Second Company Manager Profile: Christopher Ruud

In late July, a new addition joined Kansas City Ballet. Christopher Ruud became the Second Company Manager and Ballet Master.

You could say Christopher was born to be a dancer…it’s in his blood.

Dance Roots

His parents were both ballet dancers that met and got their start in Utah at the Utah Civic Ballet. They were later invited to dance with William Christensen’s Ballet West. His father Tomm Ruud and his mother Mary Bird (later Wood) became principal and soloist dancers there. In 1975, Tomm was invited to San Francisco Ballet by Michael Smuin. And in 1986 he became a principal dancer with SFB while Mary taught ballet classes. Tomm also became a choreographer while at SFB with his best known ballet being Mobile.

Christopher grew up watching his father perform in front of audiences from the wings of the stage. He began ballet at age 8 but quit during high school to play other sports.

When his father died in 1994, Christopher decided by attending the University of Utah and studying theatre like his father he could get to know him better. Following in his father’s footsteps helped him through his grief and to solidify his paternal connection. However, like his dad, he switched his major to dance and received a scholarship. Though he never finished his degree, it was the jumping off point he needed.

The Next Step

In April of 1998, he was invited to take ballet classes by Jonas Kåge, then the artistic director of Ballet West. For two weeks he attended class and Kåge only watched him once. He told Christopher he had no open contracts. But the next day on Christopher’s birthday, Kåge offered him a job.

Christopher went on to dance with Ballet West for 21 years—15 of those as a principal dancer. He even had the opportunity to dance his father’s role of ‘Ferdinand’ from The Tempest in his same costume. It was a role he’d watched his dad perform from backstage as a child.

“Legacy, emotion, life experience. Dance is reaching out and communicating these things. That’s what I learned from my dad and what I witnessed growing up. I have a soulful need to connect and dance,” Christopher says.

“My mother had an enormous role in mentoring me as well,” he remembers. “She is a ballet historian, lecturer and definitely a resource for me.”

Teaching the Next Generation

After a fulfilling dance career, Christopher decided to take his love for dance to a different level and teach. “For me it’s about watching the light bulb go on as I teach them,” he says. Inspiration, he explains, can come in so many ways: from figuring out new ballet steps and learning to partner to the emotional side of ballet that can tap into the soul and cultivate joy and meaning beyond the movements.

For Christopher, partnering is the most fulfilling part of dance. “It’s two people connecting, trusting and relying on each other completely to accomplish something so beautiful. That’s such a rich experience,” he explains. “It goes beyond learning steps and repeating them. You have to be in tune with others. That human connection with a partner is my favorite part of what we do. I hope to inspire that with any dancer I work with. An unbroken connection with your partner is a shock wave to the audience and onstage. It’s palpable.”

He strives to be a mature and professional resource to young dancers. His goal is to guide them in a healthy way to be better dancers, professionals and people. If he’s being honest, which he always is, he hopes to help cultivate the best human souls who are dancers.

“I like to talk a lot about my own experience as a dancer to try and find a way to convey to them what we do. The work and fatigue… right up to going onstage… it all comes together to prove every moment of our effort and struggle is more than worth it—especially when you know you have the audience hooked. It’s different for every dancer and so I must teach it differently,” Christopher says.

Choreography

As early as his first year as a Ballet West dancer he knew he wanted to be a choreographer. It would be 10 years into his career before Ballet West Artistic Director Adam Sklute would start an annual new works program called “Innovations”. That very first year Christopher submitted an idea. Three works were chosen to develop and perform on the program. Christopher’s pas de deux (dance for two) was one. Reviewers called his work Neo Neo Classical style. It was very athletic and demanded a high level of partnering.

“I always try to have a deeply emotional message,” Christopher admits. “I hope to elicit an emotional response from the audience. So I bring a wide array of experiences to the table. There is no end of gratitude for those I have worked with. These gifts I’ve been given, I must pass on.”

