Summer Notes: Ramona Pansegrau

“The best thing in the world is to make music. To be able to do that, I am privileged,” says Kansas City Ballet Music Director Ramona Pansegrau.

Kansas City Ballet Music Director Ramona Pansegrau has filled her summer with incredible (and stressful) musical experiences.

11th Annual USA International Ballet Competition

After Peter Pan wrapped on May 20, she was on a plane the next day to Jackson, Miss. She served as the music director for the 11th annual USA International Ballet Competition in Jackson June 10-23, 2018. This first trip was to find the music in the music library for all of the contestants.

JACOB’s PILLOW

The next day she boarded a plane bound for Massachusetts and the annual Jacob’s Pillow festival that she’s played a role in for the past 16 years. This year she helped prepare music for a world premiere ballet by Annabell Lopez Ochoa  at the Opening Gala of Jacob’s Pillow on Saturday, June 16.

11th Annual USA International Ballet Competition Continued

Then she flew back to Jackson on June 19 for session 3 of the competition to rehearse the orchestra for the Awards Gala and the Encore Gala, June 22-23. All competition medalists perform their solos or pas de deux to live orchestra.

Here’s the thing, though. The medalists are chosen and the list of their performance music is given to Ms. Pansegrau around 2 or 3 a.m. Friday. That’s when the real fun begins as she must stay up all night to prepare and arrange all the music from the larger collection (97 lbs of music!) she pulled in May. Her first rehearsal with the orchestra was from 9 to 11:30 a.m., the morning of the Awards Gala. That was followed by orchestra and dancers rehearsing together from 1 to 3 p.m. A dress rehearsal came next, from 4:30 to 6 p.m., and the Gala began at 7:30 p.m. Learn even more about this challenging and brutal process in this Mississippi Today article where Ms. Pansegrau is featured.

Preparing for Kansas City Ballet’s 2018-2019 Season

Now that she’s back, she’s keeping busy working on a new set of orchestra parts for Kansas City Ballet’s February show, Lady of the Camellias.

On Aug. 6, she’ll be back in the studios playing optional company classes. The dancers will all return Aug. 20 for the season.

 

Jeffrey Bentley: Nonprofit Professional of the Year

Luncheon Chairs Mary T. O'Connor and Mark C. Thompson pose with Jeffrey J. Bentley and his 2018 Nonprofit Professional of the Year award   |   J Robert Schraeder Photography
Luncheon Chairs Mary T. O’Connor and Mark C. Thompson pose with Jeffrey J. Bentley and his 2018 Nonprofit Professional of the Year award | J Robert Schraeder Photography

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.

AWARD VIDEO

Remembrance: Brenda Crowe

Brenda Crowe and her son Tyler Crowe at Kansas City Ballet's "The Nutcracker" in 2016.
Brenda Crowe and her son Tyler Crowe at Kansas City Ballet’s “The Nutcracker” in 2016.

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

Donations

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.

Welcome Back Jennifer Wampler

Kansas City Ballet Chief Development Officer Jennifer Wampler
Kansas City Ballet Chief Development Officer Jennifer Wampler

Kansas City Ballet is happy to welcome back veteran staffer Jennifer Wampler to the role of Chief Development Officer.

A Long History with Kansas City Ballet and KC Arts

Jennifer Wampler’s longtime relationship with KCB started in 1990 as she worked on her MBA from UMKC. She did an internship with the Ballet in the marketing and development departments. Then as an employee from 1992 to 1995, Ms. Wampler served as the Ballet’s manager of audience development. She spent most of the next 9 years working at UMKC’s School of Pharmacy before coming back to the Ballet in 2005 as the Development Director.

In 2012 after leading a highly successful capital campaign for the Todd Bolender Center for Dance & Creativity, helping drive kick off events like the first KC Dance Day in 2011 to establish the Bolender Center as a community asset, she again parted ways for another exciting project.

She led the capital campaign for UMKC’s Downtown Campus for the Conservatory project which is planned to locate just south of the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.

“It was a pie in the sky project with lots of fits and starts, which was similar to Kansas City Ballet’s capital campaign. But I took my experience from here, and knew there would be similar players in the process. I knew the ups and downs were normal but that we must stay the course. And, in the end, the campaign was successful,” Ms. Wampler says.

“With both high profile projects I got to meet some amazing people who make great things happen in our community. I’m so grateful for these experiences.”

Rendering of UMKC Conservatory of Dance Downtown Campus
Rendering of UMKC Conservatory of Dance Downtown Campus

What keeps her coming back to KCB?

The truth is she’s never truly left. Ms. Wampler has remained actively engaged with the Ballet through her involvement in the Guild, as a member of the Patrons Society, and as an Academy parent. She has a personal love of dance. She started dance lessons at the age of 3 and continued dancing thru grad school before becoming a founding member of Aha! Dance Theatre here in KC.

“Dance is a true passion of mine. These dancers are so phenomenal! I know the people and love the Company and the way it has grown and developed,” Ms. Wampler says. “I am grateful the way the city has embraced the Ballet. Arts growth in this city is amazing! It’s a part of who I am and who my family is with our involvement in this wonderful company.”

What are major goals going forward?

  • Continuing to raise funds for ongoing support of the company
  • Looking to future needs
  • Engaging donors in meaningful ways long-term.

Ms. Wampler knows that the growth of this organization is set to continue and that means her job is bigger and more important than ever.

