2018-19 Dancer Profile: Tempe Ostergren

Tempe Ostergren joined Kansas City Ballet in the fall of 2010. She had studied at The School of American Ballet and Pacific Northwest Ballet, both known for their George Balanchine influences. Next she danced with Boston Ballet, known for their classical ballet style. Her experiences with these entities would shape her for her next position with Kansas City Ballet. Uniquely positioned for a growing company, Tempe was ready for the change.

Kansas City Ballet Dancers Tempe Ostergren and Liang Fu in the roles of Titania and Oberon in Bruce Wells’ A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Photography by Brett Pruitt and East Market Studios.

She’s danced many coveted roles including Juliet in Romeo & Juliet, Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty, the title role in Giselle, Titania from A Midsummer Night’s Dream (both William Whitener’s and Devon Carney’s versions), Mina in Michael Pink’s Dracula and one of her favorite, Odette/Odile in Swan Lake. Any one of these roles is an accomplishment and part of a ballerina’s bucket list. But Swan Lake holds a place in her heart. “Dancing this role felt like I was connected to all the generations of previous ballerinas who’d danced this role. It’s a special accomplishment—a bond.” Tempe says.

Working with the legendary Cynthia Gregory was one of her career highlights. “She helped me make the role my own. Her focus was on expressing the emotion of the scene. By getting that right you enrich the experience for everyone,” Tempe says.

Dancer Tempe Ostergren | Photography by Elizabeth Stehling
Dancer Tempe Ostergren | Photography by Elizabeth Stehling

SWAN SONG

Tempe will retire after 20 years as a professional ballerina.

Of Kansas City, Tempe shares her appreciation of the audiences. She considered them accepting, nurturing even. They empowered her to have freedom to perform onstage without fear and judgement. She appreciates the quality of life that KC has offered. “It’s a big city with lots of arts offerings, but without the steep costs and traffic. And the supporters are loyal and easy to talk to.”

She feels lucky to have been in the right place at the right time. She never felt pegged as one type of dancer. And having danced for two decades without a major injury, she beat the odds. Her whole career was spent with her nose to the grindstone. She’s proud that she stayed true to herself and worked diligently on her technique. She is grateful for the faith she had in herself and her rich collection of experiences both in the studio and on stage.

Tempe Ostergren | Photography Elizabeth Stehling
Tempe Ostergren | Photography Elizabeth Stehling

NEXT STEPS

Not one to ever stop progress. Tempe will continue to teach ballet classes at Kansas City Ballet School as her schedule allows. But she’s excited for her next role: mother. Her son is due this summer.

“I’ve heard that as one transitions from dancing, you never know how you will feel. It’s a totally different chapter ahead,” she says. She fully expects to immerse herself in motherhood. But down the road she imagines her interests in gardening, going back to college and teaching or coaching ballet students will come to the forefront.

“With ballet I cannot say goodbye. Never goodbye,” she says with a smile.

 

2018-19 Dancer Profile: Emily Mistretta

Kansas City Ballet Dancer, Emily Mistretta, joined the company in 2016. She is thrilled to debut as the ravishing courtesan, Marguerite, in Val Caniparoli’s Lady of the Camellias Feb. 15-24, 2019 at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.

Dancers: Emily Mistretta & Lamin Pereira dos Santos. Photography: Kenny Johnson.
Dancers: Emily Mistretta & Lamin Pereira dos Santos. Photography: Kenny Johnson.

Q: WHAT WERE YOU FEELING/THINKING WHEN YOU FOUND OUT YOU’D BE DANCING THE ROLE OF MARGUERITE? 

A: I was so excited  when I heard I was being considered for the role of Marguerite. I performed in Val Caniparoli’s Lady of the Camellias when I was still dancing with Boston Ballet and fell in love with the ballet and especially her character. I would watch every night from the wings the end scene of Marguerite in her room alone. It’s so transporting.

Q: WHAT ARE YOU MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO WITH REGARDS TO LADY OF THE CAMELLIAS?

A: I’m most looking forward to the acting aspect of the ballet. I have always loved the side of ballet that tells a story and lets you really become somebody or something else. It’s exciting getting into her character and persona, trying to find the different layers of her and attempting to portray that to the audience.

Dancers Emily Mistretta and Lamin Pereira dos Santos. Photography by Elizabeth Stehling.
Dancers Emily Mistretta and Lamin Pereira dos Santos. Photography by Elizabeth Stehling.

Q: HAVE YOU EVER DANCED IN ANY OF vAL cANIPAROLI’S BALLETS?

A: I danced in Val Caniparoli’s The Lottery during my first season with KCB. I played the role of Mrs. Summers who struggles to go against the grain of the rest of society. It was a somewhat dark ballet to dance. I really enjoyed that intensity.

Q: WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT REHEARSALS?

A: I enjoy the work itself. Getting into the gritty details and figuring out what works best for me. It’s a discussion and a discovery that kind of unfolds. I kind of have to go through the muck and figure it out, but when I do it feels so rewarding.

