Event Recap: The Emerald City Ball

Honorary Chairmen Mr. and Mrs. W. Anthony Feiock, Mr. and Mrs. Gary Rose, Executive Director Mr. Jeffrey J. Bentley. Photography by Larry F. Levenson.
Honorary Chairmen Mr. and Mrs. W. Anthony Feiock, Mr. and Mrs. Gary Rose, Executive Director Mr. Jeffrey J. Bentley. Photography by Larry F. Levenson.

On Saturday, October 6, the Kansas City Ballet Guild presented the Emerald City Ball, a celebration of Kansas City Ballet’s world premiere of Septime Webre’s The Wizard of Oz, at the beautiful InterContinental Kansas City At The Plaza. Guests enjoyed a lively cocktail party, delicious cuisine, breathtaking decor by Larry Wheeler and Craig Sole Designs, crowd-pleasing entertainment by Michael Beers Band, and a spectacular runway show featuring the fashions of Oz narrated by costume designer Liz Vandal. Gigi Rose chaired the event. Carol and W. Anthony Feiock, whose involvement with Kansas City Ballet has been long and noteworthy, served as honorary chairman. Guild President Susan Meehan-Mizer and Kansas City Ballet Executive Director Jeffrey J. Bentley presented the 2018 Pirouette Award to Frank Byrne, executive director of the Kansas City Symphony, for his outstanding contribution to the performing arts.

EVENT PHOTOS

Mr. and Mrs. Leonard Cohen, Mr. Devon Carney, Ms. Liz Vandal. Photography by Larry F. Levenson.
Mr. and Mrs. Leonard Cohen, Mr. Devon Carney, Ms. Liz Vandal. Photography by Larry F. Levenson.
Mrs. John Walker, Trainee Miss Leah Upchurch, Mr. John Walker, Trainee Miss Juliana Kuhm. Photography by Larry F. Levenson
Mrs. John Walker, Trainee Miss Leah Upchurch, Mr. John Walker, Trainee Miss Juliana Kuhm. Photography by Larry F. Levenson
Ms. Kristina Klug, Ms. Kim Stevens, Mrs. Cliff Illig, Ms. Kathy Fallon, Ms. Collette Harrison, Ms. Sandy Pummill, Ms. Charmaine Pummill, Ms. Rachel Thompson, Ms. Leah FitzGerald, Ms. Gretchen FitzGerald. Photography by Larry F. Levenson.
Ms. Kristina Klug, Ms. Kim Stevens, Mrs. Cliff Illig, Ms. Kathy Fallon, Ms. Collette Harrison, Ms. Sandy Pummill, Ms. Charmaine Pummill, Ms. Rachel Thompson, Ms. Leah FitzGerald, Ms. Gretchen FitzGerald. Photography by Larry F. Levenson.
Beautiful ambiance, floral by Mr. Larry Wheeler and Mr. Craig Sole. Photography by Larry F. Levenson.
Beautiful ambiance, floral by Mr. Larry Wheeler and Mr. Craig Sole. Photography by Larry F. Levenson.
Mr. Ian Spinks, Ms. Juliette Singer, Mr. and Mrs. Bill Dondlinger, Mr. and Mrs. Gary Rose, Chairwoman, Mr. Septime Weber, Mr. and Mrs. Randy Downing. Photography by Larry F. Levenson.
Mr. Ian Spinks, Ms. Juliette Singer, Mr. and Mrs. Bill Dondlinger, Mr. and Mrs. Gary Rose, Chairwoman, Mr. Septime Weber, Mr. and Mrs. Randy Downing. Photography by Larry F. Levenson.
Costume Fashion Show announced by Costume Designer Liz Vandal (middle). Members of Kansas City Ballet's Second Company walked the runway. Photography by Larry F. Levenson
Costume Fashion Show announced by Costume Designer Liz Vandal (middle). Members of Kansas City Ballet’s Second Company walked the runway. Photography by Larry F. Levenson
KCB Trainee Mr. Jeremy Hanson, Company dancer Ms. Tempe Ostergren, Mr. and Mrs. Josh Rowland, Mr. and Mrs. Jim Stowers, Mr. and Mrs. Bill Parkerson, Mr. and Mrs. Spencer Jones, Mr. and Mrs. Bill Esrey. Photography by Larry F. Levenson.
KCB Trainee Mr. Jeremy Hanson, Company dancer Ms. Tempe Ostergren, Mr. and Mrs. Josh Rowland, Mr. and Mrs. Jim Stowers, Mr. and Mrs. Bill Parkerson, Mr. and Mrs. Spencer Jones, Mr. and Mrs. Bill Esrey. Photography by Larry F. Levenson.
Executive Director Mr. Jeffrey J. Bentley, Pirouette Award Winner Mr. Frank Byrne, Ballet Guild President Ms. Susan Meehan-Mizer. Photography by Larry F. Levenson.
Executive Director Mr. Jeffrey J. Bentley, Pirouette Award Winner Mr. Frank Byrne, Ballet Guild President Ms. Susan Meehan-Mizer. Photography by Larry F. Levenson.

