2018-19 Dancer Profile: Lamin Pereira dos Santos

Kansas City Ballet Dancer, Lamin Pereira dos Santos, joined the company in 2014. Since then, he’s performed a number of principal roles in ballets from Albrecht in Giselle to Prince Desire in The Sleeping Beauty. This will be his second time performing in a ballet by choreographer Val Caniparoli. In 2017, he performed in Caniparoli’s The Lottery, based Shirley Jackson’s short story by the same name. He is thrilled to debut as Armand in this production of Lady of the Camellias Feb. 15-24, 2019 at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.

Q: WHAT ARE YOU MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO WITH REGARDS TO LADY OF THE CAMELLIAS?

A: I am definitely looking forward to performing this beautiful ballet with the most amazing piece of music composed by Chopin. Really, it’s a dream come true and I could not ask for better.

After being a super in ABT’s Lady of The Camellias back in 2010 and being fortunate enough to watch the company rehearsals performed by super stars Julie Kent, Marcelo Gomes, Roberto Bolle and Diana Vishneva in the principal roles of Marguerite and Armand I completely fell in love with the ballet and its story. But overall the acting and drama play a big part in it. And that’s why I love it so much.

During those rehearsals I witnessed so much emotion, love, drama and sadness. It helped me see ballet in a different way. At the end of rehearsals fellow dancers were in tears because the were touched by what they saw and felt. Right away I wanted to do the same and touch people’s heart and inspire them.

Dancers Emily Mistretta and Lamin Pereira dos Santos. Photography by Elizabeth Stehling.
Dancers Emily Mistretta and Lamin Pereira dos Santos. Photography by Elizabeth Stehling.

Q: HOW WILL THIS ROLE STRETCH YOU AND HELP YOU GROW AS A DANCER? 

A: This role will help me grow in many different ways. This time the challenge is a bit different and it goes beyond pirouettes and double tours. We all have technique, we all can do those things. But can you do that and act at the same time? I am so looking forward to performing a role different from the ones in classical ballet.

Q: HOW DO YOU GET INTO CHARACTER FOR THESE PRINCIPAL ROLES?

A: I get into character for these principals roles by listening to what the stager is passing on to me throughout the rehearsal process. I also do my own research by watching videos of dancers that I look up to and by recording my rehearsals whenever is possible so I can look for mistakes and for details that can add to telling the story perfectly. Finding the right resource is crucial to expending my knowledge.

Q: WHAT GOES THROUGH YOUR HEAD WHEN YOU ARE PARTNERING?

A: To be honest, I think about what is happening exactly at that moment in the drama. It helps to not think about what’s going to come up next in the ballet such as the next scene or next act. It will all happen naturally.

Dancers Emily Mistretta & Lamin Pereira dos Santos. Photography: Kenny Johnson.
Dancers Emily Mistretta & Lamin Pereira dos Santos. Photography: Kenny Johnson.

Q: WHAT HAVE YOU DONE OUTSIDE OF THE STUDIO TO PREPARE FOR THIS ROLE?

A: As part of my physical training for this role, I am at the gym at 6:00 a.m. for a workout designed to improve my strength and stamina. When the show opens, I’ll perform a ten-minute pas de deux with lots of lifts, so I have added more to my routine in the gym to prepare. A lot of times people don’t realize what it takes to be a male ballet dancer and make everything look graceful, effortless and lift ballerinas over our heads.

Q: WHAT NEEDS TO HAPPEN FOR YOU TO BE SATISFIED WITH YOUR PERFORMANCE?

A: It is hard to be completely satisfied because every performance will be different. It’s never going to be perfect every time! But going on stage with confidence, commitment and passion will make me satisfied. You just have to embrace the role 100% for sure and let your experience and artistry take over the stage and the moment. Everything will fall into the right place.

 

Top Photo by Brett Pruitt & East Market Studios

2018-19 KCB II Dancer Profile: Divya Rea

Divya Rea is in her second season as a member of KCB II, part of Kansas City Ballet’s Second Company.  Originally from Wheaton, Ill., Divya has enjoyed getting to know KC. When she’s not in the ballet studio, you might find her at the River Market shopping for produce or perusing art during First Fridays.

Q: TELL US WHY YOU BECAME A DANCEr.

