2017 Summer Dance Classes and Camps

It’s official! The 2017 Summer Dance Classes and Camps for kids ages 2-18 are open for enrollment.

New this year are the “Dance with Me” class for ages 2-3 plus an adult and the new themes for the 4-day dance camps: “Beauty & The Beast” and “Island Adventure.” The cover image for the brochures that were mailed out recently is located below. To find out more, click here.

2017 KCBS Summer Programs Brochure Cover. Photography: Brett Pruitt & East Market Studios.

Event Recap: Dance Speaks—Male New Moves Choreographers Talk

On Wednesday, Jan. 18, the four male choreographers for Kansas City Ballet’s upcoming New Moves program (Feb. 16-19) participated in a panel discussion moderated by KCB Artistic Director Devon Carney at the ballet’s home, the Todd Bolender Center for Dance & Creativity. The choreographers, Yury Yanowsky, Michael Davis, Gustavo Ribeiro, and James Kirby Rogers, are all creating world premiere works on the company. With the exception of Yury, all panelists are current KCB dancers. This discussion was an opportunity for the community to learn more about the choreographic process and to ask questions of these rising talents.

Male New Moves Choreographers from R to L: Yury Yanowsky, Gustavo Ribeiro, Moderator/KCB Artistic Director Devon Carney, Michael Davis, and James Kirby Rogers.

Upcoming Event

Next month, the female choreographers, Gabrielle Lamb, Molly Wagner, and sister team, Andi Abernathy and Stephanie Ruch, will be sharing more about their works for the New Moves program. Dance Speaks: New Moves Female Voices takes place on Wednesday, Feb. 8 at the Hilliard Gallery, 1820 McGee, KC MO, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available for $20 here. Seats are limited.

Upcoming Performances

New Moves performances will be held Feb. 16-19, 2017 at KCB’s home, the Todd Bolender Center for Dance & Creativity (500 W. Pershing Rd., KCMO). Tickets are on sale now for $35 by calling 816.931.8993 or clicking here.

Student Auditions for The Sleeping Beauty

Last Sunday more than 90 Kansas City Ballet School students auditioned for roles in Devon Carney’s The Sleeping Beauty. There are roles for young boys and girls as pages for kings, queens and fairies, and roles for older girls in the garland waltz— a total of 30 to 40 student roles per performance.

Those selected will be notified Tuesday evening via email and will jump in with both feet, as rehearsals begin Wednesday. The Sleeping Beauty will be performed March 31-April 9 at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.

A group of male students audition for the role of king pages.
KCB Artistic Director Devon Carney leads a student audition for the role of queen and fairy pages for “The Sleeping Beauty.”
KCB Artistic Director Devon Carney leads a student audition for the role of queen and fairy pages for “The Sleeping Beauty.”

Photography by Andrea Wilson

New Moves 2017 Rehearsals Begin

Kansas City Ballet’s annual New Moves performances are set for Feb. 16-19 at the Todd Bolender Center for Dance & Creativity. The program consists of brand new works. Choreographers from the national and local scene, as well as many from within the company will present their world premieres. Tickets are $35 and are on sale now. Watch the blog for more updates on this exciting line up.

KCB Dancer Kelsey Hellebuyck rehearses a new work choreographed by James Kirby Rogers for New Moves 2017. Photography: Elizabeth Stehling.

KCB Dancer Kelsey Hellebuyck rehearses a new work choreographed by James Kirby Rogers for New Moves 2017. Photography: Elizabeth Stehling.

School Notes: 2017 Summer Intensive Auditions Begin

Auditions are under way for Kansas City Ballet School’s 2017 Summer Intensive program. This Saturday, Jan. 14, the first of two Kansas City auditions will be held at the Todd Bolender Center for Dance & Creativity located at 500 W Pershing Rd. Click here for more information about this, and all other auditions.

Guest faculty includes: Karin Averty, Laszlo Berdo, Tina LeBlanc, Iliana Lopez, and Connor Walsh. Read their incredible bios: here.

Watch the video below to learn more about the Summer Intensive program.

Artistic Profile: Parrish Maynard

MaynardParrisWeb-sm

This past fall, 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.

 

Profile: April Berry

berryaprilweb

Last summer, Kansas City Ballet welcomed a new Community Engagement and Education Manager, April Berry. Ms. Berry comes from an impressive background in dance, as well as dance education.

We sat down with her recently to learn more about her and what makes her tick.

How have you enjoyed KC so far?  I am really enjoying living and working in Kansas City! The people, the food, and the vibrant arts scene are amazing.

What has surprised you the most? I am most surprised by how much downtown Kansas City has evolved over the last several years.

Tell me a little about your career and how you transitioned into community education. Most people are surprised to know that I began my professional dance career as a ballerina. Because I started there and ended my performing career in a modern dance company, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, I have had incredibly diverse experiences as a dancer, dancing very diverse repertoire from classical ballet and modern dance to cutting edge contemporary work. I naturally gravitated towards dance education after retiring from the stage because I had such wonderful dance teachers and mentors who not only “trained” me to dance, but also “educated” me on the history of dance, various dance forms and styles, and made me aware of different choreographers and companies around the world.

What is the role of Community Education for a ballet company? I believe Community Education should illuminate, inspire, and engage a broader public in the art form dance, and specifically to provide opportunities for the general public to learn more about the world of ballet.

What do you enjoy most about doing what you do?  I enjoy most about my work the opportunity to meet people of different ages that are from different walks of life,  and to see everyone from students to senior adults light up when they discover something about dance that they were not previously aware of.