Why Kansas City Ballet

Ballet West had toured to KC to perform at the Music Hall in 2002-2003, but Christopher’s first real experience with Kansas City Ballet was in 2006, when he staged his father’s ballet Mobile on the company. There are these tiny threads and connections that have been stitched over the years.

Then a while back, he met KCB Artistic Director Devon Carney by chance and afterwards started to notice stories online about KCB doing amazing things. At some point, Christopher reached out to Devon directly about whether there were any openings as a Ballet Master or Second Company Manager. At that time those positions were filled. But when a spot opened up, Devon reached out to Christopher to apply. The rest is now history.

Christopher has been impressed with the warm welcome he has received.

He and his wife, Loren, are about to buy a home in Mission, Kan., and have a list of places to visit around the metro, including a number of barbecue restaurants. They, along with their two dogs, are ready to make KC home.

Second Company

Wasting no time, Christopher has lead Kansas City Ballet’s Second Company to perform three performances at Second Company @Crossroads Hotel on Saturday, Sept. 7th at the Crossroads Hotel. See more from this event here.

This group will perform alongside the professional company during the Kansas City Ballet season. In addition, they will be part of Lecture Demonstrations and other public events that are TBA. Learn more about the Second Company.

 

Top Photo by Brett Pruitt & East Market Studios.

BARRE KC and Second Company @Crossroads Hotel

BARRE KC and Second Company @Crossroads Hotel
Kansas City Ballet’s Second Company @Crossroads Hotel Performance | Photo by Elizabeth Stehling

Kansas City Ballet’s Second Company @Crossroads Hotel performances were held on Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019 in the lobby of the Crossroads Hotel. There were three showings: 4:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. The Second Company, led by Christopher Ruud, features outstanding, classically trained dancers on the cusp of their professional careers. This intimate and informal performance was the perfect opportunity to introduce these emerging dancers. The group performed unique and cutting edge choreography including Mobile, a ballet choreographed by Tomm Ruud, Christopher’s late father, along with other works.

BARRE KC Streetcar Crawl

BARRE KC kicked off the Kansas City Ballet season with their KC Streetcar BARRE Crawl through Downtown. Each stop was themed with one of this year’s ballet performances!

The journey began by watching an open rehearsal of Carmina Burana at the Todd Bolender Center at 3 p.m. Then, parties converged at the Crossroads Hotel where a Tulips and Lobster inspired drink and a special performance by Kansas City Ballet’s Second Company did not disappoint.

From there, the group hopped on the streetcar to enjoy more drinks and bites with stops along the line including The Chesterfield for a Swan Lake-inspired spritzer, followed by Harry’s Country Club in the River Market for a Celtic cocktail, where they may or may not have departed with an Irish goodbye.

BARRE KC and Second Company @Crossroads Hotel
Kansas City Ballet’s Second Company @Crossroads Hotel Performance | Photo by Elizabeth Stehling
BARRE KC and Second Company @Crossroads Hotel
Kansas City Ballet’s Second Company @Crossroads Hotel Performance | Photo by Elizabeth Stehling
BARRE KC and Second Company @Crossroads Hotel
Kansas City Ballet’s Second Company @Crossroads Hotel Performance | Photo by Elizabeth Stehling
BARRE KC and Second Company @Crossroads Hotel
BARRE KC Members at Crossroads Hotel | Photo by Karen Badgett

Rooftop Photos at Crossroads Hotel

BARRE KC and Second Company @Crossroads Hotel
BARRE KC Board of Directors | Photo by Karen Badgett
BARRE KC and Second Company @Crossroads Hotel
BARRE KC Members at Crossroads Hotel’s Rooftop Bar | Photo by Karen Badgett
BARRE KC and Second Company @Crossroads Hotel
BARRE KC Members at Crossroads Hotel’s Rooftop Bar | Photo by Karen Badgett
BARRE KC and Second Company @Crossroads Hotel
BARRE KC Members at Crossroads Hotel’s Rooftop Bar | Photo by Karen Badgett
BARRE KC and Second Company @Crossroads Hotel
BARRE KC Members at Crossroads Hotel’s Rooftop Bar | Photo by Karen Badgett
BARRE KC and Second Company @Crossroads Hotel
BARRE KC Members at Crossroads Hotel’s Rooftop Bar | Photo by Karen Badgett

KC Dance Day 2019

Kansas City Ballet’s Second Company performed a short work during the open rehearsal at KC Dance Day. Photo by Elizabeth Stehling.