A: When I was three years old, my mom enrolled me in a beginner’s ballet class. I loved (and still love) the freedom of dancing. I am able to express emotions I otherwise couldn’t describe, and in the studio, I can escape my worries and focus solely on my craft.

Q: WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO WHEN YOU ARE NOT DANCING? 

A: When I have free time, I enjoy playing the piano, writing, or watching TV—essentially anything relaxing after a day of rehearsals! On the weekends, I enjoy walking around Kansas City. I’ve happened upon multiple festivals and fairs by simply taking a walk.

From 2017-18 as KCB II members, dancers Divya Rea and Angelin Carrant. Photography by Brett Pruitt & East Market Studios.
From 2017-18 as KCB II members, dancers Divya Rea and Angelin Carrant. Photography by Brett Pruitt & East Market Studios.

Q: WHAT QUESTION DO YOU GET ASKED MOST ABOUT YOUR JOB AS A DANCER?

A: I often get asked how I stand on my toes, and I always say practice. Every day I work on perfecting my technique and gaining strength. Ballet is not easy, but through repetition and rehearsal it becomes easier.

Q: HOW DO YOU STAY FIT AND HEALTHY OUTSIDE OF THE STUDIO?

A: Cross-training is important to me. Outside the studio, I alternate my workouts. Some days I elliptical or power walk, other days I lift weights. I incorporate Pilates to lengthen my muscles. I also cook often. I love trying new, healthy recipes.

Q: WHAT WAS THE BEST LIFE ADVICE YOU EVER RECEIVED?

A: One of my first ballet teachers would always remind me that everything is “90% mental.” While that exact percentage may vary, this phrase has shaped my attitude in life. Before I approach a challenge, I must believe it is possible.

 

Top Photo by Brett Pruitt & East Market Studios

2018-19 Dancer Profile: Amaya Rodriguez

Kansas City Ballet Dancer, Amaya Rodriguez, joined the company in 2015. She is originally from Cuba and danced with National Ballet of Cuba under Alicia Alonso. She’s made Kansas City her home.

Q: TELL US WHY YOU BECAME A DANCEr.

A: I began to study ballet after the first time I saw Swan Lake. I was struck by so much beauty. From that moment, I knew dancing would be my future.

Q: WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO WHEN YOU ARE NOT DANCING? 

A: I like to do different things like reading a book, studying to learn new things, listening to music and cooking. This way I can relax after a long and exhausting day of work as a dancer.

KC Ballet Dancer Amaya Rodriguez with Company Dancers. Photography: Brett Pruitt & East Market Studios.
KC Ballet Dancer Amaya Rodriguez with Company Dancers. Photography: Brett Pruitt & East Market Studios.

Q: WHAT IS YOUR GUILTY PLEASURE?

A: I like to sing when I’m at home and pretend I’m very famous singer. I can believe it 100%.

Q: WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT BALLET?

A: I love the passion that has developed in me since I was a child. I love the pleasure I feel when I hear the applause of the audience when I finish a performance and especially that I am able to give my all daily despite the fatigue that my body may feel. When I hear the music and think about the choreography, it makes me forget everything and surrender to the magic of my career … dance.

Q: WHAT WAS THE BEST LIFE ADVICE YOU EVER RECEIVED?

A: As long as you know what you want, you can achieve anything. Effort and discipline will be your best allies.

 

Top Photo by Brett Pruitt & East Market Studios

2018-19 Trainee Profile: Leah Upchurch

2018-2019 KC Ballet Trainee and Second Company Member Leah Upchurch. Photography by Savanna Daniels.
 

Trainee and member of Kansas City Ballet’s Second CompanyLeah Upchurch grew up in Virginia Beach, Va.

Q: TELL US WHY YOU BECAME A DANCEr.

A: I became a dancer because I’ve always loved to perform. I’ve always felt invincible when I was on stage whether I was a character telling a story or dancing as myself for a piece.

Q: WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO WHEN YOU’RE NOT DANCING? 

A: I like to write (observations, thoughts, ideas, dreams, etc.). I find it very therapeutic and easier to express how I feel rather than talking (hence why I dance).

Leah Church (pictured center) dances during the snow scene in "The Nutcracker" (2018). Photo by Elizabeth Stehling.
Leah Church (pictured center) dances during the snow scene in “The Nutcracker” (2018). Photo by Elizabeth Stehling.

