The Sleeping Beauty Dance-A-Story

On March 21st more than 30 children attended The Sleeping Beauty Dance-A-Story program at the Westport Library.

Dance-A-Story is a 45-minute workshop appropriate for Pre-K and early elementary school students, bringing stories to life through creative movement, music, and a costume show and tell. Kansas City Ballet’s Community Engagement and Education Program Teaching Artist Amelia Virtue led the workshop.

These educational events are a fun way to introduce even the littlest members of the community to ballet.

“Our Dance-A-Stories provide opportunities for very young children in and around the metro area to experience classic stories and fairy tales in a truly unique way,” says Community Engagement and Education Manager April Berry. “By bringing the magic of movement, music, and costumes/props from story ballets to community venues, this fun, interactive program provides another avenue to enhance literacy.”

Event Summary

Children enjoyed listening to The Sleeping Beauty ballet story and seeing costumes and examples of character’s props. [see top photo]

Then Ms. Virtue turned on some music and led the children to try pantomime to tell the story with succinct movements. Below she demonstrated when Princess Aurora fell asleep.

The boys and girls were even given a chance to try on the crowns worn by Princess Aurora and Prince Désiré.

For many of these children, this was their first experience with the art of ballet. But hopefully not their last!

Photography by Andrea Wilson.

Event Recap: 60th Anniversary Season Announcement

On Saturday, March 12th, Kansas City Ballet announced the 60th Anniversary Diamond Jubilee Season to a select group of donors, sponsors, board members, dancers and staff at Pennway Place. Master of Ceremonies and current Host of “Antiques Road Show” Mark Walberg welcomed the crowd, Kansas City Ballet Executive Director Jeffrey J. Bentley spoke about the state of the organization and the joy at celebrating the highly-anticipated 60th Season, and Kansas City Ballet Artistic Director Devon Carney had the honor of announcing the ballets to be performed during this exciting season. Learn more about the 2017-2018 Season.

Thank you to SponsorS

Polsinelli and The Private Client Reserve of U.S. Bank generously sponsored the festivities.

Thank you also to Studio Dan Meiners, PB&J restaurants, Amigoni Winery, Crane Brewery, Martin City Brewery and Rock and Run Brewery for adding enjoyment to the evening.

Photography by J. Robert Schraeder Photography. Photo captions from top to bottom:

  1. Kansas City Ballet 2017-2018 60th Anniversary brochures
  2. Left to Right: Devon Carney, Mark Walberg, Jeffrey Bentley, and KCB School Director Grace Holmes
  3. The crowd during the reveal
  4. Thank you to event sponsors: Polsineli and The Private Client Reserve of U.S. Bank. Special thanks to Studio Dan Meiners and PB&J Restaurants.
  5. Board Member Anna Allen, Artistic Director Devon Carney, Pamela Carney, and KCB Dancers Molly Wagner and Angelina Sansone.
  6. Howard and Anne Elsberry, KCB Dancer Tempe Ostergren, Beth Ingrahm, and Andrew Elsberry.

First Day of Spring!

Ode to Spring

Fare thee well lilacs, as your petals renew.

Spring flowers are preparing to dance for you.

As beetles and bugs begin their seasonal flings,

It’s time to salute all the rites of spring.

Happy first day of spring!


Photo Credits from Top to Bottom: Helen Pickett’s Petal KCB Dancers Dillon Malinski, Lilliana Hagerman, and Ryan Joliecoeur-Nye. Photographer Brett Pruitt. Alvin Ailey’s Flowers KCB Dancer Jody Anderson. Photographer Don Middleton. Margot Sappington’s ZuZu Lounge. KCB Dancer Deanna Doyle. Photographer Steve Wilson. Adam Hougland’s Rite of Spring. KCB Dancer Angelina Sansone. Photographer Brett Pruitt.

“The Sleeping Beauty” Rehearsal Photos

The photos below are from a recent Kansas City Ballet rehearsal for The Sleeping Beauty at the Bolender Center. This is a first for the company to perform the entire production. It’s another sign of just how far the Ballet has come in its 59 years. With a larger company and a second company comprised of KCB II members and Trainees, there are now more than enough dancers upon which to set these larger works.

The Sleeping Beauty

The Sleeping Beauty opens Friday, March 31 and runs through Sunday, April 9 at the Kauffman Center—eight public performances in all!