What do you find challenging? Most challenging is finding like-minded individuals who are willing and committed to working in different community settings for consistent periods of time, in order to bring dance to the people.

Who inspired you to dance, to teach? Keith Lee, one of my early ballet teachers, who was a former dancer with American Ballet Theatre, and former Balanchine ballerina Tanaquil LeClerc, another influential ballet teacher I had, both inspired me to dance.

Alvin Ailey and Dr. Katherine Dunham, whom I worked extensively with during my dance career,  inspired me to give back by teaching.

What is the most important thing you want to share with the community? Well I would like children to know that they can generally achieve anything they desire with hard work, dedication, and a willingness to be flexible and open to learning new things and meeting new people.

A broader community message would be to encourage people to make sure and seek out arts organizations and programs that are offered in your community. Attend a dance performance, educational lecture, class, or bring a dance program to your school, library, or workplace for others to experience. Expose school children to educational performances at the theater, informative lecture demonstrations that come into schools, and other programs that are offered at community venues that encourage on-going learning through the arts.

What is your favorite inspirational quote or personal mantra? One of my favorite quotes came from Alvin Ailey: Dance came from the people and should always be brought back to the people.

How do you set goals and measure success for yourself and for your programs? Wow, well I usually look at what is missing and/or needed to strengthen programming and then set my sights on doing something about that. I measure the success of a program by measuring the impact the program has had on those who have been exposed to it, and on how many people express interest in engaging in the program.

What do you hope people take away from your programs? I hope that people take away new information from my programs, and are truly inspired and excited to engage in dance and with the ballet in different ways.

 

Photography: Brett Pruitt & East Market Studios

Guild Event Recap: 2016 Nutcracker Luncheon

Ballet Guild Nutcracker Luncheon Menu. Photographer: Larry F. Levenson

On Dec. 13, 2016 the Kansas City Ballet Guild held their festive annual Nutcracker Luncheon at the Carriage Club to celebrate the holiday season. As is the tradition, Nutcrackers served as festive centerpieces and, along with a variety of ornaments, were available for sale to attendees. This year’s luncheon was coordinated by Susannah Sotos. Ballet Guild membership is open to anyone with a love of dance and a desire to promote and support the Kansas City Ballet.

Sunday Siragusa, Wendy Melland, Felicia Bondi, and Pauline Henne. Photographer: Larry F. Levenson
Sunday Siragusa, Wendy Melland, Felicia Bondi, and Pauline Henne. Photographer: Larry F. Levenson
Judy King. Photographer: Larry F. Levenson
Judy King. Photographer: Larry F. Levenson
Gail Van Way, Vicki Baxter, and Michelle Fasel. Photographer: Larry F. Levenson
Gail Van Way, Vicki Baxter, and Michelle Fasel. Photographer: Larry F. Levenson
John Walker, Angela Walker, and Mark Sappington. Photographer: Larry F. Levenson
John Walker, Angela Walker, and Ballet Guild President Mark Sappington. Photographer: Larry F. Levenson
Jennifer Wampler and Siobhan McLaughlin Lesley. Photographer: Larry F. Levenson
Jennifer Wampler and Siobhan McLaughlin Lesley. Photographer: Larry F. Levenson
Julia Steinberg, Craig Sole, Sunday Siragusa, Judy King, and Joyce Middendorf. Photographer: Larry F. Levenson
Julia Steinberg, Craig Sole, Sunday Siragusa, Judy King, and Joyce Middendorf. Photographer: Larry F. Levenson
Tess Merriman, Margaux Merriman, Lauren Merriman, and Mattie Merriman. Photographer: Larry F. Levenson
Tess Merriman, Margaux Merriman, Lauren Merriman, and Mattie Merriman. Photographer: Larry F. Levenson

Donor Spotlight: Annedore’s Fine Chocolates

Chocolate Nutcracker from Annedores Fine Chocolates

Recently voted “Kansas City’s Best Chocolate Shop” by Pitch magazine; Annedore’s Fine Chocolates has been a treat to Kansas Citians for 25 years!

It was nine years ago, when Sheri Weedman bought Annedore’s Fine Chocolates. Then, in 2014, she moved her flagship chocolate shop to the corner of 50th and State Line Road in Westwood Hills. The chocolates are made on-site using the finest ingredients. Annedore’s is known for its decadent European style truffles, chocolate “Plaza Lights” light bulbs, unique chocolate gifts for weddings and special events, and customized corporate gifts.

Annedore’s has proven to be a wonderful partner to Kansas City Ballet. Sheri has worked with the Ballet to create custom chocolates to highlight certain events like the annual Sugar Plum Fairy Children’s Ball and more. Several years ago she ordered a custom mold with the Kansas City Ballet logo to create delicious gifts for subscribers who renew their season tickets. And, especially in December, who could forget the delightful chocolate nutcrackers that provide precious thanks to donors? Sheri also donates many of these specially-designed chocolates. This year she added complimentary chocolate ballet slippers as a gift for visitor’s to the ballet’s booth at the Plaza Art Fair.

“I love watching our guests eyes light up when they see how Annedore’s chocolates capture the essence of our events,” says Kansas City Ballet Events Manager Rene Horne. “This year’s theme for the Sugar Plum Fairy Children’s Ball was snow, so a delicate white chocolate snowflake adorned each place setting. And in the fall we had gorgeous chocolate leaves for our season kick-off party for A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Sheri just gets it! She’s amazingly creative and so incredibly generous.”

One thing is certain, Kansas City Ballet values Sheri and her significant generosity through the years.