Q: WHAT IS SOMETHING MOST PEOPLE WOULDN’T KNOW ABOUT YOU?

A: I’m OBSESSED with spicy food, the hotter, the better. Just the extra flavor with a kick makes food that much more delicious!

Q: WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT BALLET?

A: I honestly love how hard it is; not a lot of people dance ballet because of how particular and precise it is and I truly think it takes someone who is driven, passionate, and disciplined to be successful in the art form.

Q: WHAT WAS THE BEST LIFE ADVICE YOU EVER RECEIVED?

A: The best life advice I’ve ever received was that you’re not going to be able to please everyone; it stuck with me because I could never understand why I could be working just as hard as the person next to me but would never get recognition as the other girl would. I learned that not everyone will favor you or your dancing.

 

Top Photo by Savanna Daniels.

2018-2019 Dancer Profile: Javier Morales

Javier Morales joined Kansas City Ballet in 2017. He’s originally from Pinar del Río, Cuba. 

Q: TELL US WHY YOU BECAME A DANCEr.

A: For pure fun until I realized I was good at dancing.

Q: WHAT IS IT LIKE TO BE A PROFESSIONAL DANCER? 

A: Now looking back and after having traveled to 18 countries and having danced in more than 200 theaters around the world including many that were prestigious, I can say it is a great experience to participate in a community that brings everyone closer to the most noble and probably ancient art of humanity. The Dance.

Kansas City Ballet Dancers Austin Meiteen and Javier Morales. Photography: Brett Pruitt & East Market Studios.
Kansas City Ballet Dancers Austin Meiteen and Javier Morales. Photography: Brett Pruitt & East Market Studios.

Q: WHAT QUESTION DO YOU GET ASKED MOST ABOUT YOUR JOB AS A DANCER?

A: What they ask the most is whether the work in the ballet is hard. What some do not know is that not only is it hard, but dancers have the highest standards in terms of training, almost at the level, and in some cases more, than many high-risk sports.

Q: WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO WHEN YOU ARE NOT DANCING?

A: I write and read since I am conscious with the hope of one day publishing my stories. I am fascinated to investigate the evolution of human consciousness in all its aspects and it is amazing to observe how nothing has changed for a long time.

Q: WHAT WAS THE BEST LIFE ADVICE YOU EVER RECEIVED?

A: There is no magic trick. Go for it and work hard. Learn how to learn. Give up your ego and arrogance that will only lead you to a world of loneliness. Be humble without you coming to pretend

 

Top Photo by Brett Pruitt & East Market Studios.

Event Recap: 2018 Sugar Plum Fairy Children’s Ball

Mary Leonida, Barbara Lewis, Beth Fleck, Michelle Weeks, Ava Weeks, Rebecca Plemmons, Jana Kumar, Brooklyn Kumar, Mackenzie Plemmons, Maya Fleck

The 24th Annual Sugar Plum Fairy Children’s Ball, hosted by chair Mrs. Shelley Zucht, on December 1st transformed the Muehlebach Tower of the Kansas City Marriott Downtown into the Land of Sweets. Guests enjoyed the Kansas City Youth Ballet performance, as well as holiday carols sung by Ginger Frost High School Honors Artists from the Lyric Opera. It was indeed all about the twinkle and sparkle of the holidays as guests were treated with incredible magicians, jugglers, beautiful face painting, photos with the Sugar Plum Fairy and shopping at the Nutcracker market. At the end of the feast, everyone was whisked away to the matinee performance of The Nutcracker presented by Kansas City Ballet and sponsored by Bank of America. It was a wonderful way to celebrate the start of the holiday season.

SUGAR PLUM FAIRY BALL CHAIR

Chair Shelley Zucht with husband Cord

HOST AND EMCEE

Event Emcee, KSHB Anchor Christa Dubill and host of Antiques Roadshow, Mark Walberg entertain guests

MORE EVENT PHOTOS

Kansas City Ballet Artistic Director Devon Carney, Pamela Royale Carney, School Director Grace Holmes, Executive Director Jeffrey J. Bentley
Tatiana Graham, Zana Lange, Alexander Jenkins as Fritz, Annabelle and Juliana Graham, Alexis Snyder as Clara
Catherine and Sophie Middleton
Kristin and Adele Osbern with Kansas City Board member, Claire Brand
Marc Larsen with daughters Ellory and Marren, join Chris Longly and his daughter Elizabeth
Ella Grace and Sarah Zschoche, Amy Carter Zschoche, Melissa Consentino, Bridget Battmer, Andrea Moore

Photography by Don Ipock

Former KCB School Student Shines in Canada

Poppy Trettel as "Clara" in Kansas City Ballet's "The Nutcracker" in 2017.
Poppy Trettel as Clara in Kansas City Ballet’s “The Nutcracker” in 2017.

