Last week we announced the selection of our new Artistic Director designate, Devon Carney. We are very excited to welcome him to Kansas City, and are looking forward to the future of Kansas City Ballet under his artistic direction.
Devon comes to us from 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, Devon 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.
Devon will see a few familiar faces when arrives at KCB, as two former dancers of Cincinnati Ballet are current dancers with us here at KCB – Jill Marlow and Anthony Krutzkamp.
As quoted in KCUR’s article, “Devon (Carney) is a really passionate person, so his personality really demonstrates that,” says Kansas City Ballet company member Jill Marlow, who danced with Cincinnati Ballet for eight years. “He’s extremely passionate about dance as an art form.”
Devon brings a wealth of knowledge to Kansas City Ballet, and we are all looking forward to his arrival in July.
He has already received a warm welcome from many of our patrons who have reached out to us via email and social media. There were also many great articles written about Devon’s selection. If you were like to learn more about him, you can find links to the articles below.
Our guest post today comes from Kansas City Ballet Company Apprentice, Eric Mazzie. Eric, originally from Albuquerque, New Mexico, just completed his first season at KCB. He has agreed to share the knowledge he has gained during his first experience immersed in the professional dance world, hoping to provide advice to younger dancers aspiring to dance with a professional company.
Learning is a process that never ends; no matter how “high up” you climb on the latter in the dance world. Reflecting on my apprenticeship this past year, I have learned some important things about how to behave professionally in a company. Before coming to Kansas City Ballet, I had never experienced company life firsthand so I had no clue what I was actually doing!
First, I learned that sitting on the floor is not a good idea if you are trying to show you care. This comes across as indifferent especially when others are standing up and working hard! Likewise, being on your phone during rehearsals can come across as indolent as well (no matter if you are watching dance videos on YouTube or looking at your twitter feed to see if your best friend has any new tweets). As a rule of thumb, it is best to just stand and watch what is going on in the moment, nurture yourself with Yoga, or Pilates, or both watching and stretching at the same time! (Just make sure to stay attuned to anything that pertains to the roles you are learning, especially the ones you are understudying).
Most importantly, over the past year I learned that intrinsic motivation is the true key to healthy development as an artist. This type of motivation refers to an individual’s inner desire to do his or her personal best – not in hopes of receiving praise from fellow dancers or instructors – but instead in order to grow and develop as an artist. For instance, when the instructor gives the ok to just mark the steps (to just do arm movements), instead of marking, one can take advantage of the opportunity to work on technical and emotional aspects of the piece. That means doing the steps as full out as possible for internal reasons rather than because you want others to view you as being more “dedicated” or “disciplined”. In general, this type of intrinsic motivation is important because so often, dancers are conditioned to scan the room for external approval and when they do not receive it, they are easily discouraged.
All in all, I learned some crucial things to thriving in a professional company. Hopefully this can help other dancers who are just starting to do the best they can do for the sole reason of bettering themselves! I am looking forward to applying all that I have learned this past year to next year, and throughout my career. To everyone reading this, have a great summer! 🙂
The first weekend of our spring performance was a great success! Showcasing three works that featured rock and jazz music, it was an exciting and energizing event full of beautiful dance.
Take a look below at some photos from the past weekend.
Energy Made Visible by Karole Armitage
Common People by Margo Sappington
Hey-Hay, Going to Kansas City by Donald McKayle
If you haven’t seen the performance yet, there is still one weekend left! You can order tickets online at kcballet.org. For a sneak peek, check out the video below which features Margo Sappington’s Common People.