On Saturday, August 24, Kansas City Ballet hosted the 9th annual KC Dance Day at the Todd Bolender Center for Dance & Creativity. Nearly 1,600 people attended this event which included free dance and fitness classes for kids and adults as well as performances by local dance groups and world dance groups representing different dance cultures. Kansas City Ballet’s Second Company performed and the day concluded with an open rehearsal by Kansas City Ballet’s Company Dancers showcasing snippets from their upcoming season. Special thanks to our sponsors BMO Harris Bank, LEAGUE at AT&T,  Aristocrat and Jason’s Deli.

KC Dance Day 2019
KC Dance Day attendees enjoyed learning the art of Ballet in a morning class at the Bolender Center. Photo by Savanna Daniels.
KC Dance Day 2019
Participants learned new moves in a Contemporary class at KC Dance Day. Photo by Savanna Daniels.
KC Dance Day 2019
Parents and their little ones enjoyed a Dance with Me class in the Michael and Ginger Frost Studio Theater. Photo by Savanna Daniels.
KC Dance Day 2019
Onlookers enjoyed watching free performances from both local and world dance groups at KC Dance Day. Photo by Elizabeth Stehling.
KC Dance Day 2019
Kansas City Youth Ballet gets the audience going during the Youth Dance Performances at KC Dance Day. Photo by Savanna Daniels.
KC Dance Day 2019
Kansas City Aerial Arts stuns the crowd while suspended in the air during their performance. Photo by Elizabeth Stehling.
KC Dance Day 2019
El Grupo Atotoniko (Mexico) delights the audience at the local World Performances during KC Dance Day. Photo by Elizabeth Stehling.

Trainee Profile: Colleen McKenzie

Trainee Profile: Colleen McKenzie
Colleen McKenzie

“My mom originally put me in ballet because she thought I’d look cute in the leotard,” 17-year-old Colleen McKenzie says. With her dad in the military, Colleen McKenzie has called many places home. She started dancing at age 3 while the family was stationed in Germany. Over the years she’s danced at seven different dance schools in many different states.

“The more I did it [danced], the more I liked it,” she admits. She tried lots of other activities from soccer to tennis but always made the decision to stop for ballet.

The family returned to the east coast states for a while before they moving to Hawaii for a year. While there, Colleen learned about Kansas City Ballet School through Pointe Magazine and auditioned for the Summer Intensive in 2017 via a video audition. She was accepted to the program but decided not attend.

Trainee Profile: Colleen McKenzie
Colleen McKenzie | Photo by Brett Pruitt & East Market Studios

KCBS DAYTIME PROGRAM

She also learned about Kansas City Ballet School’s Daytime Program, where students who are serious about ballet can spend their daytime hours focused on dancing while doing their academic schooling online in the evenings. That sounded like a great opportunity, so she reached out about enrollment. They still had her audition video and accepted her.

“Coming here I just knew I was going to like it,” Colleen remembers. “It’s a small, big city. And the way KC supports the arts is really cool. It feels like a safe city and like home.”

In addition to the Daytime Program, Colleen auditioned for the student performing ensemble for KCBS, Kansas City Youth Ballet. Since the spring of 2018 to spring 2019 she was part of KCYB. “I’ve really liked it. Last year I was a demi-soloist and part of a pas de deux (dance for two). This past fall, I was in corps roles. I really liked working as one group.” She danced a special soloist role in Pharaoh’s Daughter.

YOUTH AMERICA GRAND PRIX

Colleen also trained for Youth America Grand Prix (YAGP). YAGP held their regional semi-final competition in KC for the second time this past spring.

