED HOUR FREE, WHAT WOULD BE YOUR IDEAL WAY TO SPEND IT AND WHY?

A: I rest and recoup. I do better when my body has had some down time. If I keep going and running errands and such, I don’t have the stamina in my legs to push when I get too tired.

Dance Festival: Why Dancers are Excited

Kansas City Ballet’s 60th Anniversary Dance Festival kicks off Friday, April 6 and runs through April 15. Find out why our dancers are excited for these upcoming programs.

 

Angelina Sansone | Company Dancer Since 2005

“I am happy to be sharing my 13th and final season with Kansas City Ballet’s 60th anniversary.

As many dancers would agree, Working on Jiří Kylián movement has always been something I’ve wanted to do before I retire.  I’ve been inspired by Andrea Schermoly’s work for some time as well, but this entire program is jam packed with moments I’m excited for. I love mixed rep programs. It allows us to be in the studio working on so many different things, with multiple stagers and choreographers. We are constantly changing gears and pushing ourselves mentally and physically.

Over my career the KC audiences have watched me change and learn, trying on many styles and adapting to different characters. They’ve seen me with everything stripped away, vulnerable, joyful, scared, strong, passionate… a dancer and a human. I honestly just can’t wait to get out there on that stage, give my all, dance unabashedly, and go on that ride with my fellow dancers, the musicians, and the audiences. Happy 60th!!!!” Bio

 

Whitney Huell | Company Dancer Since 2014

The Man in Black is the ballet I’m most looking forward to performing. I’ve never done a ballet in boots before! It’s also rare to remain onstage for an entire ballet.  I’m thrilled to experience the connection between four dancers onstage creating movement to six cover songs by Johnny Cash. The rehearsal process has been eye opening for me and I’ve learned how to move my body in many new and fulfilling ways.” Bio

 

James Kirby Rogers | Company Dancer Since 2016

“Truthfully this 60th Anniversary Dance Festival has been a dream come true for me. I have wanted to dance Petite Mort since I was 14 years old. I remember watching the iconic video for the first time and being in rapture. The simplicity of the piece, the cohesiveness of the props, music and choreography blew me away. Each element intermingled to form something that even through a small computer screen was mesmerizing. Now I have the chance to make it my own which is an incredible gift. If that wasn’t enough I remember when I was a student in Houston Ballet Academy watching a video of Stanton Welch’s Play and thinking how it looked like pure fun. I am honored to get to perform the pas de deux in Play and dance to music that I personally love and listen to regularly.” Bio

 

Marisa Whiteman | KCB II, Kansas City Ballet Second Company

“I have been very excited about rehearsing Play because it brings me back to growing up in New York City, surrounded by the hustle and bustle of city life with everyone going about their daily routines. The work is set to music by Moby, and the music helps take you on a journey of feelings and emotions throughout the ballet. You are going to love it!” Bio

 

Georgia Fuller | First Year | Trainee, Kansas City Ballet Second Company

“What I am most excited about for the Anniversary Dance Festival is the diverse repertoire being presented. The varied and eclectic dance styles in the program really show off the many strengths of Kansas City Ballet’s company dancers. I especially love the contrast between the very intimate and contemporary Petite Mort verses the very classical and elegant Balanchine’s Diamonds. I look forward to seeing these beautiful pieces take the stage and leave the audience awestruck!”

 

It’s not too late to get tickets or learn more about the Diamonds (April 6-8) or The Man in Black (April 13-15).

 

Photography by Tom Styrkowicz of 53 Studio.

 

Devon Carney Talks Dance Festival

Dear Dance Enthusiast,

This is a very exciting time in the history of Kansas City Ballet. How wonderful to say we are 60 years old—celebrating our age, maturity and staying power in the cultural landscape of KC! So, in honor of our 60th I’ve brought together six incredible, challenging and inspiring works for our KCB artists to perform. These ballets represent the incredible diversity of works in the field of dance and help showcase the talents within our current assemblage of world-class artists.

Kansas City Ballet Dancers Angelina Sansone and Liang Fu rehearse a world premiere by Andrea Schermoly. Photography: Elizabeth Stehling.
Kansas City Ballet Dancers Angelina Sansone and Liang Fu rehearse a world premiere by Andrea Schermoly. Photography: Elizabeth Stehling.