 

Top Photo by Brett Pruitt & East Market Studios

Behind the Scenes: Lady of the Camellias

Dancers Kaleena Burks and James Kirby Rogers with Emily Mistretta and Lamin Pereira dos Santos. Photography by Elizabeth Stehling.
Dancers Kaleena Burks and James Kirby Rogers with Emily Mistretta and Lamin Pereira dos Santos. Photography by Elizabeth Stehling.

Kansas City Ballet dancers are busy rehearsing in the studios. They perform Val Caniparoli‘s Lady of the Camellias Feb. 15-24 at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.

Set to Frédéric Chopin’s romantic score, Alexandre Dumas’ love story makes its triumphant Kansas City premiere. The story inspired popular adaptations including Baz Luhrman’s movie Moulin Rouge! and Verdi’s opera La Traviata.

REHEARSAL FOOTAGE

REHEARSAL PHOTOS

Dancers Emily Mistretta and Lamin Pereira dos Santos. Photography by Elizabeth Stehling.
Dancers Emily Mistretta and Lamin Pereira dos Santos. Photography by Elizabeth Stehling.
Dancers Emily Mistretta and Lamin Pereira dos Santos. Photography by Elizabeth Stehling.
Dancers Emily Mistretta and Lamin Pereira dos Santos. Photography by Elizabeth Stehling.

DANCER PROFILES

Learn more about the dancers in the lead roles of Armand and Marguerite.

“The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.”

2018-19 Dancer Profile: Lamin Pereira dos Santos

Kansas City Ballet Dancer, Lamin Pereira dos Santos, joined the company in 2014. Since then, he’s performed a number of principal roles in ballets from Albrecht in Giselle to Prince Desire in The Sleeping Beauty. This will be his second time performing in a ballet by choreographer Val Caniparoli. In 2017, he performed in Caniparoli’s The Lottery, based Shirley Jackson’s short story by the same name. He is thrilled to debut as Armand in this production of Lady of the Camellias Feb. 15-24, 2019 at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.

Q: WHAT ARE YOU MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO WITH REGARDS TO LADY OF THE CAMELLIAS?

A: I am definitely looking forward to performing this beautiful ballet with the most amazing piece of music composed by Chopin. Really, it’s a dream come true and I could not ask for better.

After being a super in ABT’s Lady of The Camellias back in 2010 and being fortunate enough to watch the company rehearsals performed by super stars Julie Kent, Marcelo Gomes, Roberto Bolle and Diana Vishneva in the principal roles of Marguerite and Armand I completely fell in love with the ballet and its story. But overall the acting and drama play a big part in it. And that’s why I love it so much.

During those rehearsals I witnessed so much emotion, love, drama and sadness. It helped me see ballet in a different way. At the end of rehearsals fellow dancers were in tears because the were touched by what they saw and felt. Right away I wanted to do the same and touch people’s heart and inspire them.

Dancers Emily Mistretta and Lamin Pereira dos Santos. Photography by Elizabeth Stehling.
Dancers Emily Mistretta and Lamin Pereira dos Santos. Photography by Elizabeth Stehling.

Q: HOW WILL THIS ROLE STRETCH YOU AND HELP YOU GROW AS A DANCER? 

A: This role will help me grow in many different ways. This time the challenge is a bit different and it goes beyond pirouettes and double tours. We all have technique, we all can do those things. But can you do that and act at the same time? I am so looking forward to performing a role different from the ones in classical ballet.

Q: HOW DO YOU GET INTO CHARACTER FOR THESE PRINCIPAL ROLES?

A: I get into character for these principals roles by listening to what the stager is passing on to me throughout the rehearsal process. I also do my own research by watching videos of dancers that I look up to and by recording my rehearsals whenever is possible so I can look for mistakes and for details that can add to telling the story perfectly. Finding the right resource is crucial to expending my knowledge.

Q: WHAT GOES THROUGH YOUR HEAD WHEN YOU ARE PARTNERING?

A: To be honest, I think about what is happening exactly at that moment in the drama. It helps to not think about what’s going to come up next in the ballet such as the next scene or next act. It will all happen naturally.

Dancers Emily Mistretta & Lamin Pereira dos Santos. Photography: Kenny Johnson.
Dancers Emily Mistretta & Lamin Pereira dos Santos. Photography: Kenny Johnson.

Q: WHAT HAVE YOU DONE OUTSIDE OF THE STUDIO TO PREPARE FOR THIS ROLE?

A: As part of my physical training for this role, I am at the gym at 6:00 a.m. for a workout designed to improve my strength and stamina. When the show opens, I’ll perform a ten-minute pas de deux with lots of lifts, so I have added more to my routine in the gym to prepare. A lot of times people don’t realize what it takes to be a male ballet dancer and make everything look graceful, effortless and lift ballerinas over our heads.

Q: WHAT NEEDS TO HAPPEN FOR YOU TO BE SATISFIED WITH YOUR PERFORMANCE?