This year Lamin Pereira dos Santos, a member of Kansas City Ballet’s professional company coached her. “He could pass his experience to me,” she says. Lamin competed in YAGP growing up. “I like the process of working on something and then performing it,” Colleen admits. “The process is the reason for me. That and taking masterclasses.”

Trainee Profile: Colleen McKenzie
Colleen McKenzie | Photo by Brett Pruitt & East Market Studios

FROM STUDENT TO TRAINEE

Her hard work paid off.

Kansas City Ballet’s Artistic Director Devon Carney selected Colleen to join the Trainee Program, which is part of Kansas City Ballet’s Second Company. Her new role begins in August.

In the meantime, she’s taking part in KCBS’s Summer Intensive program.

“I’m really excited for next year. It’s a great opportunity and so fun,” Colleen confesses.

And as a Trainee, she’ll have opportunities to perform in the community and even in company shows at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.

In 2018, Colleen was given the chance to dance more advanced roles in The Nutcracker including dancing in the snow scene and also as a “Flower” in addition to an “Angel” role — a role typically given to the older students.

“It was Amazing! It was really cool getting to dance with so many talented dancers,” she exclaims. “There were seven casts. So dancing with someone new every night was normal

THE FUTURE

“I love classical ballet. I just really love it here,” says Colleen.

She now calls KC home while her family resides in Virginia.

Remembering Deena Budd

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“Gala Performance”, choreographed by Anthony Tudor and performed in 1993. Kansas City Ballet Dancers: Deena Budd & Robert Skaft

Kansas City Ballet mourns the passing of former company dancer, Deena (Budd) Haws. Deena danced with Kansas City Ballet for 13 years (1983-1996). She passed away on June 14, 2019 in North Carolina.

Deena’s beautiful smile and infectious laugh endeared her to so many. Her dedication to ballet was apparent. Former Kansas City Ballet Artistic Director Todd Bolender often cast Deena in jumping or comedic roles. She had a lot of energy and a great sense of humor. She was so strong and her fast footwork, soaring jumps, and incredibly fast turns, kept audiences fully engaged.

Deena also was known for her practical jokes both inside and outside of the studio.

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George Balanchine’s “A La Francaix” from 1991. Kansas City Ballet Dancers: Deena Budd & Sean Duus. Photo by Don Middleton.

HUMOR AND KINDNESS — A WINNING COMBINATION

“She was a prankster,” fellow company dancer Sean Duus recalled. “I remember one bus tour she hid an alarm clock in someone’s bag set to go off at 2:30 a.m. Once it did, it took forever to find it. In retaliation, the next night while she was performing the other dancers all got her suitcase and sewed all the arms and legs of her regular clothes shut. She took it all in stride.”

“Everyone loved Deena. She was so warm and friendly,” Sean went on to say. “On my first day with the company, I walked into the studio to take class. Every time I tried to take a place at the barre someone would tell me it belonged to someone else. It was very territorial. But when I looked at Deena, she smiled and told me to take the place next to her. I will never forget that, her kindness.”

INCREDIBLE SKILL

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Paula Weber’s “Carmina Burana” from 1996. Kansas City Ballet Dancer: Deena Budd.

Former company dancer Kim Cowen remembers, “I grew up watching her dance. She was incredibly strong but looked so effortless. She was super, super light on her feet with amazing jumps. It was like she had springs in her feet, but I never heard her land. She was like a cat that way. She also had really graceful port de bras. Everything just looked effortless. And she was always smiling. Her feet were so strong and she had so much control of every step.”

Chief Operating Officer Kevin Amey, who was the company tour manager in those days, remembers Deena, “She could turn like a top. Deena danced in Alvin Ailey’s The River. She danced the section called “Vortex” and it seemed like she could spin forever.”

BEYOND DANCING

Her best friend for over 30 years and former company dancer Susan (Lewis) Sands said, “Of course we danced together, but we were also roommates for four years until we each got married two weeks apart from one another in the summer of 1990.”

Deena married Fred Haws of Raytown, Mo. After she retired, she taught full time at Kansas City Ballet and she would travel to Colorado in the summers when the Summer Intensive program was held at Crested Butte in the late 90s. In 1998, she and Fred moved to Atlanta where Deena taught at Atlanta Ballet School before eventually moving to North Carolina.

