In honor of Kansas City Ballet’s Nutcracker debut at the John F. Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., next week, KC Ballet has Company member Lamin Pereira dos Santos and KCB School Student Maggie Crist on board to takeover the @kc.ballet and @kc.balletschool Instagram accounts respectively. Be sure to follow them on their incredible journey that begins today! Send them some hometown love as they represent KCB in our nation’s capital. They’ll begin KC performances on Dec. 7th at the Kauffman Center.
Top: KCB Dancer Lamin Pereira dos Santos. Bottom: KCB Dancer Michael Davis and KCB School Student Maggie Crist. All photography by Brett Pruitt & East Market Studios.
Company Dancer Kelsey Hellebuyck reveals a little about her love of the arts and her clothing obsession as she begins her second season with Kansas City Ballet.
Q: What do you enjoy most about being a dancer?
A: I TREASURE being able to do what I am passionate about for a living! An added bonus being, I can share this beautiful and still VERY ALIVE artform with people who haven’t yet been exposed. Not only through performances, But even just about town! I often meet people who say they’ve NEVER met a Ballerina, nor have they ever been to the ballet! After sharing some of my experiences and all that goes into this profession, how it is SO MUCH MORE then just standing on you tippy-toes, They’re EXCITED to come and see a show, to have a personal connection with someone on the stage, see our athleticism and feel moved by the music and the movement.
Q: Do you have hobbies or special Interests?
A: Quite a few! But to name a couple off the top: I’m a bit of a “FASHIONPHILE”, a “Walking Wardrobe” if you will. I get a high curating new things to add to my collection. I also adore antiquing! finding things with history, imagining what they’ve seen, the stories they could tell. Sometimes there is nothing better then a Sunday spent painting or sketching, I find it very relaxing and a nice way to clear your head and prepare for the week ahead.
Q: What do you enjoy most about Kc?
A: Besides our company, our amazing studios and the absolutely STUNNING Kauffman Center, where we are so blessed to perform, I LOVE just how much KC appreciates The ARTS in ALL FORMS! The Ballet, Opera and Symphony, the performance venues, the museums and art galleries they are some of the BEST in the world! Also Kansas City has some incredible restaurants and fantastic shopping! I was amazed moving here at ALL this city had to offer! There are even great wineries just beyond the city proper in Kansas! A few of us dancers have gone on some tastings over there and let me just say, This California girl was quite impressed!
Q: what is something most people wouldn’t know about you?
A: I live in a 2-bedroom apartment, the second bedroom being solely a closet. I’ts just me, my little dog Coco and a whole lot of clothes and shoes……A WHOLE LOT! Take a peek in my closet and my everyday ballerina life on Instagram: @IvanaDance or Twitter: @KelseyIvana! [Incidentally, Kelsey will be doing an Instagram takeover of the Ballet’s account @kc.ballet Oct. 10-15, 2017.]
It’s an incredible story that Shakespeare wrote so many years ago, a timeless tale about the powers of love and fate. Two young lovers from rival families are destined for a tragic end which will finally conclude their parents strife… uniting their houses through grief.
Performing these roles is an experience dancers never forget—I certainly haven’t, especially dancing the title roles—the mutual journey of these two: Romeo and Juliet. There is so much opportunity to create three-dimensional characters. The beginning of the ballet highlights the vibrancy of youth, the naiveté. But then the growth of these two individuals in less than a week is just astounding. The incredible scope of innocence to tragedy and the emotional weight and aging they experience… it’s critical to be able to communicate all of this as dancers and artists.
You’ll also be spellbound by the music as well. Written in 1935 by Prokofiev, it’s a brilliant score that’s not even 100 years old yet. At 82, it’s still spry. Especially of note is the clarity of Romeo, Juliet and the Capulets’ themes.
And Juliet’s theme gets me every time. I keep discovering new things about Prokofiev’s score. That’s what I love about this art form… you’re always learning. You’re experiencing this gorgeous piece of music that keeps returning to the themes that grow more and more tragic. For example, when we first meet Juliet we hear a simple lighthearted flute and by the time she wakes in the crypt her theme has grown complex and heartbreaking.
Sets and Costumes
This ballet is a visual stunner as well. I just love these sets from Boston Ballet. They are the same sets and costumes that were produced in 1984 when I danced with them as Romeo. I know them like the back of my hand. In fact, lots of companies use these sets and costumes, including Kansas City Ballet when we last performed another version in 2012.
Now everything has come full circle as I present my world premiere choreographic interpretation on these same gorgeous sets. I’ve thought about my version for a long time and now was the right moment to make it—the beginning of my 5th season leading Kansas City Ballet into its 60th Anniversary. It’s an honor to be part of this significant moment in the company’s history. And I hope you’ll join us for more great dance this season including a new Anniversary Dance Festival in April with two different programs on back-to-back weekends, and a world premiere of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz in May, plus crowd pleasers The Nutcracker in December and New Moves in February.
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.