 

Photography by Larry F. Levenson

2018-19 Trainee Dancer Profile: Jeremy Hanson

Meet Kansas City Ballet Trainee and Second Company Dancer, Jeremy Hanson. Jeremy attended Kansas City Ballet School and graduated last spring. He was offered a position as a Trainee for the 2018-19 Season. Trainees and KCB II Dancers make up Kansas City Ballet’s Second Company.

Jeremy is the puppeteer for Toto in Kansas City Ballet’s performances of The Wizard of Oz at the Kauffman Center now through Sunday, Oct. 21st.

Q: TELL US WHY YOU BeCAME A DANCEr.

A: My mom is the owner of my dance studio back home, so naturally, she made me take a variety of dance classes from a very young age. At first I hated the idea of dancing to the point where she had to bribe me with snacks if I was able to complete a full dance class, but eventually, my passion and love for the art form grew into what it is today.

Company Dancer Amanda DeVenuta and Second Company Dancer Jeremy Hanson in The Wizard of Oz. Photography by Brett Pruitt & East Market Studios.
Company Dancer Amanda DeVenuta and Second Company Dancer Jeremy Hanson in The Wizard of Oz. Photography by Brett Pruitt & East Market Studios.

Q: WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO WHEN YOU’RE NOT DANCING?

A: I love taking photos and videos and especially love editing them and making them into something that shows off my creativity. It’s another way I love to express myself and try to do it as often as I can when I’m not dancing.

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

A: The umbilical cord was wrapped around my neck twice when I was born. My mom had to go off sugar completely because the doctors were very worried I wouldn’t be able to slip through when I was finally born. I’m very fortunate to be alive today, much less being as fortunate as I am to be doing what I love every day.

Q: WHAT IS YOUR GUILTY PLEASURE?

A: Hip-Hop. I started out my passion for dancing in a completely different genre than Ballet. When I can I try to go take Hip-Hop classes or try to teach classes because I do miss it. I found my love for Ballet specifically only a couple of years ago. Although my love for it continues to grow more and more each day, I do still miss my roots and my first love when it comes to dancing.

Q: WHAT IS THE BEST LIFE ADVICE YOU’VE RECEIVED AND WHY?

A: “Everything happens for a reason.” This is something I live by. It really helps me get through the tough times and makes me see the positive in almost every situation.

 

Top Photo by Savanna Daniels

2018-19 KCB II Dancer Profile: Samantha Huebner

Meet Kansas City Ballet KCB II Dancer, Samantha Huebner. She’s danced as a Trainee with Kansas City Ballet for two years. This year she’s moved up to KCB II.

Q: TELL US WHY YOU BeCAME A DANCEr.

