The Kansas City Ballet Guild held its annual Spring Luncheon on May 10th at Hallbrook Country Club. Peggy Beal and host Barbara Eiszner planned the lovely luncheon – Craig Sole provided the beautiful floral arrangements. President Gigi Rose recognized special guests, Carol and Tony Feiock, the Honorary Chairmen of the upcoming Emerald City Ball taking place on October 6, 2018. After guests were treated to a dance performance by Kansas City Ballet’s Second Company, Gigi introduced the 2018-2019 Guild Board and passed the gavel to her successor, incoming President Susan Meehan-Mizer.
Kansas City Ballet Guild is pleased to announce long-time supporters of the Kansas City Ballet and generous members of the Kansas City community Carol and Tony Feiock as Honorary Chairmen for The Emerald City Ball.
The Emerald City Ball
2018 Ballet Ball Honorary Chairmen, Carol and Tony Feiock, and Ball Chairman, Gigi Rose, are looking forward to an evening of cocktails, exquisite cuisine, and dancing on Saturday evening, October 6, 2018, at the InterContinental Kansas City At The Plaza. This year’s Ball will celebrate the Kansas City Ballet’s world premiere of Septime Webre’s The Wizard of Oz. The Emerald City Ball is presented by Kansas City Ballet Guild in support of Kansas City Ballet programs and scholarships.
Click for more information and to purchase tickets online.
Since 2000 Kansas City Ballet has provided an educational outreach program called Reach Out And Dance (R.O.A.D.) to elementary students using movement to enhance learning. The program has grown to become the centerpiece of KCB’s Community Engagement and Education.
WHAT IS R.O.A.D.?
Each week R.O.A.D. provides movement classes to hundreds of 3rd and 4th grade students in Missouri and Kansas elementary schools introducing children to the fundamentals of dance and integrating 21st century learning skills and curriculum. The program provides under-served and at-risk youth with a different learning paradigm through which they can experience success, develop self-discipline, and strive for personal excellence within and outside the school environment, all of which is demonstrated by post-program survey assessments.
THE R.O.A.D. SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM
This year brought the introduction of the R.O.A.D. Scholarship Program. Its goal is to enhance cultural awareness, foster creativity, strengthen critical thinking and problem solving skills, expose students to potential careers in dance, and to cultivate an appreciation for the art form.
The first phase of the program began in September 2017. Teaching artists impart different movement styles to students weekly and gauge their interest and ability. In the second phase, select students enter a tuition-free Dance Discovery program at Kansas City Ballet School from January through April. Transportation to and from KCBS, Ballet Fundamentals class plus Modern and Jazz classes, and necessary dance attire is provided at no cost to the student’s family. The third phase is planned for summer when these same students will be provided tuition-free summer classes at KCBS.
“We are so excited to offer this new comprehensive program that will create a broader reach and make dance even more accessible to students who might not have had the opportunity to participate in this way before,” KCB Community Engagement and Education Manager April Berry said. “Our research shows this program not only helps students with their school curriculum, like geography, math and social studies, but it leaves many with a boost in confidence to help them succeed. Principals and teachers have raved about the effects of this new program and we are thrilled to have 80+ students who have completed their fist year of the program. R.O.A.D. Scholars will attend KCB’s Peter Pan performance this weekend as part of the program.”
A DONOR WITH HEART
For more than 32 years, Dance Shoppe, Inc. has served as the number one supplier of dance wear in Kansas City, Mo. Opened in 1985, they have always stayed true to their commitment to high quality dance apparel and, because of this, they have had the distinct honor of serving dancers throughout their careers.
This season Susan Bibbs, Owner of Dance Shoppe, donated all of the dance wear for KCB’s new R.O.A.D. Scholarship Program.
Maybe it’s because she grew up in a small town in Western Kansas where community is second nature, where people help one another however they can. Or, maybe it’s from all the support that Bibbs and her business have received throughout the last three decades. Now she feels it’s her time to ‘Pay It Forward’. She is thankful she is in a position where she can give back and make a difference.
“The right outfit is everything… Like a baseball player needs a glove, so does a dancer need the proper dance attire. Not just for ease and freedom in movement that dance wear provides but for the total picture, it’s the completion, a mind-set,” Bibbs said. “After all these years, it still amazes me to see the excitement on the faces of kids when they get their first pair of dance shoes.”
Bibbs was excited to offer assistance to the program. “I feel our part is simple compared to what all is entailed in the organization of this project. The coordination of the students, the schools, the transportation, etc. is mind boggling,” she said.