She left a lasting mark on Kansas City audiences, staff and fellow dancers.

If you’d like to leave a memory or comment, please do so here. They will be shared with her family.

OBITUARY

For more about Deena, please read her obituary.

MORE PHOTOS

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Todd Bolender with Deena Budd during a Nutcracker rehearsal in St. Louis (1996). Photo by Kevin Manning, St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
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Balanchine’s “Serenade” from 1993. Kansas City Ballet Dancers: Deena Budd & Edward Augustyn
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Todd Bolender’s “An American in Paris” from 1987. Kansas City Ballet Dancers: Deena Budd & Brian Staihr
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“Celebration” by Zachary Solov in 1992. Kansas City Ballet Dancers: David Scamardo & Deena Budd

Board Profile: Kathy Stepp

Founder of Stepp & Rothwell, Kathy Stepp, leads Kansas City Ballet’s Board as president. Her term covered both the 2017-2018 60th Anniversary Season, as well as, this 2018-2019 Season when Septime Webre’s The Wizard of Oz had its world premiere. We want to thank Kathy for her leadership and hard work. We also want to learn more about how her role as president has made an impact.

HOW DID YOU GET INTRODUCED TO KANSAS CITY BALLET?

A client invited us to join them at a ballet performance. This was back before the Kauffman Center, and it happened to be springtime. I knew nothing about the ballet, except for a dim understanding of The Nutcracker. The performance we attended was far from my “Nutcracker” perception—it was a mixed rep. I remember that during the intermission Jeff Bentley came out on stage to invite the audience members to sign up for next year’s season tickets out in the lobby. I so loved what I saw that day that I marched right up to the desk in the lobby and bought season tickets for the next year!

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR BEST EXPERIENCE WITH KANSAS CITY BALLET?

There have been so many great experiences with KCB—from performances to patron trips to the Kennedy Center to balls—that it is very hard to say. But if I have to choose something, I’d say it’s been the opportunity to meet so many great and dedicated people. The board members are wonderful; the staff is wonderful; the patrons are wonderful; and the dancers are simply amazing!

Kathy Stepp at Celebrate 60 event at Kauffman Center during the 2017-18 Season. | Photography by Larry F. Levenson

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST ACCOMPLISHMENT DURING YOUR TIME AS BOARD PRESIDENT?

I can’t take credit alone for anything, but I am proud that during my tenure we visited with Austin Ballet to learn about ways to energize our audience development efforts, which led to our current collaboration with data miners and marketers, and that we got the Endowment campaign off the ground. We also had a fabulous 60th anniversary party, and we worked to integrate the Guild and the BARRE groups more closely into our structure.

WHAT DO YOU LOVE TO SHARE WITH OTHERS ABOUT KANSAS CITY BALLET?

I love to share my personal experience of learning what athletes the dancers are and how impressive the productions are, in all respects. The Ballet brings happiness to people’s lives! Not only is the dancing beautiful, but it’s such a collaboration of dance and music and lights and costumes…  It’s simply amazing!

WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO INTRODUCE NEW PEOPLE TO THE BALLET? HOW DO YOU DO THIS?

I think that many people have a misunderstanding of ballet, as I did. I so want everyone to experience it once—they will be blown away! My husband and I have four season tickets, so we bring other people with us to performances.

WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED AS PRESIDENT THAT YOU MIGHT NOT HAVE OTHERWISE?

The most important lesson I learned is that the people involved—from the dancers to the administrative staff and everyone in between—are passionate about what they do, to an extent I haven’t seen in any other walk of life. Also, because I focus on finances in my day job, it was eye-opening to see the financial workings of an art company. The performances simply cannot be self-sustaining, because there are a limited number of seats, and it is important to keep the prices at an accessible level. Therefore, an awful lot of people have to support the arts.

HOW HAS YOUR PHILANTHROPY AND VOLUNTEERISM TO THE BALLET BENEFITED YOU PERSONALLY AND PROFESSIONALLY?