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.

Poppy Trettel (11) and Grady George (12) in Bluebird Pas De Deux from The Sleeping Beauty. First Place winners in Pas De Deux YAGP 2017 Indianapolis, IN

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!”

NUTCRACKER ROLES

Poppy Trettel (12) performs as Marie in Canada's National Ballet 2018 production of "The Nutcracker".
Poppy Trettel (12) performs as Marie in Canada’s National Ballet 2018 production of “The Nutcracker”.

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.

This year, she was selected to be one of three girls dancing the role of “Marie” (similar to our “Clara”) in The National Ballet of Canada’s production of The Nutcracker Dec. 8-30 and was awarded opening night.

“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.”

MORE PHOTOS

Poppy Trettel (12) as Marie in Canada's National Ballet 2018 production of "The Nutcracker".
Poppy Trettel (12) as Marie in Canada’s National Ballet 2018 production of “The Nutcracker”.
Poppy Trettel and Simo Atanasov performing a pas de deux at the 2018 YAGP Finals.
Poppy Trettel and Simo Atanasov performing a pas de deux at the 2018 YAGP Finals.
Poppy Trettel and Simo Atanasov performing a pas de deux at the 2018 YAGP Finals.
Poppy Trettel and Simo Atanasov performing a pas de deux at the 2018 YAGP Finals.
KCB School Marketing Ad from 2014-15 Season featuring a young Poppy Trettel. Photography by Brett Pruitt & East Market Studios.
KCB School Marketing Ad from 2014-15 Season featuring a young Poppy Trettel. Photography by Brett Pruitt & East Market Studios.
Poppy Trettel as Bunny in KC Ballet's "The Nutcracker" in 2014. Photography by Steve Wilson.
Poppy Trettel as Bunny in KC Ballet’s “The Nutcracker” in 2014. Photography by Steve Wilson.

PAST YOUTH AMERICA GRAND PRIX POSTS WITH POPPY TRETTEL

2018 YAGP NY Finals Results

2018 YAGP Results for KCBS

KC Hosts Youth American Grand Prix

KCBS Competes: 2017 YAGP Finals in NY

KC Ballet School has Historic Showing at Youth American Grand Prix

 

 

Student Profile: Joanna Marsh

Joanna Marsh (pictured front-right above) is an avid Kansas City Ballet School Studio Class Student as well as the author of Cantique, a novel following novice dancer Colette Larsen as she is thrust into the world of professional ballet.

What do you enjoy about ballet?

There are so many things I enjoy about ballet. I love how it combines art and athleticism—beauty and strength. I love the music itself and the creative energy and camaraderie that builds up in the studio. And I enjoy taking part in a tradition that has survived for so long; ballet has such a fascinating history.

The way I started as a teen was rather unconventional. Ballet wasn’t on my radar until I saw Robert Altman’s movie The Company. It opened my eyes to what ballet really is, and I was completely enthralled by it, though it never occurred to me to ask my parents for classes. Not long after that, I went to a party on a whim, and some friends there invited me to take a summer session with them at Legacy School of the Arts. Thanks to The Company, I was primed to accept the invitation, though I had no idea how important ballet would become to me.

What would you tell someone considering taking adult studio ballet classes?

I would tell them that it’s never too late to learn how to dance! And also to remember that it’s okay for adults to be beginners. Ballet is challenging, and it takes a while to catch on—just be patient with yourself. Keep things light, enjoy the music, and you will be surprised by how much you can progress. And don’t worry about other students watching you; we are all busy focusing on our own dancing!

In your book, Cantique, your main character begins taking ballet classes as an adult. According to your website you took ballet at 16 and then came back to it as an adult. What inspired you to return to ballet? 