April Berry couldn’t be happier to be part of this partnership: “A generous gift of this nature is invaluable to our ROAD scholarship program. Providing these deserving and talented children with these outfits not only serves them physically but helps improve self-esteem by showing they belong and that their community cares about them.”
On Wednesday, May 16, Jeffrey Bentley received the Nonprofit Professional of the Year award at the the 34th Annual Philanthropy Awards Luncheon hosted by Nonprofit Connect. He was nominated by Kansas City Ballet Board President Kathy Stepp and Kansas City Ballet Chief Development Officer Jennifer Wampler.
“Jeff continues to innovate and fulfill the organizational mission to establish Kansas City Ballet as an indispensable asset in the Kansas City community.” —Kathy Stepp, Stepp & Rothwell
Please leave your congratulations messages for Jeff in the comments section.
Several Patrons’ Society members embarked on a weekend excursion May 4-6, 2018 to see Tulsa Ballet’s Signature Series featuring three thought-provoking works. Each ballet reminded audiences of the dangers in allowing history to repeat itself, and inspired them to keep moving forward.
- Kurt Jooss’ classic 1932 The Green Table is a powerful statement on war that continues to remain provocative and relevant today.
- Rassemblement (which translates to “gathering”) is Nacho Duato’s moving look at the “liberating powers of music and dance” as related to human rights issues.
- And, an exciting new work called Glass Figures by Resident Choreographer and audience favorite Ma Cong.
While in Tulsa the group had dinner with Ma Cong at Dalessandro’s where he decribed his inspiration and motivation for his piece. He met the group before the show as well.
The next day the group also visited the Gilcrease Museum which houses the world’s largest and most comprehensive collection of art and artifacts of the American West and the Philbrook Museum of Art (where these photos were taken) an art museum in the historic home of Waite and Genevieve Phillips with expansive formal gardens located in Tulsa, Oklahoma featuring two locations.
If you are interested in joining the Patrons’ Society or making an individual donation, please contact Brent Kimmi at firstname.lastname@example.org or 816.216.5608.
Originally from Iowa, where she began her dance training, Layne-Mulhern’s family moved to Kansas City in 2001. She continued her training at Somerset Ballet Centre (SBC) in Prairie Village. SBC was acquired by Kansas City Ballet School (KCBS) as a second campus the following year. Two of her teachers that first year were Kimberly Cowen and Maureen Hall. Cowen danced with Kansas City Ballet for 20 years before retiring in 2012 to join the faculty of Kansas City Ballet School and Hall is still a member of KCBS’s faculty. Two other major influences from the KCB were former principal dancers under Todd Bolender, Lisa Thorn Vinzant and Sean Duus. Thorn Vinzant is now Ballet Master for Orlando Ballet and Duus still teaches at KCBS in addition to working in the KCB Community Engagement and Education Department.
Layne-Mulhern started teaching dance as a teenager, and taught her first class at KCBS when she was in her early 20s. “Teaching just seemed very natural,” she says.
Expanding Dance Education
As an aspiring dancer in her 20s, Layne-Mulhern performed with some of the smaller KC dance companies but also moved to New York for a couple of years to pursue performing opportunities as a freelance dancer.
Other very formative experiences as a ballet teacher came about while she was living in New York. Layne-Mulhern completed American Ballet Theatre’s ballet teacher training program for all levels of ballet students, became a certified Pilates instructor, and attended an intensive anatomy workshop at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. “All of those things helped me grow exponentially as a teaching artist, and I still draw on those experiences, while continuing to build on them as much as possible. I definitely strive to be a lifelong learner,” she says.
When she returned from New York, she came back to teaching at KCBS.
Teaching in the Academy
Over the years, Layne-Mulhern has taught every level of the Academy at KCBS, either as a regular teacher or a sub, but she currently teaches ballet, pre-pointe, pointe, and conditioning for Levels 3, 4, and 5. “Those three levels are so formative – the students have a solid foundation of knowledge, but they’re still learning new steps and perfecting many aspects of their technique,” she says. “They’re also rapidly developing as artists in these levels, and unlocking so much potential. It’s an exciting time for them as students, and it’s very inspiring to have the privilege of being their teacher. I expect a lot from myself as a teacher, and I expect a lot from my students; I want all of us to give 110% every class, every day.”
Teaching in the Studio Division
Adult classes are different. Layne-Mulhern tries to make ballet as accessible as possible in adult classes. “Ballet is absolutely for everyone. I like to say in my beginning ballet classes that you’re not going to just walk into your first class or two or three and be anywhere near perfect, and that’s really okay. Ballet is like so many other worthwhile challenges – learning to play an instrument, learning to speak a foreign language – it takes time, work, and repetition to figure it out and move forward,” she says.