My husband and I get a lot more than we give!  We’ve met wonderful people and best friends, as well as dancers from around the world!

Event Recap: End of Season Party at Lathrop Gage

L-R Back Row: Jeffrey J. Bentley, Devon Carney, Kathy Stepp, Jack Rowe, Andrew Elsberry. Front Row: Angela Walker, Tempe Ostergren, Ginger and Michael Frost.

On Wednesday, May 22, 2019, Kansas City Ballet’s Board, Staff, Dancers and Bolender Society Members gathered to celebrate another successful season. In addition to sharing the many highlights from the 61st season, which began with the world premiere performance of Septime Webre’s The Wizard of Oz, dancer Tempe Ostergren was recognized for her retirement nine years with the company. Kansas City Ballet Board President Kathy Stepp congratulated everyone for their hard work and dedication. President-Elect Jack D. Rowe hosted the event at Lathrop Gage.

Event Photos

Vince Clark, Joe and Claire Brand, Val Caniparoli, and Carol Feiock.
L-R: Barbara Storm, Siobhan McGlaghlin Lessley, Jeffrey J. Bentley, Ball Chair Peggy Beal, Linda Peakes
Kathy Stepp, Music Director Ramona Pansegrau, Tom and Loren Whittaker, Danielle Bausinger and Liang Fu.
Amanda DeVenuta, Mark Sappington, Gavin Abercrombie, David Donovan, and James Kirby Rogers.
Tony and Carol Feiock, Jan Foletta, Karen Yungmeyer and Zack Hangauer.
Outgoing KCB Board President Kathy Stepp congratulates the group on a great season.
Executive Director Jeffrey J. Bentley, Glen and Susan Sands, Vince Clark and Dr. John Hunkeler.

Student Profile: Joelle Kimbrough

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Joelle Kimbrough dreams of becoming a professional ballerina someday.

“I can express the way I feel through body movement and that’s really neat. It’s also a stress reliever,” says Joelle, a sophomore at Bishop Miege.

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Joelle (age 3)

The 15 year old has taken dance classes since she was 3. Three summers ago she attended Kansas City Ballet School’s Junior Summer Intensive program and the following year she was accepted into Kansas City Ballet School’s (KCBS) Summer Intensive.

After enjoying both programs, she decided to transfer from another local dance school to KCBS’s Academy for full-time ballet and dance instruction. Now she just finished her first full year of Academy instruction.

Recently, Joelle was selected to be a 2019 Ambassador for Brown Girls Do Ballet® (BGDB) —the first one for Kansas City.

BROWN GIRLS DO BALLET® AMBASSADOR

BGDB, based in Dallas, started as a way to help increase participation of underrepresented minority populations in ballet programs. Through organizing and arranging ballet performances, photo exhibitions, and providing resources and scholarships, BGDB assists young girls in their ballet development and training. Brown Ballerina Jr. Ambassadors (ages 10-12) and Brown Ballerina Youth Ambassadors (ages 13-17) programs bring Brown Ballerinas in Training and mentors of diverse backgrounds. Together they build community and become the local faces of Brown Girls Do Ballet.

The program creates opportunities for young dancers in training to become leaders—eventually mentoring other Brown Ballerinas in Training.

“I had heard about the organization and the ambassador program,” Joelle says. “I always wanted to be one and the opportunity presented itself. So, I took advantage.”

The process required an application and two recommendation letters. Joelle submitted her grade cards along with one letter from KCBS Director Grace Holmes and one from Fine Arts Pastor, Phil Stacey from City Center Church, Lenexa Kan. She received an interview. About three weeks later they told her she was selected. “There are 14 or 15 of us out of 300 applicants. But I’m the only one from KC. I will promote ballet to all races. I will bring diversity to ballet,” Joelle says. “They have other events similar to KC Dance Day. And there are ways to get sponsorships from certain companies or organizations. There are even scholarship opportunities.”

student-profile-joelle-kimbroughBGDB is based in Dallas and the ambassadors are from across the country and Mexico.