I returned because I missed it terribly! My ballet training as a teen was very short–only about a year, which was long enough to fall in love with it. I gave it up for various reasons (none of which were very good) and always regretted that decision.

I continued to think about ballet quite often. After taking a couple of dance courses in college, I promised myself I would find some classes once I graduated. Eventually, I found KCB and knew that I wouldn’t let ballet go this time! That was over seven years ago.

How did you go about researching the book?

I didn’t need to do much research because I had already spent years immersing myself in ballet. I had a lot of experience to draw from. I did interview Taryn (Layne-Mulhern) Ouellette, one of my teachers, after my first draft was written. I wanted to gain a little insight from a teacher’s perspective to evaluate what I had already written into Marianne’s character. It was fun to hear about what drives Taryn’s love of ballet, and she is an excellent teacher for adult beginners.

Are there similarities between yourself and your main character Colette Larsen?

Colette and I definitely have some similarities. Obviously, our shared love of ballet is one. She and I are also both creative introverts who love our cats. Otherwise, we have completely different family lives and careers, and I’d like to think that I’m more confident and less neurotic than Colette can be sometimes! Oh, and I’m a terrible seamstress; you will never find me making my own dancewear.

In your book, you describe the Westmoreland Ballet, and it sounds a lot like Kansas City Ballet including the layout of the building. How much did you base this fictional company on KCB?

I actually tried to avoid basing Westmoreland on the Bolender Center, but I’m sure there are some similarities—the “little theater” studio being an obvious one. In the book, Westmoreland is described as a “sprawling, Prairie School building,” “rather plain,” and “subject to several half-hearted renovations.” This is not at all how I would describe the sleek and beautifully restored Bolender Center! Besides this brief passage, I intentionally left the descriptions and setting vague, so readers seem to picture whichever ballet school they are most familiar with.

As for the company itself—I wanted it to pass for any mid-sized, Midwestern ballet company. None of the characters in the book are based on actual KCB dancers or staff members.

The hardware store is called Tempe’s. We have a certain ballerina named Tempe Ostergren… coincidence?

Ha,ha! I knew someone would ask me about that one day! Honestly, it was not intentional, although her name was likely floating around in my subconscious at the time. (I finished the first draft in 2015, after I was a supernumerary in Giselle, so I had watched her perform several times.) In the book, the store is named after the original owner, Walter Tempe, but it didn’t take me long to realize the KCB connection. I decided to keep the name anyway. We can go ahead and say it’s a nod to Tempe Ostergren—she’s an incredible dancer!

Where did you get your inspiration for the plot of the ballet?

The plot of the ballet came straight out of Song of Solomon and its various interpretations. I basically read through the book and tried to imagine how Colette might structure a ballet from it. Originally, the music was going to be based on Milton’s Paradise Lost, and the plot of the novel was more about Colette searching through archives to discover the origin of the music. (I’m an archivist and mistakenly thought this was a good idea at the time.) Eventually, the novel morphed into a love story and Song of Solomon seemed like a better pairing.

Was there a piece of music you heard in class?

Not specifically. The first scene I wrote is the one where Colette hears a mysterious song in class during rond de jambe and closes her eyes, overcome by the beauty of the music. Her friend Sammy, who is watching her through the mirror, sees this and gently mocks Colette for being overly romantic. This scene just came to me in a flash one day in 2013, and I felt compelled to write it down. So, there was never one piece in class that inspired it. I will say that I’ve had similar moments during rond de jambe before, though. Probably to Chopin’s Waltz no. 7 in C-sharp minor. That one gets me every time!

How long did it take you to write Cantique?

I’d say at least two and a half years. I wrote sporadic scenes as early as 2013 but wrote the bulk of the manuscript in about six months during 2015. It took another year and a half of editing before I published in June 2017.

What was the biggest challenge?

The biggest challenge was releasing Cantique to the public. I’m a perfectionist and could have kept polishing it for another ten years before I’d let anyone else see it. But I needed it to be done. It’s still difficult knowing that it’s out there and people can interpret it however they want. Understandably, readers have a hard time separating me from the story, which can be a bit mortifying at times. I often have to remind people that it’s a work of fiction!

Tell me more about your blog? How did that come about? Where do you find your subjects to interview?