What does she enjoy about sharing ballet with students? “I find so much happiness in it, and I want to give that to other people,” Layne-Mulhern says. “I believe that dance will always be relevant and important. It has so much beauty and integrity and joy to offer the world, and the world will always need those things.”
Want to try her class?
Interested in taking an adult studio class with Taryn Layne-Mulhern? Check out the upcoming schedules here.
Brenda Crowe’s smile was contagious. Her good moods were the best!
The feisty, auburn-haired box office manager originally joined Kansas City Ballet in September of 1997 as an administrative assistant. Then in 1998, she moved into the role of Box Office Manager and never looked back. She’d found her calling.
Brenda quickly made a name for herself in the way she championed for subscribers and donors of KC Ballet. Her loyalty to these groups was profound, as was theirs for her. It was not unusual for a long list of subscribers to insist on working with Brenda directly each year to renew their subscription seats.
Brenda’s unique charms did not go unnoticed. She was a strong personality, committed to forging the path she deemed correct. Her capacity to be direct was renowned. She loved the KC Ballet that had become her home away from home.
Brenda’s loyalty extended to her staff in the box office as well. She was devoted to them and went out of her way to show them appreciation with potluck lunches and treats and to shower them with motherly affection or advice.
As much as Brenda loved Kansas City Ballet, her heart was in being a mother to her son Tyler. Tyler grew up at KC Ballet taking classes, volunteering and working in the box office at performances. He was the driving force in her life and KC Ballet became his extended family as well. In fact, KC Ballet’s former Artistic Director Todd Bolender took a special interest in Brenda and Tyler. She cherished their friendship. So much so that photos of Todd remained prominently displayed in Brenda’s office after his death in 2006.
Brenda Crowe will be deeply missed. Her loss is a heavy blow to the KC Ballet family. The best moments: when she was quick with a joke or a laugh, when her smile and the twinkle in her eye were contagious, or when her caring heart showed how much this Ballet family meant to her… these are moments that won’t be forgotten. In the end, these are the moments that mattered most. These are the moments behind why she is and will always be beloved.
Share Thoughts or Memories
Please share your favorite memories or thoughts for Tyler in the comments section.
CELEBRATION OF LIFE
A Celebration of Life for Brenda Crowe
Saturday, June 2 | Open House 2-4 p.m.
Todd Bolender Center for Dance & Creativity
500 W. Pershing Road | Kansas City, Missouri 64108
The family requests anyone wishing to donate, to please make a gift to Kansas City Ballet in memory of Brenda Crowe. Gifts can be made in person at the Bolender Center, over the phone at 816.216.5582 or online. If you give a gift online, you’ll select “In memory of” and type in Brenda Crowe. Please know all of these gifts will go toward the Todd Bolender Scholarship Fund.
Originally from Baton Rouge, La., Emelia Perkins joined Kansas City Ballet as a Trainee for the 2017-2018 season.
Q: how did you become a dancer?
A: My mother was a dancer and she still teaches. So, as a young child, I was hanging around the studios and she put me into dance classes at age 4 to keep me busy.
Q: DO YOU HAVE ANY HOBBIES OR SPECIAL INTERESTS?
A: I like to do a lot of tactile or physical activities, meaning I enjoy building things and crafting. I used to play a lot of sports. I still enjoy sports, but it’s rare for me to have the energy for them anymore.
Q: WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT BEING A DANCER?
A: This is a hard question, you know, because I would want to say all aspects of being a dancer. I enjoy the athleticism, the artistry, the elegance, the confidence, I enjoy the routine, the long days of rehearsals, the ongoing battle for refinement and nuance; and I enjoy the sore muscles, the blistered feet, and going home exhausted at the end of the day. But, if you want the short answer, I guess I’d have to say performing is the most enjoyable and rewarding part of being a dancer.
Q: DO YOU HAVE A PERSONAL MANTRA OR AFFIRMATION THAT YOU SWEAR BY?
A: If you keep doing what you’re doing, you’ll keep getting what you’ve got.
Victoria Isabel Bush loved to dance.
Victoria began taking classes at age 7. It was a passion that spread to every part of her life, that brought her together with her husband, that she shared with her daughter and family and friends, and that she continued to do into her mid-60s.
“My mother was elegant, yet down to earth. She loved dance, especially ballet and ballroom dance. She and my father were fabulous dancers—people on the dance floor would just part for them,” said daughter Deborah Schanker.