A: I became a dancer at the age of 3 because my mom needed another way for me to get rid of some extra energy! But I think as I became older, I chose to continue to pursue becoming a dancer because I fell in love with the work it requires. I love the feeling when I work really hard on something and it finally pays off. And, of course, I love the feeling and fun that comes with being on stage!

Q: WHAT QUESTION DO YOU GET ASKED THE MOST AS A DANCER?

A: The question, or statement, I get most often is: “Oh, so you probably have to watch what you eat, huh?” I always laugh and say that just like any other athlete in the world, we need food to fuel our bodies so that we can work. If I didn’t eat, I couldn’t dance, let alone perform! I eat when I am hungry. If I have cravings then I guess that’s what I’m having for dinner!

New Moves 2017. Samantha Huebner is front and center. Photography by Brett Pruitt and East Market Studios.
New Moves 2017. Samantha Huebner is front and center. Photography by Brett Pruitt and East Market Studios.

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

A: I aspire to be a personal trainer when my ballet career comes to an end (hopefully far far in the future). I worked with a personal trainer this past summer and I fell in love with it all! She was so inspiring to me and I want to learn all I can from her and try to inspire others in the way she has inspired me.

Q: WHAT WAS THE BEST DANCING OR LIFE ADVICE YOU EVER RECEIVED AND WHY?

A: Your moods are contagious. Whenever you walk through the door of the studio, you have the chance to determine how you want people to respond to you. The energy you give off, is the energy that will come back to you. Moods are contagious. Bring positive energy into a room.

Q: HOW DO YOU STAY FIT AND HEALTHY OUTSIDE OF THE STUDIO?

A: Eat and sleep!! Those are so important in my eyes. If I don’t eat enough, I get really sleepy. If I don’t sleep enough, I get really irritable and cranky. I find that if I’m lacking in either one of these two things, my body starts shutting down in a way, physically and mentally as well. Of course I like to go to the gym and workout a bit but I have to eat and sleep or else I’d be a mess.

PAST PROFILE POSTS

Trainee Profile: Samantha Huebner

Top Photo by Brett Pruitt & East Market Studios

Devon Carney Talks Oz

From Devon Carney, Artistic Director:

There are films, plays, musicals, and all methods of performing arts disciplines telling this story of The Wizard of Oz. We are bringing a magical interpretation of L. Frank Baum’s incredible tale to life in dance form.

I’m so glad so many of you will be with us to witness this production on its world premiere run, right here in KC. This project is an elaborate collaboration between three North American ballet companies, Kansas City Ballet, Colorado Ballet and Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet. Our combined efforts gave life to this uniquely whimsical experience for audiences and dancers alike.

Kansas City Ballet is honored to first perform the highly anticipated world premiere. It took an amazingly talented team of world class designers to produce this fresh, unique interpretation of a renowned piece of literature. Giving our dancers the chance to perform roles they’ve known since childhood is a remarkable treat.

That said, I’m excited for you to meet Dorothy Gale. The Wizard of Oz is her story. She’s the pivotal character—and what a character she is! A strong young lady full of courage and gumption, she doesn’t let anyone or anything stand in her way.

Courage, compassion, wisdom. Our Dorothy has all three. In short, she’s inspiring.

Dorothy is open to adventure and to making new friends. An adventurous spirit leads one to discover a bigger, broader world. In the end, though, home is where the heart yearns to be.

We hope you enjoy this stellar production and that you feel at home with us.

 

Top Photo by Brett Pruitt & East Market Studios

2018-19 Dancer Profile: Danielle Bausinger

Meet Kansas City Ballet Company Dancer, Danielle Bausinger. She’s danced with KCB since the 2014-15 season and will soon be dancing the lead role of the Wicked Witch of the West in Septime Webre’s world premiere of The Wizard of Oz at the Kauffman Center Oct. 12-21, 2018.

Q: TELL US WHY YOU BeCAME A DANCEr.