No matter what lies ahead, she says, “I’m happy to be back!”

Artistic Profile: Parrish Maynard

MaynardParrisWeb-sm

In the fall of 2016, Kansas City Ballet invited Parrish Maynard to join the ranks of Ballet Master for the company. We spent a few minutes with Mr. Maynard to see how the transition has gone.

He has really enjoyed getting to know KC. He spoke of the energy of the city, the friendliness of its residents and the many outstanding arts amenities, and of course, about the BBQ!

Mr. Maynard was visiting Kansas City Ballet School over the summer as a guest teacher for the Summer Intensive program. He had been working with and choreographing for students since his dance career was cut short by an injury. “I retired after I broke my foot dancing,” he said. “I was devastated. My artistic director, Helgi Tomasson, asked me to try teaching in the San Francisco Ballet School. He said he wanted me to choreograph. In my time there I choreographed 23 ballets. It opened up my eyes to choreography.”

And, after 12 years, Mr. Maynard felt it was time to move onto something else.

“I was excited for the opportunity to work with professional dancers,” he said. “I’m so amazed by how much work they do for each show. Often they learn so many different roles and their days are difficult and their stamina is strong. Devon is great. He’s such a positive energy and so generous!”

He believes the company has very good energy and a positive atmosphere every day—which makes the job easier. He’s looking forward to The Sleeping Beauty. “I performed these roles at American Ballet Theatre, so this a bit of the passing of the torch. I’m also very excited about Balanchine’s Theme and Variations coming up this spring. I’ve done it my whole career. I’m happy to be passing my knowledge and experience on,” Maynard says.

Mr. Maynard’s Motto: Never stop working or learning.

 

Welcome Devon Carney – New Artistic Director Designate

Last week we announced the selection of our new Artistic Director designate, Devon Carney. We are very excited to welcome him to Kansas City, and are looking forward to the future of Kansas City Ballet under his artistic direction.

DevonCollage

Devon comes to us from Cincinnati Ballet, where he has spent roughly a decade of his career. In 2003, he was appointed chief ballet master, and was named associate artistic director in 2008.

Prior to Cincinnati, Devon was a company dancer with Boston Ballet. Joining their second company in 1978, he became a principal dancer with the main company eight years later.

Devon will see a few familiar faces when arrives at KCB, as two former dancers of Cincinnati Ballet are current dancers with us here at KCB – Jill Marlow and Anthony Krutzkamp.

AnthonyJill

As quoted in KCUR’s article, “Devon (Carney) is a really passionate person, so his personality really demonstrates that,” says Kansas City Ballet company member Jill Marlow, who danced with Cincinnati Ballet for eight years. “He’s extremely passionate about dance as an art form.”

Devon brings a wealth of knowledge to Kansas City Ballet, and we are all looking forward to his arrival in July.

He has already received a warm welcome from many of our patrons who have reached out to us via email and social media. There were also many great articles written about Devon’s selection. If you were like to learn more about him, you can find links to the articles below.

Kansas City Star | KC Metropolis | KCUR Cincinnati.com 

We hope you will join us beginning this fall for the 2013-14 Season for Devon’s first year as Artistic Director of Kansas City Ballet!

Production Manager: Amy Taylor

Q: Why did you decide to work at Kansas City Ballet?
A: While I was a graduate student at UMKC, I was offered the chance to come and assist the lighting designer. Joe Appelt, who was head of the program at UMKC, and also a former lighting designer for KCB, knew that my primary interest was in dance. I felt I would be a good fit.

Q: Do you have a previous background in dance or theatre? If so, tell me a little bit about that.
A: Dance has been part of my life for as long as I can remember. Being something of a show off, my parents enrolled me in ballet and tap classes early; I was four. I continued dancing all the way through college.

Q: Did you always know you wanted to have a role in theatre production?
A: No, my practical side told me to head into business, accounting to be specific; theatre was just a fun sideline. There came a point where I had to make a choice and I decided that I really belonged in the theatre world. As part of my classes I had to take a lighting class and I loved it. My instructors encouraged me to pursue the field further, and I was accepted to the graduate program at UMKC.

Q: What is your main role as Production Manager?
A: My primary role is to oversee the technical aspects for each performance.

Q: What is the most challenging Ballet you have worked on and why?
A: This is a definite tie. One is when “The Nutcracker” was redesigned. There were some challenges with the design that took a lot of time and patience to solve and meet with Todd Bolender’s approval.

The second is “Tom Sawyer.” So much time and thought had been put into all aspects of this production that by the time we reached technical rehearsals in the beautiful new Kauffman Center, there were a couple days that I really just wanted to hide. During technical rehearsals, it is stressful to balance the desires of the entire team while tackling the unavoidable changes that happen once the production hits the stage for the first time. It was tremendously satisfying to know that Bill Whitener and all the designers were pleased and proud of what had been accomplished when the curtain went up opening night.

Q: What has been one of your most memorable moments at the Ballet over the past 20 years?
A: We were invited to perform at Ballet Across America in June of 2008. I had the opportunity to light Todd Bolender’s “The Still Point.” It was thrilling to be part of the festival, and it was a highlight of my design career.

Q: Working for a company for 20 years is quite an accomplishment. What has been your motivation behind your decision to stay with Kansas City Ballet for this long?
A: Ultimately, I love this art form. Being able to contribute my technical skills to bring what the artistic staff and dancers create in the studio to the stage is what keeps me motivated.