Enrollment is underway for Kansas City Ballet School’s summer classes and camps for kids ages 2-18.
Summer is a great time to discover ballet. The classes are 4- or 6-week sessions that meet 1-2 times a week. Students and parents get a chance to see what the fall and winter semesters bring.
Summer camps meet 4 times in one week, with a performance during the final 15 minutes on the last day of class. Choose from the following camp themes: Little Mermaid, Fairy Princess or Storybook Ballet.
Additional courses and workshops are available for ages 8-18.
“Our summer programs are a great way for children to spend the summer – physical and artistic activity combined,” KCB School Director Grace Holmes says. “Students who already dance can maintain and enhance their training, and those who have never danced before can try something new.”
If your child is interested in ballet, this is a great time to try it!
In 2019, KCBS submitted 71 solo entries, three pas de deux entries, and four ensemble entries for a grand total of 78 entries—up 15 entries from 2018. KCBS had students competing in every category. The Kansas City Semi-finals had 523 total entries.
“My favorite part of YAGP is seeing the progress in the students by the end of the year. And even though it is a competition, it feels like it brings us within our school and even the whole dance community together,” KCBS’s Principal and YAGP Coordinator Racheal Nye says. “Lots of supportive energy and learning from one another!”
A total of 18 coaches and choreographers worked with the students for approximately 35 hours of rehearsals per week preparing for the competition. This was outside of their regular ballet and dance classes. The list of coaches and choreographers include: Racheal Nye, Dmitry Trubchanov, David Justin, Debbie Jacobs-Huffaker, Sean Duus, Danielle Fu, Lamin Periera dos Santos, Dillon Malinski, Amaya Rodriguez, James Kirby Rogers, Taryn Ouellette, Amanda Moder, Austin Meiteen, Jeremy Hansen, Ryan Jolicoeur-Nye, Andi Abernathy, Duncan Cooper, Courtney Collado, and Parrish Maynard.
The accomplishments of KCBS students in this competition would not be possible without the KCBS staff and faculty. So much more goes into YAGP behind the scenes than most people realize. Planning starts now (March) for next year, coaches are identified and paired with students over the summer, and rehearsals start in August.
“I want to thank every coach, student, and administrator involved! I also want to shout out to Racheal Nye, who manages the project,” says Kansas City Ballet School Director Grace Holmes. “She goes beyond the call of duty, spending hours finding the right coach and solo for each student, taking into account each student’s technical ability and learning style. She also spends hours working on music, getting accounts sorted, and making sure students have costumes. At the event, she was there for every student in need, whether they were our students or not. We appreciate her SO much for everything she does for KCBS!”
Grace Holmes said: “I am SO proud of all of our students who participated in YAGP this year. We had students representing our Academy from both Evening and Daytime Programs. Every student worked so hard to present their best work in their moment on stage. It is gratifying as a teacher and director to see our students grow through the process of learning, refining and performing their pieces. Watching them grow as artists and achieve their goals is what it is all about.”
In addition to performing well on stage KCBS students were wonderful ambassadors for KCBS and Kansas City. Holmes believes this to be as important as the event itself.
Holmes admits the ballet world is very small and KCBS students will find themselves working alongside people in the future, who they danced alongside in their past. At YAGP, it’s the students chance to learn not only to share the stage but to foster an openness with other students. She deems this strengthens the dance community as a whole.
“When we start working on YAGP, we let our parents know that for the School, the priority is on the learning and growth experience, and not the competition awards,” Holmes says. “The awards are a reflection of our students’ hard work, but KCBS is proud of every student who participates regardless of the outcome. We see how hard the students are working and how much progress they are making, and that is the true reward.”
2019 RECOGNITION AND AWARDS
The YAGP Finals will be in New York April 12-19, 2019. Kansas City Ballet School has had students invited for the last four years and hopes to again. Invitations will go out soon.