KCB Dancers Kaleena Burks and Lamin Pereira dos Santos in Sleeping Beauty rehearsals. Photography: Elizabeth Stehling.
KCB Dancers Kaleena Burks (front) and Amaya Rodriguez in the role of Aurora in Sleeping Beauty rehearsals. Photography: Elizabeth Stehling.
KCB Dancer Elysa Hotchkiss and Company Dancers in Sleeping Beauty rehearsals. Photography: Elizabeth Stehling.
KCB Dancer Kelsey Hellebuyck in Sleeping Beauty rehearsals. Photography: Elizabeth Stehling.

KCBS Student Profile: Chrisanne Ayers

In her fourth year of dancing at KCBS, Chrisanne Ayers was given the opportunity to help pioneer the Academy’s Daytime Program for serious ballet students who were looking for more intensive training than afternoon programs can offer. “I wanted to join the daytime program primarily because I knew the training was going to be more intense and I wanted to have the extra hours in the studio to train,” Chrisanne said. “The thought of being at the studio all day just like the professionals was also so amazing and exciting.”

Kansas City Ballet School’s Daytime Program for levels 4-8 flips the script on traditional dance training. With this new program, students spend most of their days Monday through Friday (approx. 20-25 hours) taking dance classes designed to help them grow as a dancer, develop stamina, and feed their passion. These students tend to their academics through online or homeschool programs in the evenings and on weekends.


As part of this inaugural group, Chrisanne already has identified some benefits. “I feel like I have been able to improve faster than if I was only dancing for a couple hours in the evening. The daytime program has definitely helped improve my stamina and it has taught me how to manage my time more efficiently. Another benefit of the day program is that it really helps you to refine your vision for the future, whether or not you want to pursue ballet professionally,” she said. “For me, it helped to confirm that this is what I love and want to do, but I am sure for some others dancing all day might help them realize that, while they love it, they don’t want to do it professionally.”


Naturally there are also challenges with trying something new. “One of the biggest was probably figuring out how and when to fit school into this already very busy schedule,” Chrisanne said. “I simply took it day by day and figured out a routine that worked for me and stuck with it. There have been challenges with everyone getting along as well. When you’re with the same group of people all day almost every day of the week a certain amount of conflict is inevitable. However, we are all extremely close and no matter the what we have always been able to work it out.”

In the end, the highest form of praise for the new program comes in the form of endorsement from the students themselves. “I would recommend this program to anyone who is passionate about ballet and serious about pursuing it as a career,” Chrisanne said. “It is a lot of hours. It’s hard and exhausting, but if ballet is your love, it is the best thing in the world.”


Her training is paying off in a big way. Last weekend, Chrisanne competed along with 30 other KCBS students at a Youth American Grand Prix (YAGP) regional semi-finals competition in Indianapolis. She placed in the Top 12 Contemporary Dancers out of more than 100 senior competitors.

Congratulations, Chrisanne!

Chrisanne Ayers


Photography by Brett Pruitt & East Market Studios.

R.O.A.D. Program T-Shirt Design Contest

Reach Out And Dance (R.O.A.D.) is a 12- to 24-week in-school dance residency program for elementary schools, taught by professional teaching artists from Kansas City Ballet to live accompaniment.

As a central part of Kansas City Ballet’s Community Education programming for more than 15 years, R.O.A.D. has helped students by encouraging teamwork and by introducing an art form that many students would never experience.

This year, a R.O.A.D. winning T-shirt design was created by 10-year-old R.O.A.D. participant Emmy Barrett (pictured above). Emmy is a fourth grader from Prairie Elementary School in Prairie Village, Kan. When asked what she enjoys most about the program, Emmy said, “I enjoy runs and jumps the most because I love all of the challenges involved in it.”

She says she chose to draw this design because she wanted something that was original and new and had dance and music on it. 

How did she feel when she found out her design had been selected? “I felt like the happiest person ever when I heard that I had won!”

Congratulations, Emmy! Thank you to all R.O.A.D. school students, teachers and administrators for your support and participation.

If you know of a school that may be interested in participating in the R.O.A.D. program, please contact April Berry, Community Engagement and Education Manager for Kansas City Ballet at

YAGP Competition This Weekend

We would like to wish all 31 Kansas City Ballet School students dancing in Youth American Grand Prix (YAGP) regional competitions in Indianapolis much luck this weekend. This is the second year in a row that KCBS has had students compete and excitement is overwhelming. KCBS Teacher Racheal Nye (pictured with students below) has worked tirelessly on costumes and coaching. Students who do well this weekend will move on to New York for the YAGP finals in April.

To learn more about Ms. Racheal, here is a link to recent profile from our blog.