A: My mom loved to dance and worked at a local dance studio in New Jersey. So my sister and brothers all went to dance classes and I joined. We moved to California where I continued ballet, tap and jazz and at age 6 I decided I just wanted to focus on ballet to become a ballerina.

Q: WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO WHEN YOU’RE NOT DANCING?

A: I enjoy golfing, going to the movies, and spending time with my husband and dog.

Dancer: Danielle Bausinger. Photography: Kenny Johnson. Story lines and visual elements from the classic motion picture provided by Warner Bros. Theatre Ventures.
Dancer: Danielle Bausinger. Photography: Kenny Johnson.
Story lines and visual elements from the classic motion picture provided by Warner Bros. Theatre Ventures.

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

A: I love all things Disney! I have been to every Disney park except Tokoyo. Disney movies always send good messages and life lessons even in their “fantasy” world.

Q: WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE SNACK?

A: I always like to have a cup of tea at lunch. It keeps my body warm and it relaxes my muscles.

Q: WHAT IS YOUR GUILTY PLEASURE AND WHY?

A: I love Elevé leotards. I can’t go in the store without coming out with a leo or an idea for a new custom one. They make me feel pretty while I’m dancing and they are very comfortable.

PAST PROFILE POSTS

Dancer Profile: Danielle Bausinger

Top Photo by Brett Pruitt & East Market Studios

Event Recap: BARRE KC Pub Crawl

On Saturday, Sept. 15, to kick off the upcoming season, Kansas City Ballet BARRE KC members embarked on an Oz-themed streetcar BARRE crawl through downtown Kansas City. The journey started by watching a rehearsal of The Wizard of Oz at the Todd Bolender Center for Dance & Creativity and ended at the “Emerald City”, disguised as Our Daily Nada, a new boozy bookstore in the historic River Market.

Several stops on the pub crawl created themed drinks to enjoy.
Several stops on the pub crawl created themed drinks to enjoy.

The streetcar also made stops at Tom’s Town Distillery and the The Chesterfield Bar at Alamo Drafthouse, with their own Oz-themed beverages (Glinda’s Gimlets and Ruby Slippers) and a chance to win Kansas City Ballet tickets or a BARRE KC membership for the 2018-19 season.

BARRE KC is the premier organization for young professionals interested in supporting the Kansas City Ballet. BARRE KC members enjoy the benefits of discounted ticket prices, networking, and special events with insider access to the Kansas City Ballet. They host The BARRE Soiree annually in the spring, which raises funds to benefit Kansas City Ballet’s Reach Out And Dance program, an in-school dance residency program. Last year, the $7,000 raised helped to partially fund 16 new R.O.A.D. Scholarship Schools. The program reaches 800+ kids in the Kansas City Public School and Turner School Districts.

CRAWL PHOTOS

BARRE KC members enjoyed watching "The Wizard of Oz" rehearsal prior to beginning the crawl.
BARRE KC members enjoyed watching “The Wizard of Oz” rehearsal prior to beginning the crawl.
The pub crawling took place along the Streetcar route.
The pub crawling took place along the Streetcar route.
Crawlers enjoying themselves at Tom's Town.
Crawlers enjoying themselves at Tom’s Town.
The Kansas City Ballet BARRE Board.
The Kansas City Ballet BARRE Board.

UPCOMING EVENTS

10/20 | BARRE KC NIGHT
5:30pm Pre-show Party at Our Daily Nada
7:30pm The Wizard of Oz at the Kauffman Center
Backstage Tour directly after performance

BARRE KC tickets on sale now here.  Members can use the promo code sent to them via email to unlock their 50% discount!

2/23 | BARRE KC NIGHT
7:30pm Lady of the Camellias at the Kauffman Center
9:30pm Post-show Party

4/13 | THE BARRE SOIRÉE
Don’t miss the newest Ballet party at Boulevard Brewing Co. — complete with drinks, appetizers, entertainment by KCB’s Second Company and dancing! Proceeds help fund Kansas City Ballet’s Reach Out and Dance Scholarship Program.

