NEW MOVES 2014

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!

 

Nutcracker Ball – Meet the Co-Chairs

Susan Bubb and Megan Bubb Cribb: Nutcracker Ball Co-Chairmen 2013

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Susan Bubb (left) & Megan Bubb Cribb (right)

Susan Bubb and Megan Bubb Cribb are honored to be representing the Kansas City Ballet Guild as Chairmen of the 46th annual Nutcracker Ball. The rich tradition of the Ballet Ball and the timeless beauty of The Nutcracker will magically transform the Bartle Hall Grand Ballroom on December 6th for this very special and momentous occasion. Longtime Ballet fans, Susan and Megan are happy to be able to set the framework for this new annual event. With a new date, theme, and location, this is sure to be an evening of enchantment to put you into the holiday spirit.  Net proceeds from the fundraiser support both the Kansas City Ballet and Kansas City Ballet School. Susan and Megan are proud to be  part of such an exciting time for the performing arts in Kansas City, with the announcement of the Ballet’s new artistic director, Devon Carney, we know you will agree that 2013 is truly a milestone of new direction. Susan and her husband Stephen have enjoyed opening their home for many local organizations, the Junior League of Johnson and WyandotteCounties, the Lyric Opera, The Barstow School, PEO, Fireside, the Ballet Guild and the CarlsonCenter at JohnsonCountyCommunity college. Megan careers as team lead of The Bubb Cribb Team of Reece and Nichols, she shares this team with her brother Eric Bubb and husband Christopher J. Cribb. She has a passion for all things real estate and Kansas City.

This Mother Daughter duo are looking forward to an enchanting evening with family and friends.

To purchase tickets to the 2013 Nutcracker Ball held on December 6th at Bartle Hall, you can visit our website or call 913.232.7609.

Getting to Know KCB II: Lark Commanday

This year marks the inaugural season for Kansas City Ballet’s second company, KCB II. Lark Commanday is one of five dancers in this new ensemble. At just 17 years old and from Peoria, Illinois, he’s the only male dancer in this group. Read below to learn more about Lark, his hobbies and what he enjoys most about being part of KCB II.

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Q: How did you become involved in dance?
A: I come from a very artistic family and was encouraged to take a few ballet classes to try it out. My appreciation for dance grew as I aged, (still it grows as I age) and here I am.

Q: What attracted you to Kansas City Ballet?
A: I gained interest in KCB when I heard Devon Carney would be taking up the position of Artistic Director, because I had long been aware of his successful career.

Q: How has KCB II affected your dance career so far?
A: KCB II has given me an outstanding opportunity to cultivate my talents in a program which allows me to learn not only from teachers and choreographers, but from my peers in KCB II and mentors in the company.

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2013-2014 KCB II Dancers

Q: What is your favorite thing about Kansas City and Kansas City Ballet?
A: My favorite thing about Kansas City is KCB. My favorite thing about KCB is that the men in the company are always ready and glad to help a rookie out.

Q: What is one thing most people don’t know about you?
A: I know how to build a cedar-shake roof. Last year my father and I redid a section of our home’s roof which was leaking.

Q: What do you enjoy doing when you’re not dancing?
Reading, cooking, playing chess with my father, or splitting firewood.

Q: What are you most looking forward to this season?
Working and growing as a dancer alongside a world-class company that has greeted me warmly. I am also looking forward to being a part of KCB’s main-stage performances, since I have never been a part of such professional productions before.

KCB Student Apprentice: Maggie Andriani

This week we had a chance to catch up with our new student apprentice, Maggie Andriani! Between classes, Maggie gave us a glimpse of what it has been like to dance with the company so far and what she is most looking forward to this season.

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Maggie has been a student at the Kansas City Ballet School for ten years, and is thrilled to have the opportunity to work with the company this year. When she first found out that she had been chosen as student apprentice, she said, “I was shaking I was so excited!”

Since then she has been taking classes with the company in addition to school, part-time work, regular dance classes and performing with the Kansas City Youth Ballet. Beginning this season Maggie will also be rehearsing and performing with the KCB! She loves the Nutcracker season and is looking forward to learning Dracula, but says she is most excited about the production of Cinderella.