Below is the list of recognition Kansas City Ballet School and students received at this year’s YAGP Semi-finals awards ceremony:
Outstanding School 2019
Pre-Competitive Classical (41 total entrants)
3rd Place: Chloe Kim
Top 12: Kaylee Meinholdt, Paisley Park
Pre-Competitive Contemporary (29 total entrants)
3rd Place: Paisley Park
Top 12: Kaylee Meinholdt, Chloe Kim
Junior Classical (120 total entrants)
2nd Place: Kathryn Benson
Top 12: Lillie Barr
Junior Contemporary (78 total entrants)
2nd Place: Hannah Hudson
Senior Classical Women (118 total entrants)
2nd Place: Talia Lebowitz
Top 12: Hannah Zucht
Senior Classical Men (118 total entrants)
3rd Place: Timothy TV Cao
Senior Contemporary (98 total entrants)
Top 12: Timothy TV Cao
Ensembles (29 total entrants)
3rd Place: Duncan Cooper Continuum
Top 12: Parrish Maynard Fractals
Top 12: Racheal Nye Nocturne
Pas de Deux (10 total entrants)
1st Place: (Tie) Talisman-Hannah Zucht/Timothy Cao
and Remembrance-Juliette Rafael/Timothy Cao
Auditions for Kansas City Ballet School’s 2018 Summer Intensive program begin today. After all, summer will be here before we know it.
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.
Poppy Trettel has been in love with ballet ever since her mom—a former KCBS dancer—signed her up for a class when she was 2 years old. Poppy trained at Kansas City Ballet School with hopes of becoming a professional dancer, or being cast in a dance movie. “My mom selected Kansas City Ballet School because she attended KCBS when she was young, and she wanted the best teachers for me. She also wanted a live pianist for my classes and great opportunities for me to perform,” Poppy said.
Now age 12, Poppy’s ballet star is quickly rising.
YAGP OPENS A DOOR
One of the inaugural students in KCBS’s Daytime Program which started in 2016, Poppy has worked very hard on her clean classical ballet style and technique. She has participated and ranked in the Youth America Grand Prix competitions for the past few years. This past winter, she did so well she was offered a chance to attend Canada’s National Ballet School (NBS) summer intensive.
NBS is the top ballet company in Canada’s school which is comfortably in the upper echelon of worldwide status. Getting to know her over the summer, they saw her potential and invited her to attend for the school year. That meant making a big move to Canada and living in the school’s dormitory.
Happily, she wasn’t alone. Her former KCBS classmate and dance partner, Grady George, also attends NBS.
“We are SO proud of Poppy. Her work ethic and grace have taken her so far in her young career,” says School Director Grace Holmes. “She has been able to fully embrace all of the training and support our faculty have given her, and has taken it to a whole new level. We look forward to seeing where her talent and hard work takes her!”
In 2017, Poppy danced the role of “Clara” in Kansas City Ballet’s The Nutcracker along with two others. Of course she’d grown up dancing roles in The Nutcracker including Bunny, polichinelle, party scene and more.
“Watching Poppy grow up while training under the skilled faculty of Kansas City Ballet Academy has been a very rewarding experience,” says KCB Artistic Director Devon Carney.
“Her participation in several of our productions over the years, especially as Clara in Kansas City Ballet’s The Nutcracker, has proven to be quite formative for her. It is not surprising that her advancement beyond her years is now being recognized by The National Ballet of Canada. I believe she has a great potential to go far in her future in the dance world. We wish her all the best.”
PAST YOUTH AMERICA GRAND PRIX POSTS WITH POPPY TRETTEL
There were 167 students who attended this year’s intensive program. Of those, only 37 are current KCBS Academy attendees, the rest were chosen through auditions that took place across the country or through video auditions. The majority of students came from outside of Kansas and Missouri, and two were from outside of the U.S. Of these one is from Japan and the other from Bulgaria.
Besides learning from an incredible list of teachers and faculty from Kansas City Ballet, others included: Sarah Lane, Alicia Graf Mack, Olivier Munoz, Larissa Ponomarenko, and Mel Tomlinson. All couldn’t be happier with the students’ eagerness to learn or their progress during the program.
“The students who attended our summer intensive this year were amazing,” said Kansas City Ballet School Director Grace Holmes. “Their level of commitment, camaraderie and artistic spirit, took our program to new levels. I am so proud of all of the students who danced with us this summer and we are grateful that they and their parents chose Kansas City Ballet School.”