3/30 | BARRE KC NIGHT
5:30pm Pre-show Party
7:30pm New Moves at the Bolender Center

5/18 | BARRE KC NIGHT
7:30pm Tharp/Parsons/Forsythe at the Kauffman Center
9:30pm Post-show Party

* Events subject to change

JOIN TODAY

A BARRE KC membership is $45. Your tax-deductible membership earns you:

  • Receive invitations to all BARRE KC events
  • Discounted pricing for Kansas City Ballet performances up to 50% off, including The Nutcracker (restrictions may apply)
  • Save $20 on 20-class packs for KCB School Studio classes (regularly $220)
  • Receive invitations to explore Kansas City on BARRE KC Day Trips
  • Complimentary “plus one” ticket to the BARRE KC Kick Off event in September
  • Backstage tour at the Kauffman Center
  • Networking with other fun-loving young adults who share your passion for the arts
  • Enjoy free drinks and food at receptions.

Join today.

Special thank you to Dora Grote for submitting text about this event.

2018-19 Dancer Profile: Amanda DeVenuta

Meet Kansas City Ballet Company Dancer, Amanda DeVenuta. She’s danced with KCB since the 2014-15 season and will soon be dancing the lead role of Dorothy in Septime Webre’s world premiere of The Wizard of Oz at the Kauffman Center Oct. 12-21, 2018.

Q: TELL US WHY YOU BeCAME A DANCEr.

Dancer Amanda DeVenuta rehearsing the role of Dorothy for The Wizard of Oz. Photography by Elizabeth Stehling.
Dancer Amanda DeVenuta rehearsing the role of Dorothy for The Wizard of Oz. Photography by Elizabeth Stehling.

A: That’s what I was put here to do. It was just something I knew inside myself. I love it more than I’ll ever be able to describe in words. It’s my breathing.

Q: WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO WHEN YOU’RE NOT DANCING?

A: I’m always researching different perfumes. I love learning more about the world of scents through Nez a French olfactory perfume magazine. I love to sit in a coffee shop and write poetry and read. I like Romanian poetry because it’s dark and beautiful. I listen to Ólafur Arnalds.

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

A: Either that I love doughnuts or that I write poetry. Both usually seem to shock people.

Q: HOW DO YOU STAY FIT AND HEALTHY OUTSIDE OF THE STUDIO?

A: Yoga, Pilates, swimming. I recently opened the door to gyrotonics and I love it. It’s medicine for my body.

Q: WHAT WAS THE BEST DANCING OR LIFE ADVICE YOU EVER RECEIVED?

A: Honestly, it’s just to be grateful for what I have, but always be pushing myself to improve. I can want great things for myself while still remaining gracious.

PAST PROFILE POSTS

Dancer Profile: Amanda DeVenuta

 

Top Photo by Brett Pruitt & East Market Studios

Behind the Scenes: The Wizard of Oz

In just a few short weeks, Kansas City Ballet will perform the World Premiere of Septime Webre’s The Wizard of Oz!

We anticipate 10 sold-out performances, so be sure to share that you’re seeing this fantastical new show with your friends.

ABOUT THE PRODUCTION

The scale of this world premiere is impressive:

  • The all-new music composed by Matthew Pierce, the same composer for Alice (in wonderland), is 471 pages long and features three percussion players playing 35 different percussion instruments.
  • This is a unique collaboration with Kansas City Ballet, Colorado Ballet and Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet. We worked with an internationally-recognized creative team to create a major new work of outstanding quality.
  • A total of 120 stunning costumes and 112 hats, designed by Liz Vandal, in the production and our costume shop will paint 220 shoes. There are at least 60 costume changes throughout the production.
  • Upwards of 20 puppets, designed by Nicholas Mahon, including a mechanical Toto, are involved in the production. One of Mr. Mahon’s most recent projects was for the 2018 Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony.
  • A first for Kansas City Ballet, this show will feature incredible projection technology, designed by Aaron Rhyne, using a combination of three state-of-the-art projectors. This will add an integral design element that helps provide atmosphere and dimensionality, and enhance the experience.
  • More than 300 light cues, designed by Trad A Burns, will take place using over 1000 channels of lights.
  • There will be eight flying effects executed by multiple characters.
  • At least 120 people, not including dancers, were part of this collaboration team including designers and makers.
  • In Kansas City, 30 company dancers and 15 second company dancers will make up the cast, not counting children.
  • There are 23 children’s roles and two casts for a total of 46 children performing in The Wizard of Oz, providing a huge asset to the development and growth of the Kansas City Ballet School.