Given a dancer’s career is only so long, it’s important to seize opportunities to perform a variety of ballets to experience it all, or as much as one can! This diverse collection of works in a compact time period is just that chance. Performing both Jirí Kylián’s Petite Mort and also the highly regarded Balanchine’s Diamonds is a treat, then to turn around and dance contemporary work like James Kudelka’s The Man in Black and Stanton Welch’s Play is incredible, but that’s not to mention the thrill of being in on the creative genesis of two new works from Matthew Neenan and Andrea Schermoly. This will be two weekends for the books!

Kansas City Ballet Dancer Michael Davis rehearsing The Man In Black. Choreography by James Kudelka. Photography: Elizabeth Stehling.
Kansas City Ballet Dancer Michael Davis rehearsing The Man In Black. Choreography by James Kudelka. Photography: Elizabeth Stehling.

As an audience member, these experiences can equate to a fabulous banquet where you find lots of
tasty treats to delight your palate. This magnificent variety of dance has been produced in the latter 20th century right up until today. What’s more… all but one of these choreographers are still living. I applaud you for taking a risk to see this program. The payoff can be priceless: enjoying more entertainment diversity, developing a deeper love and appreciation of dance and being able to share that personal experience with those close to you. Thank you for trusting us and earning your hypothetical dance pioneer badge.

Kudos to our dancers for their extraordinary efforts in presenting this series. It’s an arduous undertaking for us and unprecedented for our company to tackle six works in this short amount of time. But we believe the risk is worth it. The dancers are thrilled and we think you will be, too!

Kansas City Ballet Dancers Taryn Mejia and Michael Davis rehearse Petite Mort. Choreography by Jiří Kylián. Photography: Elizabeth Stehling.
Kansas City Ballet Dancers Taryn Mejia and Michael Davis rehearse Petite Mort. Choreography by Jiří Kylián. Photography: Elizabeth Stehling.

Yours,
Devon Carney, Artistic Director

Dancer Profile: Kaleena Burks

Kaleena Burks has been a Kansas City Ballet dancer since the 2010-2011 season.

Q: WHEN DID YOU START DANCING?

A: I started ballet when I was 3 years old. My mother enrolled me in dance because she also danced as a child.

Q: WHAT IS SOMETHING MOST PEOPLE WOULDN’T KNOW ABOUT YOU?

A: I’m obsessed with all things vintage. I love going to the West Bottoms to antique shop!

Dancer Kaleena Burks in rehearsal of Diamonds for the Anniversary Dance Festival. Photography by Elizabeth Stehling.
Dancer Kaleena Burks in rehearsal of Diamonds for the Anniversary Dance Festival. Photography by Elizabeth Stehling.

Q: WHAT ARE MOST PEOPLE SURPRISED TO LEARN ABOUT YOUR JOB AS A DANCER?

A: That we literally dance all day! We have an atypical 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (in our case 6 p.m.) job, but we are up and moving for all of those hours.

Q: DO YOU HAVE A PERSONAL MANTRA?

A: I always tell myself when I’m having a rough day or feeling exhausted that I will be out of my funk—a sort of “This too shall pass” mentality.

Q: IF YOU FIND YOU HAVE AN UNEXPECTED HOUR FREE, WHAT WOULD BE YOUR IDEAL WAY TO SPEND IT AND WHY?

A: When I do have the rare hour off, you can usually find me in a studio sewing pointe shoes. I like to watch my colleagues dance, and I always need more sewn shoes.

Guild Book Club

When is a book club more than a book club? When it’s organized by Mark Sappington.

Sappington has filled many roles with Kansas City Ballet over the years including Board President and Member, Guild President, former chair of the Patrons Society, Bolender Center Campaign Co-chair, and longtime subscriber and donor. His most recent position is leader of the Guild’s Book Club/Movie Nights. The Guild is a group of over 180 members who serve as advocates for dance and ballet in the Kansas City community.

This year the Guild’s book club had five books on their list and for each one, Sappington arranged for some additional educational component or special guest to be part of the discussion.