Kansas City Ballet School Director Grace Holmes praises the students for their hard work at this year’s intensive. Photography: Andrea Wilson
On Tuesday, May 15, Kansas City Ballet School presented its 2018 Spring Performance at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. Students from Level 2 up to and including the Student Trainees from Kansas City Ballet’s Second Company performed a variety of works for the more than 900 in attendance.
Kansas City Ballet School Director, Grace Holmes, said: “I am so proud of the accomplishments of our students this year. Our Spring Performance showed off our students’ hard work and allowed them the incredible opportunity to share their passion on the Kauffman stage. The depth they are achieving in this wonderful art form of dance is so beautiful to see – they make our School proud!”
“It‘s wonderful to watch our students grow technically and artistically as they prepare for YAGP,” KCB School Director Grace Holmes said. “Having something to work towards and an opportunity to share their hard work, contributes to students’ self-confidence. And our students are so supportive of each other – it shows how close-knit our Academy community is.”
More than 10,000 students from 31 countries who competed during the regional finals around the globe. Only 1,500 were invited to the finals in New York. Of these 800 were soloists of which KCBS happily had three, one made it to the final round: Poppy Trettel.
While KCBS students did not place at the national competition finals this year, three received scholarship offers from prestigious schools.
Hannah Zucht: Harid Conservatory
Simo Atanasov: Joffrey Ballet
Poppy Trettel: Canada’s National Ballet School
Shaping the Future
When asked about the event, Racheal Nye, principal and YAGP coordinator, said, “It’s great to see the growth in the kids by the end of the process, and see the school represented so well at an international event. I also really enjoy being inspired and motivated by other schools and seeing the talented students from around the world.”
Nye is proud of the way the KCBS students were kind and welcoming to other participants, and their professional attitudes. For example, the Baroque ensemble dancers were reviewing independently and had lined up at open stage to space before she even got there to look for them.
Every year Nye reads through the written performance critiques from the YAGP judges. Her goal is to incorporate these corrections into how she teaches all of her students going forward. She tries to approach the things she wants to fix by gearing the combinations to train the body to reflexively accomplish the move correctly. By looking at the experience as a whole, she attempts to answer these questions:
What pieces/choreography seemed to do well?
How prepared were the students and was there anything that she could do in advance that would make things run more smoothly?
What could she learn about preparing better for the venue? Etc.
In doing so, the results from these competitions shape strategy for future years.
Related Blog Posts
Here are some links to past blog posts with similar topics:
On June 3, 2018, Kansas City Youth Ballet (KCYB) performed in the Rose Garden at Loose Park . The performance is part of an annual event for Kansas City Rose Society. For more than a decade, KCYB has provided entertainment for the Rose Day celebration. Other events that day include a children’s rose craft workshop, a jazz performance by Mighty MO, a Mayor’s Proclamation, and free ice cream, lemonade and bottled water for attendees.
No Divide KC will host an event at Kansas City Ballet’s Bolender Center on Saturday, June 30 from 1 to 4 p.m. called “We Move with You.” The event is open to all ages and especially families in the community and will focus on promoting ways kids and adults with developmental delays can add to the creative landscape of Kansas City. There is a $5 suggested donation.
“I’ve wanted to do an event that highlights those with delays and disabilities for a while,” No Divide KC’s Board President Stacy Busch said.
“I have a nephew with autism. When I learned about the Adaptive Dance program, I thought this would be a great way to make something happen in a very positive way. KCBS offers lots of resources and we’re really excited to partner with them to host something in their home.”
More about No Divide KC
No Divide KC is a nonprofit arts organization that creates artistic events that highlight various social causes, organizations, and issues. Using the arts as a vehicle for stimulating social awareness, participation, and community building, these performances help garner greater attention to these underserved social areas and bolster community acceptance and collaboration in Kansas City.
No Divide KC promotes warm and accepting spaces for all people. They’ve held benefit concerts combined with ways for local community organizations to recruit volunteers and spread awareness. They’ve also created documentaries that encouraged body positivity and also under represented female identifying people in our community. This fall they will create an exhibition and documentary in conjunction with the Johnson County Library that will feature local artists from multiple minority groups.