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Until rehearsals start, Maggie is enjoying the opportunity to take class with the company throughout the week. On Saturday mornings, when most teenagers might sleep in, she is at the studio striving to learn everything she can from the artistic staff and company dancers. She looks up to all the company members and is inspired by the qualities that they each possess. She hopes “that by watching them that somehow their special talents will transfer over to (her)!”

We are excited to watch Maggie grow in both technique and artistry as she dances alongside the company this year, and we are eager to see where her passion for dance takes her in the years to come!

In Pictures: 2013 Fall Show

From everyone at Kansas City Ballet, we’d like to thank those who were able to make it to our fall production featuring Fancy Free, along with four other spectacular pieces. Also, a big congratulations to the dancers and production staff for putting on an amazing show!

As audience members, you don’t get to see what goes on behind the scenes. From dancers hurrying to get into place, costume changes, managers calling lighting cues among many other things, backstage can be a quite chaotic but also an exciting place. Here are a few glimpses behind the curtain from our fall show….

Now, for the audience view:
(Photos courtesy of Steve Wilson)

In Pictures: October First Friday

This past Friday, the Michael and Ginger Frost Studio Theater here at Kansas City Ballet’s Bolender Center was filled with people looking to get a glimpse into the rehearsal process of our company dancers. They also were given a behind the scenes look at KCB’s fall show featuring Jerome Robbins’ Fancy Free, which opens this Friday Oct. 11 and runs through Sunday, Oct. 20!

Check out some photos below from the First Friday event. To view these dancers in full costume and onstage at the Kauffman Center performing 5 spectacular ballets, you can order tickets online at kcballet.org or call 816.931.2232.

Dancer Rachel Coats smiles as Artistic Director Devon Carney talks to audience members about the rehearsal process.

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Dancers Sarah Walborn and Michael Davis rehearse segments from Jodie Gates’ Keep Me Wishing in the Dark:

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First Fridays are a great way for audience members to get an up close and personal look at rehearsal. In the photo below, Dancer Sarah Chun rehearses for the upcoming fall show.

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The Process of Staging

Have you ever wondered how the dancers learn all of the ballets you see them perform onstage? While the Artistic Director, Ballet Master & Mistress definitely help in teaching different ballets, it’s impossible for them to know the choreography of EVERY ballet out there.

For most productions, a stager is brought in to teach the choreography to the dancers. They are experts on the piece – they have performed that particular ballet, and also worked directly with the choreographer.

Judith Fugate, a former principal dancer with New York City Ballet, has been in Kansas City staging two different pieces for Kansas City Ballet; Fancy Free by Jerome Robbins, and Allegro Brilliante by George Balanchine. Ms. Fugate danced for both Mr. Balanchine and Mr. Robbins during her time with NYC Ballet.

Ms. Fugate is a stager for the Balanchine and Robbins trusts. She travels around the country ‘setting’ their ballets on different companies, ensuring the steps, style, and placement are all in accordance with how Mr. Balanchine and Mr. Robbins intended them to be.

Check out the video below to hear Ms. Fugate talk about her time here staging these pieces for KCB, and why audiences will love Fancy Free and Allegro Brilliante. To order tickets to see these two pieces on Kansas City Ballet’s Fall Program, Oct. 11-20, visit kcballet.org.

A Weekend of Events

This past weekend, we hosted a First Friday open rehearsal at the Bolender Center, which marked the the first one of the 2013-2014 season. The company dancers rehearsed segments of their upcoming fall show, featuring Fancy Free.

To view some great photos from this event, visit KCUR’s website and be sure to catch our next FREE First Friday, Oct. 4, 6-7:30 p.m. at the Bolender Center. Online RSVP is required, and you can register on our website.

KCB II performed this past Saturday at ‘Dance in the Park,’ an annual event presented by City in Motion Dance Theater. Our second company dancers opened the event by performing two different works: Odalisque Pas de Trois from Le Corsaire, and the Peasant Pas de Deux from Giselle.