A: It is hard to be completely satisfied because every performance will be different. It’s never going to be perfect every time! But going on stage with confidence, commitment and passion will make me satisfied. You just have to embrace the role 100% for sure and let your experience and artistry take over the stage and the moment. Everything will fall into the right place.

 

Top Photo by Brett Pruitt & East Market Studios

2018-19 KCB II Dancer Profile: Divya Rea

Divya Rea is in her second season as a member of KCB II, part of Kansas City Ballet’s Second Company.  Originally from Wheaton, Ill., Divya has enjoyed getting to know KC. When she’s not in the ballet studio, you might find her at the River Market shopping for produce or perusing art during First Fridays.

Q: TELL US WHY YOU BECAME A DANCEr.

A: When I was three years old, my mom enrolled me in a beginner’s ballet class. I loved (and still love) the freedom of dancing. I am able to express emotions I otherwise couldn’t describe, and in the studio, I can escape my worries and focus solely on my craft.

Q: WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO WHEN YOU ARE NOT DANCING? 

A: When I have free time, I enjoy playing the piano, writing, or watching TV—essentially anything relaxing after a day of rehearsals! On the weekends, I enjoy walking around Kansas City. I’ve happened upon multiple festivals and fairs by simply taking a walk.

From 2017-18 as KCB II members, dancers Divya Rea and Angelin Carrant. Photography by Brett Pruitt & East Market Studios.
From 2017-18 as KCB II members, dancers Divya Rea and Angelin Carrant. Photography by Brett Pruitt & East Market Studios.

Q: WHAT QUESTION DO YOU GET ASKED MOST ABOUT YOUR JOB AS A DANCER?

A: I often get asked how I stand on my toes, and I always say practice. Every day I work on perfecting my technique and gaining strength. Ballet is not easy, but through repetition and rehearsal it becomes easier.

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

A: Cross-training is important to me. Outside the studio, I alternate my workouts. Some days I elliptical or power walk, other days I lift weights. I incorporate Pilates to lengthen my muscles. I also cook often. I love trying new, healthy recipes.

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

A: One of my first ballet teachers would always remind me that everything is “90% mental.” While that exact percentage may vary, this phrase has shaped my attitude in life. Before I approach a challenge, I must believe it is possible.

 

Top Photo by Brett Pruitt & East Market Studios

2018-19 Dancer Profile: Amaya Rodriguez

Kansas City Ballet Dancer, Amaya Rodriguez, joined the company in 2015. She is originally from Cuba and danced with National Ballet of Cuba under Alicia Alonso. She’s made Kansas City her home.

Q: TELL US WHY YOU BECAME A DANCEr.

A: I began to study ballet after the first time I saw Swan Lake. I was struck by so much beauty. From that moment, I knew dancing would be my future.

Q: WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO WHEN YOU ARE NOT DANCING? 

A: I like to do different things like reading a book, studying to learn new things, listening to music and cooking. This way I can relax after a long and exhausting day of work as a dancer.

KC Ballet Dancer Amaya Rodriguez with Company Dancers. Photography: Brett Pruitt & East Market Studios.
KC Ballet Dancer Amaya Rodriguez with Company Dancers. Photography: Brett Pruitt & East Market Studios.

Q: WHAT IS YOUR GUILTY PLEASURE?

A: I like to sing when I’m at home and pretend I’m very famous singer. I can believe it 100%.

Q: WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT BALLET?

A: I love the passion that has developed in me since I was a child. I love the pleasure I feel when I hear the applause of the audience when I finish a performance and especially that I am able to give my all daily despite the fatigue that my body may feel. When I hear the music and think about the choreography, it makes me forget everything and surrender to the magic of my career … dance.

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

A: As long as you know what you want, you can achieve anything. Effort and discipline will be your best allies.

 

Top Photo by Brett Pruitt & East Market Studios

2019 Summer Intensive Auditions Begin

Auditions for Kansas City Ballet School’s 2018 Summer Intensive program begin today. After all, summer will be here before we know it.

Auditions

Admission to Kansas City Ballet School Summer Intensive is by audition only. The five-week program is for students 11-22 years of age (females who have had a minimum of one school year of pointe work). Auditions kick off this Friday, Jan. 4 in Chicago and continue to 22 other cities throughout January and into February. Here is the complete list. KCBS will host two auditions: the first is on Saturday, Jan. 19 and the the second on Saturday, Feb. 16—the final audition.

Students unable to attend one of these may submit a video audition by Feb. 13 or try to schedule an appointment audition at KCBS.

Registration

Pre-registration fees are $30 in advance—these close the Wednesday prior to the audition. On-site registration fees are $40. In addition to fees, students will need to:

  1. Complete online Audition Form
  2. Attach photos to online Audition Form or bring to audition (4×6, with student’s name on the back)
    • Headshot (females with hair up)
    • First arabesque (females on pointe).

Questions

For more information about auditioning for Kansas City Ballet’s Summer Intensive, contact Kansas City Ballet School at 816.931.2299 or school@kcballet.org.

 

Photography by Brett Pruitt & East Market Studios.