“I believe you have to provide different portals of entry for ballet. This is a way of reaching out to people who are interested in exploring the history of dance,” Sappington says.

JULY: A BIOGRAPHY OF SERGEI PAVLOVICH DIAGHILEV

Last July, the group started off by choosing their own books about Sergei Pavlovich Diaghilev the Russian art critic, patron, ballet impresario and founder of the Ballets Russes. They ranged from art picture books to various biographies. “It was fascinating to see which books people chose and to discuss the life of this ballet aficionado.”

SEPTEMBER: NO WAY HOME

In September, they read No Way Home by Carlos Acosta. Acosta, a Cuban dancer, was considered to be one of the world’s greatest performers. He began life in the slums of Havana before grueling hard work took him around the world. It is his story of the price he paid for success. It was noted that former Kansas City Ballet dancer Juan Pablo Trujillo was friends with Carlos Acosta.

NOVEMBER: THE PAINTED GIRLS

The Painted Girls by Cathy Marie Buchanan from 2014 was the choice for November. This historical novel about two sisters her served as muse for Edgar Degas, touched on ballet in a different setting in 1878 Paris. As part of the discussion, the book club took a special tour of Degas’ sculptures and drawings of ballet dancers that was on display recently at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, led by Nelson-Atkins docent and KCB Guild Member Barb Nicely.

JANUARY: APOLLO’S ANGELS: A HISTORY OF BALLET

The history of ballet was revealed in Apollo’s Angels: A History of Ballet by Jennifer Homans. Homans is an historian, critic and former professional ballerina devoted to all things ballet. As part of the discussion, Kansas City Ballet Music Director Ramona Pansegrau joined the group and shared her wealth of knowledge about amazing historical stories.

MARCH: THE MASTER’S MUSE

Guild Book Club at Emilie's French Teas to discuss "The Master's Muse" by Varley O'Connor.
Guild Book Club at Emilie’s French Teas to discuss “The Master’s Muse” by Varley O’Connor.

In March the group discussed The Master’s Muse by Varley O’Connor—a novel about the love affair between George Balanchine and Tanaquil Le Clercq. In 1956, Tanny is a gorgeous young ballerina at the top of her game and married to the legendary Balanchine. She falls ill and loses the ability to walk. Kansas City Ballet Archives revealed a letter from Tanny to Kansas City Ballet’s former Artistic Director Todd Bolender she’d dictated to her mother around the time of her illness. Several Guild members also shared their interactions with Tanny and others mentioned in the book.

MAY: WHEN BALLET BECAME FRENCH

The final book in this season’s lineup is When Ballet Became French by Ilyana Karthas, associate professor at the University of Columbia. The book explores the correlation between ballet and French nationalism. The author will attend the discussion in May.

WANT TO JOIN?

Interested in joining the Guild Book Club? Become a Guild Member. Click here to learn more and to join.

Trainee Profile: Emma Fridenmaker

KCB Trainee Emma Fridenmaker. Photography by Savanna Daniels.
KCB Trainee Emma Fridenmaker. Photography by Savanna Daniels.

Originally from Villa Hills, Ky. just outside of Cincinnati, Emma Fridenmaker joined Kansas City Ballet as a Trainee for the 2017-2018 season. This is her first season as a Trainee.

Q: how did you become a dancer? WHEN DID YOU START DANCING?

A: It has always been my dream to dance professionally for as long as I can remember. I wanted to dance because my older sister danced and I wanted to be just like her. So, when I started preschool, I took the ballet class they offered there. Then the following year, I started my training at Cincinnati Ballet.

Q: what do you enjoy most about being a dancer?

A: I enjoy performing. I love being on stage and being able to really embody a character. I also enjoy the bond that is created between all the dancers.

Q: do you have hobbies or special interests?

A: I really enjoy making jewelry—back home, my best friend and I would make and sell jewelry to the kids in the Nutcracker cast. I also love baking. My specialty is chocolate chip cookies.

Q: WHAT ARE MOST PEOPLE SURPRISED TO LEARN ABOUT YOUR JOB AS A DANCER?

A: It is life consuming. Everything revolves around your future and your career.

Q: DO YOU HAVE A PERSONAL MANTRA?

A: Be an encourager. The world already has enough critics.