Did You Know?

Kansas City Ballet dancers Lilliana Hagerman and Lamin Pereira dos Santos will appear as guest artists with the Allen Civic Ballet and Allen Philharmonic at the Performing Arts Center at Allen High School in Allen, Texas on May 19, 2016. This is a joint performance of the Allen Civic Ballet and the Allen Philharmonic featuring Ms. Hagerman and Mr. Pereira in Act II of Cinderella. Ms. Hagerman and Mr. Pereira will also be teaching master classes as part of this engagement. Merde!Lamin and Lilliana



Event Recap | Springtime in Paris: Riots and Mayhem

On May 11, Kansas City Ballet’s Artistic Director Devon Carney and Music Director Ramona Pansegrau participated in a panel discussion with Dr. Ilyana Karthas, Assistant Professor of History at the University of Missouri – Columbia that was moderated by Dr. Matthew Naylor, President and CEO of the National World War I Museum and Memorial. The goal was to examine the historical, cultural, dance and musical context of the May 29, 1913 dramatic premiere of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring, which resulted in a riot.

“So, imagine–the opening of the 1913 Ballet Russe season. An eagerly awaited premiere of a new work by Igor Stravinsky, choreographed by the great dancer Nijinsky, with sets and costumes by Roerich. Audiences had seen and heard Stravinsky’s lavish Firebird—a wonderful fairytale story, with memorable and singable melodies. So they eagerly awaited more of the same,” said Pansegrau. They received something very different.

Interested in what the original version was like? The Joffrey Ballet recreated the 1913 version of Rite of Spring with Nijinsky’s original choreography: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jF1OQkHybEQ.

Here is a movie made about it entitled “Riot at the Rite”, also using the Joffrey’s recreation of the choreography.  It is interesting to see the crowd’s supposed interaction! To see the reenactment you’ll want to start at minute 45:00. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JcZ7lfdhVQw Movie credits: BBC produced, 2005.

Maurice Bejart created a version in 1959 (first performed date). This version incorporated a theme of evolution.  Kansas City Ballet Artistic Director Devon Carney danced this version during his career. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XedawBHB-uc.

Pina Bausch created this version in 1975. The entire stage is covered in dirt. As the dancers danced, they got sweatier and sweatier until the dirt started to cover their skin! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NOTjyCM3Ou4

Despite the years, Rite of Spring is still a work that excites and disturbs in equal measure.

The May 11th event (pictured below) was sponsored by Alliance Française in partnership with the Kansas City Ballet and the National World War I Museum and Memorial.

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Ballet Bash Oct. 1, 2016: Committee Photo

Kansas City Ballet Guild volunteers gathered recently to work on plans for this year’s Ballet Bash, which will be held on Saturday, October 1, at the Todd Bolender Center for Dance & Creativity. This will be the Ballet Guild’s 49th annual Gala, and the first time the event has kicked off the Kansas City Ballet’s repertory season. The event will serve to highlight the first show, A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Please mark your calendars for this not-to-be missed evening of cocktails, delicious cuisine, and dancing. Net proceeds support the Kansas City Ballet and Kansas City Ballet School. More information about Ballet Bash is available here.


Left to right from the back:

Erik Bergrud, Bash Co-chair, Rene Horne (KC Ballet), Kathy  Nemechek, Donna Davis, Ken Sherman (Trapp & Company),  Debra Goldstein (KC Ballet), Karla Kelly, Karen Downing,  Jennifer Wampler, Rosemary Durkin, Barb Nicely, Susan Bubb,  Charles Hulse, Jan Foletta, Nicole Siblal, Peggy Beal, Megan  Bubb Cribb, Addie Perry, Kimberlee Ried, Bash Co-chair, and  Lisa Hickok, Guild president.

(Out of camera range: Felisha Bondi, Melanie Fenske, Mike  Fenske, Rene Harden, Pauline Henne, Marylou Kilmer, Siobhan  McLauglin Lesley, Francie Mayer, Wendy Melland, Lauren  Merriman, Melinda Petet, Mallory Robins, Heather Ryan, Mark  Sappington, Sunday Siragusa, Susannah Sotos, Marybeth  Sorrell, Glenda Lee Touslee, Sharon Whalen, John Yungmeyer,  and Karen Yungmeyer.)

Event Recap: KCBS Lower School Showcase

On Saturday, May 7, Kansas City Ballet School held their Lower School Showcase at the Bolender Center around the theme “Carnival of the Animals”. Classes included Fundamentals of Dance, Pre-Ballet and Level 1 from both the Bolender Center and Johnson County Campus classes. More than 175 students performed. Enrollment is open for Summer 2016 camps and courses. Learn more here. Enrollment for Fall 2016 Academy classes will begin in June.

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Event Recap: Arts Encounters with BARRE

On April 28, more than 80 guests attended an Arts Encounter event including many BARRE members. Arts Encounter is a program run by the Arts Council with a mission to “unleash the power of the arts.” This event included attending a working rehearsal for Rite of Spring followed by a reception to mix and mingle with the Ballet’s artistic staff and dancers.

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Lydia Allen and Paige DuBay from ArtsKC welcomed guests.

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The reception filled the lobby of the Bolender Center.

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Brooke Wilbur, Godfrey Riddle with ArtsKC, Paige DuBay also of ArtsKC and KCB Dancer Christopher Constantini enjoy mugging for the camera.
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Arts Encounter guests, KCB Dancer Thom Panto and KCB Stage Manager Victoria Frank.
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Thank you to Rivas Photography for capturing the party.


Behind the Music: Rite of Spring

Ramona Pansegrau - Web

We spent a few minutes talking about the music for our upcoming program with Kansas City Ballet’s Music Director Ramona Pansegrau. With four ballets on the program, the music is pretty diverse as are the challenges surrounding it. Here’s just a bit of what she had to say about each:

Diving into the Lilacs

The music is by Boris Tchaikovsky—no relation to Peter— and it’s called Sinfonietta for String Orchestra. It’s lovely writing – very melodic and oddly enough very reminiscent of what Peter Tchaikovsky would have done. There are interesting sound effects like ricochet and mixed meter.


The music is by Thomas Newman from the film score “Little Children”, and it also contains the music of Philip Glass for  the finale.  Because of the musical requirements, this performance is to recording.


The music is the Largo from Dvořák’s New World Symphony, which  was composed in Spillville, Iowa, when Dvořák spent the summer there in 1853.  He was inspired by the rolling hills and it reminded him of home.  Every 10 years Spillville hosts a Dvořák Festival and the whole town is swarming with musicians from all over the world.  I’ve gone the last three times and performed there 20 years ago. I love this music! I’m delighted to be able to conduct it.

Rite of Spring

This music was written for an enormous orchestra—due to the size of the orchestra pit, we perform it with less players. We are using the only smaller reduction that has been approved by the Stravinsky estate. It was created in Boston Ballet when I was there, so I’m intimating familiar with it.

It’s incredibly difficult and usually a symphony has several rehearsals together to iron it out—we have two and even in those we’ll also be rehearsing other works. Because of that, I started preparing 18 months ago when the Symphony performed this work on their own program. I watched the first two rehearsals of Michael Stern conducting, so I could try and replicate what the musicians were used to for our performances.

Conducting the music alone without the dancers is an incredible undertaking but we are also adding the dancers and the staging —a whole other animal. So I’m spending time in studio with dancers to learn their choreographic needs and then I’ll have to marry the two together. Incredibly exciting!