Me, Dorothy…and This Road to Oz is an unprecedented immersive trip down the yellow brick road with the Kansas City Ballet as the cast and crew prepare for the world premiere of Septime Webre’s The Wizard of Oz. Audiences will follow composers, choreographers, costume builders, set designers and dancers from first read through the final bow and beyond using multi-platform and multi-media storytelling that will engage and enthrall people of all ages.
Kansas City PBS had unfettered access to show the process of creating a brand new ballet from a timeless classic, as well as to celebrate an iconic Kansas City arts organization commemorating 60 years of excellence. The Wizard of Oz premiered October 12 and closed October 21, 2018 at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.
See the documentary this Friday, Nov. 16 at 8 p.m. or midnight on KCPT. (It will be simulcast at 8 p.m. on KCPT’s Facebook page.) It airs again on KCPT Sunday, Nov. 18 at 1 and 4 p.m. KCPT2 will air it on Saturday, Nov. 17 at 7 and 11 p.m. or Sunday, Nov. 18 at 3 p.m. After this weekend, stream it for free at KCPT.org under the menu tab ‘LOCAL SHOWS’.
Watch interviews with the major players involved in creating this new ballet here.
Ballet Hawaii, along with special guest dancers, performed Kansas City Ballet Artistic Director Devon Carney‘s The Sleeping BeautyAug. 3-5, 2018 at the Neal S. Blaisdell Center in downtown Honolulu. The performances followed three weeks of rehearsals.
“Everyone did so wonderfully and all the Ballet Hawaii young dancers really stepped up! The audiences loved all the performances,” Carney said. “We all had a great time!”
Our 2018-2019 Season opens with the much anticipated WORLD PREMIERE of Septime Webre’s The Wizard of Oz, continues with the KANSAS CITY PREMIERE of Val Caniparoli’s Lady of the Camellias, and closes with a contemporary, tour-de-force line-up with three celebrated American choreographers in Tharp / Parsons / Forsythe, Twyla Tharp’s In the Upper Room, William Forsythe’s high-voltage thrill ride, In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated, and a World Premiere by David Parsons.
ADD ON PERFORMANCES
The season also includes the annual return of the nationally-recognized, The Nutcracker, and local favorite, New Moves.
While spooky may not be your first thought when you think of ballet, Kansas City Ballet has had its share of creatures of the night… Take a quick trip down memory lane and have yourself a very happy Halloween!
In response to the growing trend of using mobile devices to browse the web and shop online, Kansas City Ballet recently revealed a new website design with the newest technology especially for viewing on smartphones and tablets.
The year 2017 marks the first in which mobile viewing exceeded desktop visits on the Ballet’s page. In fact, there have been more than 163,000 mobile visits in the last year, compared to 130,000 on desktop computers.
Mobile sales still only account for about 13% of all online sales, but with the increase of mobile users we expect that number to increase dramatically in the next few years, making it more and more important that the site be easy to navigate to learn about our productions and easily purchase tickets.
The new design allows for increased features on the site like using more videos to bring dance to the forefront of the experience, especially when viewed on a desktop. It also does a better job of providing visitors a closer, more enhanced view of the breadth of work the organization does.
“It’s important to keep up with technological trends and we are excited about how these changes will help our patrons have a more enjoyable online experience,” says David Anderson, director of marketing for Kansas City Ballet. “And, there couldn’t be a better time than now to launch a new site as the Ballet celebrates its 60th Anniversary Season.”
A NEW MENU
The new design also helps highlight all of Kansas City Ballet’s programs, especially with improved menu navigations.
This is Lamin Pereira dos Santos’s first season with Kansas City Ballet. He is originally from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and began dancing at the age of 10. Lamin’s most recent role with Kansas City Ballet was Albrecht in our March production of Giselle. Read below to learn more about Lamin!
Q: What was it like getting to dance such a prominent lead role in Giselle such as Albrecht?
A: Performing the role of Albrecht gives me a huge feeling of accomplishment and it’s really a dream come true to be able to perform such a big role, especially after so many years of dedication, hard work and passion. The moment I had on stage was truly precious and an unforgettable experience!
Q: What is your favorite moment to perform in Giselle?
A: I love the Mad Scene in the 1st act and there are so many moments in the 2nd act that I really love too, especially when Albrecht first arrives to Giselle’s grave, and from the pas de deux until the end of the ballet when Albrecht is devastated.
Q: What were you feeling as you were getting ready to perform Giselle for the first time in front of an audience?
A: I was actually very nervous when I was getting ready in my dressing room because it was my first time performing this ballet, and there is a lot of responsibility on my shoulders. My biggest concern was if I was going to tell the story of Giselle clearly enough for the audience to understand. The technical part in the second act also had me a little worried, it’s very hard! But once I stepped on stage, all of my concerns and doubts were gone and I had a fantastic time. I was really relaxed during the performance.