ABOUT THE MUSIC

wATCH REHEARSALS

UPCOMING FREE EVENTS

The Wizard of Oz Photography: Story lines and visual elements from the classic motion picture by Warner Bros. Theatre Ventures. Dancer Amanda DeVenuta. Photographer Kenny Johnson.

2018-19 Dancer Profile: Daniel Rodriguez

Meet Kansas City Ballet Company Dancer, Daniel Rodriguez. Born and raised in New York, Daniel is a proud Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School graduate (the school FAME is based on), and just recently married. He’s also big into Marvel comic books, and generally a self-professed pretty nerdy guy.

Q: TELL US WHY YOU BeCAME A DANCEr.

A: I was introduced to dance by a not-for-profit organization named National Dance Institute (NDI). It was founded by the incredible Jacques D’ Amboise former New York City Ballet super star principal. He created NDI to expose children to the arts for free, and I was in a school that had the program. Before I knew it, through the program, I was exposed to ballet, jazz, tap and more serious dance forms, and here we are. I always loved the technical aspect to it, the rigor of the discipline, and the fun I had with my friends.

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

A: I spent a year training and teaching ballroom dance! As much as I love ballet, I’m also pretty well versed in social dance, I’m great at weddings!

Q: WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE DANCE BAG ITEM AND WHY?

A: I love ‘rolling out’ which is technically stretching, so my foam roller is my favorite dance bag item! Rolling out the overused muscles in my legs really help me get through the demands of a ballet season.

Q: WHAT HAVE YOU ENJOYED DOING IN KC?

A: My wife and I went to a Sporting KC game, and I am now forever a fan! Great stadium, great team, and great supporters! I love when a city rallies around a team. It makes sporting events all the more exciting!

Q: WHAT WAS THE BEST DANCING OR LIFE ADVICE YOU EVER RECEIVED AND WHY?

A: One of my favorite quotes of all time is “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit,” by Aristotle. That quote has guided me through life and dance. I truly believe in constant, thoughtful work. I will never be the greatest dancer in the world, but I want to be known as someone who worked their butt off to improve. You’ll be amazed where all those good habits will get you, I sure am.

 

Photography by Brett Pruitt & East Market Studios

You’re Invited: Kickoff to Oz at Union Station

Join Kansas City Mayor Sly James as he leads a procession to announce the Kickoff to Oz with an official proclamation about Kansas City Ballet’s World Premiere of The Wizard of Oz. Dorothy’s ruby slippers will be put on display and attendees will enjoy a performance by the Second Company, and an educational dance workshop for kids will follow.

Selfie Contest

Take a selfie with Dorothy’s ruby slipper pointe shoes before they make their world premiere during Kansas City Ballet’s The Wizard of Oz, October 12-21 at the Kauffman Center.

Upload to Kansas City Ballet Social Media Channels and type the hashtag #OZsomeKC. Be sure to like or follow us anytime before September 30. We will announce the winner on October 1.

Instagram: @kc.ballet

Facebook: @kcballet

Twitter: @kcballet

One lucky fan will WIN 4 tickets to Kansas City Ballet’s The Wizard of Oz! We will randomly select a winner from one of our social media sites.

Tickets

For tickets visit KCBallet.org or call 816.931.8993.