To view photos from this event, you can visit KCUR’s website. To learn more about KCB II and the dancers, click here.

Credit Julie Denesha / KCUR
Rochelle Chang, Morgan Sicklick, & Katya Duncan of KCB II
Photo Credit Julie Denesha / KCUR

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Give It A Try: Absolute Beginner Ballet Workshop

Natalie Fama, Kansas City Ballet’s receptionist, will be trying out our Absolute Beginner Ballet workshop in September (Fridays 5:30-7 pm). Natalie has no experience taking any form of dance, but is eager to learn. Read below to hear more from Natalie on why she’s taking on this challenge.

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Natalie Fama, KCB Receptionist

Q: What made you decide to try the Absolute Beginner Ballet course?
A: I have worked at the Kansas City Ballet for two years now, but crazily enough have never taken a ballet class. My dance background is little to non-existent, so jumping right into a Studio Division class seemed a little intimidating. I think the Absolute Beginner Ballet Workshop will be a great introduction to the basics of ballet.

Q: What background knowledge do you currently have regarding ballet?
A: Not a lot! I am familiar with numerous ballet terms from hearing them around work, but just knowing how to say ‘pas de bourrée’ or ‘tour jeté’ doesn’t count for much. Having observed our professional company and students in rehearsals and performances, I know that ballet requires discipline and dedication, but is very rewarding. 

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Q: What are you most looking forward to in the class?
A: I am excited to dive in and try something totally new. It will be both a mental and physical exercise, but I am up for the challenge. 

Q: What are you hoping to accomplish by taking this course?
A: Ultimately I want to learn more about this art form and have a fun time doing so. I hope (and am confident!) that upon completion of this workshop, I will also feel comfortable taking any of the Beginning Ballet Studio Classes that KCB offers. 

If you are interested in joining Natalie on this adventure, contact KCB School at 816.931.2299 to sign up for the Absolute Beginner Course today! It’s a four week course on Fridays in September (5:30-7 pm; $70 for all four classes), it will give you the confidence to be able to jump in on our beginner ballet weekly Studio class.

In the News: “Movers, Shakers, Stalwarts: Devon Carney”

KC Metropolis reporter Laura Vernaci sat down with new Artistic Director Devon Carney for a Q&A session. Read the article below to learn more about Mr. Carney, his goals for Kansas City Ballet and his interest in technology.

Artistic Director Devon Carney. Photographer Ken Coit.
Artistic Director Devon Carney. Photographer Ken Coit.

By Laura Vernaci, Wed. Aug. 14: The Kansas City Ballet’s Artistic Director Devon Carney, comes to Kansas City from the 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, Carney 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.

Laura Vernaci: Why don’t we start with how you’ve made your journey to Kansas City.

Devon Carney: Journey is an understatement, seriously. [Laughs] It’s ongoing. The journey is not complete by any means. There was the interview process… Actually let me go back a little further when it comes to Kansas City sort of showing up on my horizon. There was the announcement that Bill [Whitener] was going to be resigning in a year. And I thought that was cool that Kansas City Ballet was going to make that extensive of a transitional period. I thought that was really great because it gave the company and the community time to kind of ingest this. I mean he’s been here for 17 years and that’s a long commitment level for an artist to stay put in one place for that many years. I respect him highly for dedicating that much of his artistic life to Kansas City, as did his predecessor. So to give it a year – that was the first thing I saw about Kansas City. I had already been following them on their Facebook page and I think they were one of the first cities, or first ballet companies, to have an app.

LV: I didn’t even know they had an app. I’ll have to check it out.

DC: There have been many more but Kansas City was one of the first ones. I was always getting apps trying to see the dance companies.

LV: So you’re tech savvy?

DC: Yeah, I love it. Ever since my high school years of – you probably won’t even know what this is. It’s when computers had tape, punch tape; the paper tape roles with all of the holes on it. That was the program and I thought it was the coolest, most high tech thing in the world. You put this piece of tape in here and click, click, click on an IBM. And of course, where we’ve gone from there is amazing.

To read more of this article, visit the KC Metropolis website.