My blog was a way to connect with fellow dancers and readers. Thanks to Instagram, I realized that there is an ever-growing community of adult ballet students all over the world. I found this really fascinating and chose to interview a variety of people whose stories caught my attention. Adult beginners often feel out-of-place or even embarrassed about their interest in ballet; I wanted the blog to celebrate their efforts and to show people that they’re far from alone. Ballet can be for anyone.

Any plans for more books?

I would love to write more books. I promised my readers a sequel but am working on it at a snail’s pace. I work full time and dance 3-4 nights a week, so finding the time is a struggle!

Does your husband enjoy ballet?

He does! He is nowhere near as obsessed as I am, but he has taken class with me twice and enjoys watching performances. He is a musician and is very understanding of my need for time in the studio. If I’m having an off night and dragging my feet about going to class, he’ll tell me, “You’ll feel better if you go.” And he’s always right.

Top Photo by Brett Pruitt & East Market Studios

Devon Carney Talks Nutcracker

FROM DEVON CARNEY, ARTISTIC DIRECTOR:

It seems like only yesterday, we launched this amazing $2 million production of Kansas City Ballet’s The Nutcracker. It seems like only yesterday… but it’s now been three years.

In that time, I’ve seen it nearly 75 times on stage at the Kauffman Center. Last year, in 2017, we even took it on the road to The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. where we performed multiple times to sold-out audiences.

TRADITIONS

Each year I continue to make revisions here and there, always striving to make it just right. I know perfection is impossible, but the art… the art is in the striving. I am excited at the unique opportunity to revisit, reexamine, rethink, re-envision, and renew this production for you each and every year. The magic lives in the details and each performance holds the key to discovering new heights of artistic achievement.

These beloved characters and familiar roles are treasured traditions and even fertile testing ground for identifying the next leading dancers in our company. It’s also an earned rite of passage for our student performers. It’s the chance to see the next generation stepping into the limelight in featured roles, and it’s you and your loved ones bearing witness to it all.

This show is for kids from 2 to 102—and that’s always my goal—to experience the holidays with a childlike heart and sense of wonder. My hope is you walk out of the theatre feeling lighter on your feet and bursting with holiday spirit as well.

May that spirit of the season inspire you to laugh a little louder, hug a little tighter and delight in the special moments that are so wonderful. Let us remember these festive events and give thanks for our blessings.

Happiest Holidays!

Top Photo by Brett Pruitt & East Market Studios

2018-19 KCB II Profile: Austin Meiteen

KCB II dancer and member of Kansas City Ballet’s Second CompanyAustin Meiteen is from Austin, Tex. He joined Kansas City Ballet last season as a Trainee. Depending on the cast of each show, he performs as the dancing bear, a Trepak, Mother Ginger and more during performances of The Nutcracker through Dec. 23, 2018.

Kansas City Ballet Dancers Austin Meiteen, Javier Morales, and Angelin Carrant. Photography: Brett Pruitt & East Market Studios.
Kansas City Ballet Dancers Austin Meiteen, Javier Morales, and Angelin Carrant. Photography: Brett Pruitt & East Market Studios.

Q: TELL US WHY YOU BECAME A DANCEr.

A: My older sister started dance when we were younger, and for car pool reasons, it was just easiest to take me to the studio with her when she had class. They saw me dancing around the waiting room and asked if I wanted to join classes too. I haven’t stopped since.

Q: WHAT QUESTION DO YOU GET ASKED MOST ABOUT BEING A DANCER? 

A: “Can you do the splits?” And then, depending on how sore I am or what pants I’m wearing, I usually drop and show them.

Q: WHAT IS IT LIKE TO BE DANCING IN PROFESSIONAL COMPANY PERFORMANCES?

A: Kind of surreal. It’s something you work for for so long, and then one day it just happens. It never feels possible to stop growing within a performance either. I want everything to be of the best of its ability for every performance, for every new crowd. Knowing now that people are paying to see me makes me want to be that much more.

Q: WHAT’S SOMETHING MOST PEOPLE WOULDN’T KNOW ABOUT YOU?

A: My family had four dogs and two sugar gliders when I was growing up. Animals are highly valued to me.

Q: WHAT WAS THE BEST LIFE ADVICE YOU EVER RECEIVED?

A: Never be afraid to want more.

 

Top Photo by Brett Pruitt & East Market Studios.