Q: How did you first get involved in ballet?
A: In Brazil, for students of the public schools, the government had extra activities such as judô, painting, dance, gymnastics, and soccer.
I was the kid involved in soccer, basketball and judô, nothing related to dance. My little sister was the one taking dance classes. One day when I was about 10 years old, her dance teacher asked me to join the class to help my sister with rolling on the floor and doing cartwheels, so I said yes, why not?
After six months my teacher Denise Sá took us to a professional ballet school called Centro de Dança Rio to apply for a scholarship. I did the exam but the director could only offer me a full scholarship if I took ballet class. She took me to watch a professional class and introduced me to Thiago Soares (principal of Royal Ballet) and the ballet master Maria Angelica Fiorani, and that’s when I decided that I wanted to dance ballet.
Q: Was the professional ballet school you attended an after school activity growing up?
A: It was an after school activity but it was also a professional ballet school where I learned different styles of dance, and there were exams to move from one level to another. The main objective was to prepare dancers for corp de ballet. It was a private school. For me it didn’t feel like it was an extra activity growing up because at that point I wasn’t doing it just for fun or to pass the time. I knew that dancing was what I wanted to do and I wanted to become a professional.
Q: Were your parents easily convinced to let you enroll in all of these new dance classes?
A: My mom was the one taking me and my siblings to dance at first, then my dad joined her and they never said no or criticized our choices. Eventually my parents were always at ballet competitions watching me, or traveling to another place for competitions. They also came every time to my open classes for parents to watch. They always gave me support!
Q: What motivated you to decide to audition for companies in the US?
A: I was always very focused on my goals and never really cared about anything else but ballet, which was my dream. I competed throughout the years and in 2007 I was competing at Youth America Grand Prix Semi Finals in Brazil and received 2nd place and a spot to compete in the final round in NYC in April of 2008.
Once in NYC I knew there were going to be a lot of amazing dancers, so I tried to focus on myself and show the best of me. At that time my biggest wish was that a director from a big school or company would see me and offer me something; either a contract or a scholarship.
I made it to the final round in NYC and was awarded a full scholarship to the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School at American Ballet Theatre! I was extremely happy and I could not wait for that opportunity. I moved to NYC in August of 2008.
This past weekend, Artistic Director Devon Carney’s production of Giselle opened at the Kauffman Center! We want to congratulate our dancers, production team and staff on a fantastic job making this beautiful production come to life.
Below you can view a short video featuring highlights from this past weekend’s shows.
Click here to read the Kansas City Star’s review of Giselle.
There are still three performances left – March 20-22! Get your tickets online at kcballet.org or 816.931.8993.
Yoshiya Sakurai just finished his fourth season with Kansas City Ballet. He is originally from Niigata City in Japan and has been dancing since the age of three. He has received numerous awards throughout his career and trained at many prestigious facilities around the US and Canada. Yoshiya’s most recent role with Kansas City Ballet was the Jester in our May production of Cinderella. Read below to learn more about Yoshiya.
Q: How did you get involved in dance? A: I started ballet because my mom was a ballet dancer and teacher. I started dancing with her at the age of three.
Q: Are there any cultural differences between dancing in the US and Japan? A: In Japan, dancing is not really a full-time job, and many dancers work other jobs. In the US, dancing full-time has many benefits and you work for a longer period of time throughout the year.
Q: What do you do when you’re not dancing? A: I like to hang out with friends, play video games, and watch movies.
Q: What is something most people don’t know about you? A: I get coffee at Parisi in Union Station almost every morning before work!
Q: What are you most looking forward to next season? A: I am excited to be a part of our Artistic Director, Devon Carney’s first season (that he has chosen the programming). I look forward to seeing how our company grows.
Q: What is the biggest difference between living in the US and Japan? A: I think that would have to be the food in Japan – I miss it!
Q: What would you like to do in the future? A: It would be great to help train a younger dancer that desires to become a professional!
NEW MOVES opened this past weekend here at the Bolender Center. This choreographic showcase allows company dancers and outside guest choreographers to create new works on our dancers. This year six new works premiered, of which four were created by company dancers Charles Martin, Travis Guerin, Anthony Krutzkamp and Ian Poulis, and two by outside guests, Erin Lustig of Seamless Dance Theater and Ilya Kozadayev, former principle dancer with Houston Ballet.
Take a look below to see some highlights from this past weekend. If you’re in the area, you still have a couple chances to catch this great performance! Get your tickets for April 4 or 5 by visiting our website or calling 816.931.2232!