Vicki and Ken Bush loved to dance—ballroom, flamenco, Argentine Tango, Salsa, Cha-Cha, you name it. In fact, they danced for hours on the night they met. And, throughout the majority of their 58-year marriage they danced together for 20-25 hours per week. From the moment they first took the floor on a blind date set up by Ken’s mother, “it just felt right,” Ken Bush said. In a whirlwind romance that could have only been scripted by the hands of fate, Ken and Vicki found themselves in love and partners for life.
Two children (David and Deborah), and four grandchildren later, they had shared their love of dance through example, surrounded by dance artwork—some painted by Vicki herself—and their devotion to ballroom dancing including Argentine Tango. Victoria (as she was called in recent years) also spent a weekend taking flamenco lessons from Antonio Vargas, world renowned flamenco dancer, in addition to regular lessons from Tamara Carson.
Vicki loved supporting the Ballet by attending performances at the theatre and other locations around town including parks around the city and even in Westport in the 70s and 80s. In fact, she and Ken had been subscribers since Kansas City Ballet started performances at the Lyric Theatre.
Vicki definitely was easy to spot in a crowd. She looked like a model and was always dressed very fashionably. Having worked as the house model for Swanson’s and at the makeup counter at Saks, both on the Plaza, Victoria could have easily stepped off the pages of Vogue. Her beauty ran deep. The love that she had for her husband, family and friends was just as easy to spot. It shone through her.
When the time came for Vicki’s family to say goodbye, it was incredibly difficult.
Leaving a Legacy
In the midst of their grief, her family wanted to honor her in the best way they knew how. They considered their options. Then Deborah had an idea to direct gifts to Kansas City Ballet to honor her mother’s love of dance and the ballet. Her father immediately agreed.
“It’s such a nice legacy to leave for somebody who has that kind of love for dance,” said Deborah. “And just by letting people know this is possible, it can help.”
The Victoria Bush Memorial Fund was created and friends and loved ones were able to direct monetary gifts to Kansas City Ballet in honor of Vicki and her passion for dance.
“Do you think mom would have ever thought to direct us to do something like this in her honor?” Deborah asked Ken. “Maybe she did,” Ken said while smiling.
If you would like to make a gift in honor of Victoria Bush, you may do so online or via mail (Kansas City Ballet, 500 W Pershing Rd., KCMO 64108). Please make sure to leave a note in the notes field or on your correspondence that says: Victoria Bush Memorial. The Bush family will be notified of your gift.
Setting Up a Memorial Fund
If you would like to learn more about setting up a Memorial Fund or Endowment Fund at Kansas City Ballet, please contact Kansas City Ballet Chief Development Officer Jennifer Wampler at 816.216.5585.
WANT THE WHOLE LOVE STORY?
Read more about how Ken and Vicki met here.
Dear Dance Enthusiast,
J.M. Barrie’s 114-year-old story about Peter Pan, the boy who never wanted to grow up, continues to attract new generations. These types of stories make the greatest impact: kids finding themselves in unusual circumstances and realizing the human spirit can overcome anything. And Peter Pan is no different. The message, wrapped in adventures, comes down to family and following your heart to find where you belong.
I was definitely influenced in many ways by J.M. Barrie’s classic tale but also by movies like “Hook” with Dustin Hoffman and Robin Williams and the musical with Sandy Duncan. For this production, I was most inspired by the wonderful music from my friend, musician, composer and ballet conductor Carmon DeLeone. His enchanting score is paramount to this production and wonderfully tells the story. Written in 1994, this will be the third or fourth ballet production to use this delightful and soaring music. I believe it is becoming the standard much like Prokofiev for Romeo & Juliet. It’s thematic, fun, and light-hearted and lends itself to great character development.
A Living Composer
As a special treat, DeLeone will conduct our first weekend of shows. It’s not every day one has the chance to witness a living composer conducting his own ballet score. It’s a unique experience that was just too exciting to pass up. After the first weekend, DeLeone will graciously pass the baton to our incredible Music Director Ramona Pansegrau to lead the Kansas City Symphony for the remaining shows.
Having never had the chance to perform it as a dancer, I’m beyond excited to share my new choreography for this production of Peter Pan with you. The sets and costumes are so whimsical. And, working with the company and so many talented students from Kansas City Ballet School has been incredible.
“It is not in doing what you like, but in liking what you do that is the secret of happiness.” – J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan
The company and I have been blessed to share what we like to do best with you. We hope our happiness is contagious.
Devon Carney, Artistic Director