This past weekend (March 1-4, 2018) Kansas City’s Folly Theater was teeming with tutus. It was the first time Youth America Grand Prix (YAGP) had held a Regional Semi-Final in Kansas City. It appears to be a success.
More than 300 students from all over the city, region and country competed.
Just how did KCBS stack up against the competition? Pretty well.
For the second year in a row, KCBS received the “Outstanding School Award”. Last year it was at the competition in Indianapolis. “It felt good to get it here at home. There were several schools in the running, so it wasn’t something we expected to get but we are thrilled and honored,” Holmes said.
Also of special note, Kansas City Ballet School student, Aurora Wessel (11), won the “Hope Award”. This is an award that YAGP doesn’t always give out. It is intended as a special honor for the student who exceeds in both contemporary and classical competition. It’s more prestigious than simply winning first place. Aurora placed in the Top 12 for both Contemporary and Classical dance categories in the Pre-Competitive Age Division.
The overall number of pieces performed by category by all participating schools: Pre-competitive Category (66 pieces), Junior Category (196 pieces), Pas de Deux (14 pieces; 7 were from KCBS), Ensembles (30 pieces), Senior Classical (122 pieces) and Senior Contemporary (76 pieces).
“Many of the visiting schools and the judges were pleasantly surprised at how wonderful Kansas City is and how well the arts are supported here,” Kansas City Ballet School Director Grace Holmes said. “I was surprised at how many schools locally and regionally came to KC to participate.”
It’s no secret that Kansas City is conveniently situated in the heart of the country making it an easy drive from many states or a great place for air travel. And as a new YAGP venue, there was a lot of excitement specifically because of the “unknowns”. A little unpredictability can have advantages, so in this competition it’s not a bad thing to compete in a new location.
Kansas City Ballet School students really made an impression according to KCBS YAGP Coordinator Racheal Nye, “I received such positive feedback from other schools’ students and parents about the kindness of our KCBS students towards others, and that is something I’m incredibly proud of. Our kids were wonderful ambassadors for our school.”
“I am so happy with the work that all of our coaches and teachers put into preparations for this competition. At first I was not sure about having our students participate in a competition. But Racheal changed my mind about that when she brought a small group to YAGP two years ago. The reason we now do YAGP is because of Racheal. She had the vision that in participating in YAGP, our students could expand their already intense dance education by working through the process of learning, refining and performing these solos. And on top of coaching, she single-handedly did all the administration and scheduling, not to mention costumes, makeup demonstrations and took care of so many other details,” says Holmes. Her dedication certainly paid off. See the list of KCBS accomplishments for the 2018 YAGP Regional Semi-Finals below.
Holmes would like to thank Kansas City Ballet Artistic Director Devon Carney and Kansas City Ballet Executive Director Jeffrey J. Bentley for supporting KCBS in its YAGP efforts. “It’s always a huge undertaking for the school and it puts strain on the organization to have this many kids participate. So, I appreciate them taking a leap of faith on us,” Holmes says.
FINALS IN NYC
Invitations to attend the 2018 YAGP Finals will go out soon. The Finals will be held in New York City on April 19 at Lincoln Center.
2018 YAGP, KANSAS CITY, MO, KCBS WINNERS
Outstanding School: Kansas City Ballet School
1st Place Pas de Deux Category
2nd Place Ensemble: Coda from Esmeralda (Racheal Nye)
Hope Award: Aurora Wessel (11)
Top 12: Penelope Guezuraga (11)
3rd Place: Penelope Guezuraga (11)
Top 12: Kathryn Benson (11)
Junior Classical Women
1st Place: Poppy Trettel (12)
3rd Place: Melody Sasser (14)
Top 12: Addison Diaz (14), Mia Porter (12)
Junior Classical Men
2nd Place: Grady George (13)
Top 12: Poppy Trettel (12)
Top 12: Camryn Potts (17), Grace Reed (18), Hope Wampler (16), Timothy TV Cao (15)
Top 12: Camryn Potts (17), Mina-Vasiliya Stoyanova (17), Timothy TV Cao (15)
Read previous post about the 2018 YAGP competition?