“After my year is up, I could reapply,” she says, “but either way I am always affiliated.”

The program involves mentors, too. Ballerinas from other companies and professional dancers want to help the next generation of brown girls.

“I’m excited about the attention this appointment brings to KC and KCBS,” Joelle says.

JOELLE’S FUTURE

“I do want to be a professional ballet dancer with a major ballet company someday. If not that, I see myself doing something in the medical field. Anesthesiology has recently caught my attention,” she says.

Either way, Joelle Kimbrough’s star is on the rise and we wish her much success.

Devon Carney Talks Tharp / Parsons / Forsythe

Devon Carney Talks Tharp / Parsons / Forsythe
Artistic Director, Devon Carney

Tharp / Parsons / Forsythe

Any ONE of these choreographers on a program is exciting, but all three? Well, Tharp / Parsons / Forsythe together is quite something! This is such an exciting moment for the company. We are thrilled to present two of the best-known works by living choreographers William Forsythe and Twyla Tharp combined with a world premiere from David Parsons. All three are absolutely incredible and brilliant.

David Parsons, the prodigal son, came home to create his first brand new work just for us [KCB]. The program begins with his original comedy gem A Play for Love, based on renowned Shakespeare characters. David Parsons’ choreography is always inventive, exciting, off-center, vibrant, challenging, and grounded (low-weighted movement). This is no exception!

If that wasn’t enough, this is our very first time performing a Forsythe work. He’s one of the greatest living choreographers on the planet and we get to perform his most-known work. It was a chance meeting with him, that conversation, when he gave us permission to perform his signature work In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated. We join top ballet companies around the world performing this work.

And, finally, I have a few words about our final piece on the program: Aerobic. Powerful. Hard. Exhilarating!

Twyla Tharp’s In the Upper Room is a huge finale for the season from a major choreographic legend. The Philip Glass music gets inside you until your nerve endings are on fire—in a good way. Tharp does an incredible job of weaving together classical ballet and contemporary dance, two very different dance disciplines, into a single signature energy. The last movement, when the dancers are firing on all cylinders and then some, leads up to a brilliant and spectacular conclusion.

This program is THE way to finish the year—a wonderful year of artistic growth. This program demonstrates that today’s dancers have to be able to do it all. And our KCB dancers deliver. Ballet doesn’t get much better than this.

 

Top photograph by Brett Pruitt & East Market Studios

KCB Second Company Performs on KC Symphony Program

 

KC Ballet's Second Company and Artistic Director Devon Carney along with KC Symphony musicians after a rehearsal. | Photography by Elizabeth Stehling.
KC Ballet’s Second Company and Artistic Director Devon Carney along with KC Symphony musicians after a rehearsal. | Photography by Elizabeth Stehling.

In Kansas City’s vast arts scene, collaboration is key. Kansas City Symphony plays for most Kansas City Ballet performances. But sometimes the scale is tipped the other way as well.

Tomorrow Kansas City Ballet’s Second Company performs alongside musicians during one of KC Symphony’s happy hour series concerts. It gives audiences, as well as artists, a chance to enjoy different layers of the arts in one tidy package.

MORE ABOUT THE KCS PROGRAM

Free KC Symphony Happy Hour Concert
I COULD’VE DANCED ALL NIGHT

Tuesday, April 30 at 6 p.m.
Helzberg Hall | Kauffman Center

Come as you are and join the scene for a casual, after-work concert hosted by the KC Symphony. Enjoy a drink in the Kauffman Center lobby and then experience a variety of dance-inspired pieces played by Kansas City Symphony musicians. Hear Piazzola’s lively Libertango arranged for woodwind quintet, a concert waltz for cello quartet and much more. Dancers from KC Ballet’s Second Company will perform on two works choreographed by Kansas City Ballet Artistic Director Devon Carney.

Cash bars open at 5 p.m. A one-hour concert in Helzberg Hall follows at 6 p.m. FREE general admission tickets are Sold Out! Sponsored by Lead Bank.