2018 Summer Intensive Recap

Photography: Andrea Wilson
Photography: Andrea Wilson

Kansas City Ballet School‘s 2018 Summer Intensive program ended today. To mark the occassion, students’ families watched an informal demonstration of what the students learned these past five weeks.

There were 167 students who attended this year’s intensive program. Of those, only 37 are current KCBS Academy attendees, the rest were chosen through auditions that took place across the country or through video auditions. The majority of students came from outside of Kansas and Missouri, and two were from outside of the U.S. Of these one is from Japan and the other from Bulgaria.

Besides learning from an incredible list of teachers and faculty from Kansas City Ballet, others included: Sarah Lane, Alicia Graf Mack, Olivier Munoz, Larissa Ponomarenko, and Mel Tomlinson. All couldn’t be happier with the students’ eagerness to learn or their progress during the program.

“The students who attended our summer intensive this year were amazing,” said Kansas City Ballet School Director Grace Holmes. “Their level of commitment, camaraderie and artistic spirit, took our program to new levels. I am so proud of all of the students who danced with us this summer and we are grateful that they and their parents chose Kansas City Ballet School.”

More PHotos

Kansas City Ballet School Director Grace Holmes praises the students for their hard work at this year's intensive. Photography: Andrea Wilson

Kansas City Ballet School Director Grace Holmes praises the students for their hard work at this year’s intensive. Photography: Andrea Wilson

Photography: Andrea Wilson
Photography: Andrea Wilson
Photography: Andrea Wilson
Photography: Andrea Wilson
Photography: Andrea Wilson
Photography: Andrea Wilson

From the Archives: Tanny Le Clercq

Tanaquil Le Clercq was a principal dancer with New York City Ballet. Tanny, as she was called by friends and family, was married to George Balanchine and was once considered his muse. Over her career Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, Merce Cunningham and others created a total of 32 roles just for her. Her incredible dancing career ended abruptly when she was stricken with polio in Copenhagen during the New York City Ballet company’s European tour in 1956.

A Kansas City Ballet Connection

Tanny was friends with Kansas City Ballet’s former Artistic Director Emeritus, Todd Bolender, when he was with New York City Ballet both as a dancer and as a tour manager. The two remained friends until her death in 2000. In fact just days/weeks after she was stricken with Polio, she had sent a letter to him. She had to dictate the letter to her mother, who wrote it for her, since she wasn’t able to write for herself. She later regained use of her arms and hands. This letter lives in the Kansas City Ballet archives as part of Todd Bolender’s effects. In it she shares personal details about her illness and her outlook on life.

The letter Tanny sent to Todd Bolender shortly after her diagnosis.
Page two of the letter.

Having never recovered the use of her legs, Tanny found other ways to share her love of ballet including teaching ballet to students using her hands and arms to demonstrate the steps. She also staged ballets for companies as well, even coming to Kansas City Ballet to teach on occasion. She also wrote books, took up photography and more.

Kansas City Ballet’s Archives host items and information that relate to Kansas City Ballet, its artistic staff, dancers, and ballet repertory. Look for other highlights from the archives on this blog.

Questions?

If you have questions about KCB history or our archives, please leave them in the comments.

Related Blog Posts:

Guild Book Club

Kansas City Ballet Archives Updates Displays

Behind Closed Doors: Kansas City Ballet’s Archive Thrives

 

Summer Notes: Ramona Pansegrau

“The best thing in the world is to make music. To be able to do that, I am privileged,” says Kansas City Ballet Music Director Ramona Pansegrau.

Kansas City Ballet Music Director Ramona Pansegrau has filled her summer with incredible (and stressful) musical experiences.

11th Annual USA International Ballet Competition

After Peter Pan wrapped on May 20, she was on a plane the next day to Jackson, Miss. She served as the music director for the 11th annual USA International Ballet Competition in Jackson June 10-23, 2018. This first trip was to find the music in the music library for all of the contestants.

JACOB’s PILLOW

The next day she boarded a plane bound for Massachusetts and the annual Jacob’s Pillow festival that she’s played a role in for the past 16 years. This year she helped prepare music for a world premiere ballet by Annabell Lopez Ochoa  at the Opening Gala of Jacob’s Pillow on Saturday, June 16.

11th Annual USA International Ballet Competition Continued

Then she flew back to Jackson on June 19 for session 3 of the competition to rehearse the orchestra for the Awards Gala and the Encore Gala, June 22-23. All competition medalists perform their solos or pas de deux to live orchestra.

Here’s the thing, though. The medalists are chosen and the list of their performance music is given to Ms. Pansegrau around 2 or 3 a.m. Friday. That’s when the real fun begins as she must stay up all night to prepare and arrange all the music from the larger collection (97 lbs of music!) she pulled in May. Her first rehearsal with the orchestra was from 9 to 11:30 a.m., the morning of the Awards Gala. That was followed by orchestra and dancers rehearsing together from 1 to 3 p.m. A dress rehearsal came next, from 4:30 to 6 p.m., and the Gala began at 7:30 p.m. Learn even more about this challenging and brutal process in this Mississippi Today article where Ms. Pansegrau is featured.

Preparing for Kansas City Ballet’s 2018-2019 Season

Now that she’s back, she’s keeping busy working on a new set of orchestra parts for Kansas City Ballet’s February show, Lady of the Camellias.

On Aug. 6, she’ll be back in the studios playing optional company classes. The dancers will all return Aug. 20 for the season.

 

KCB School 2018 Spring Performance

Pas de Deux Class students at the 2018 Spring Performance at the Kauffman Center. Photography by Brett Pruitt & East Market Studios.
Pas de Deux Class students at the 2018 Spring Performance at the Kauffman Center. Photography by Brett Pruitt & East Market Studios.

On Tuesday, May 15, Kansas City Ballet School presented its 2018 Spring Performance at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. Students from Level 2 up to and including the Student Trainees from Kansas City Ballet’s Second Company performed a variety of works for the more than 900 in attendance.

Kansas City Ballet School Director, Grace Holmes, said: “I am so proud of the accomplishments of our students this year.  Our Spring Performance showed off our students’ hard work and allowed them the incredible opportunity to share their passion on the Kauffman stage. The depth they are achieving in this wonderful art form of dance is so beautiful to see – they make our School proud!”

MORE EVENT PHOTOS

Level 2 students at the 2018 Spring Performance at the Kauffman Center. Photography by Brett Pruitt & East Market Studios.
Level 2 students at the 2018 Spring Performance at the Kauffman Center. Photography by Brett Pruitt & East Market Studios.
Level 3 students at the 2018 Spring Performance at the Kauffman Center. Photography by Brett Pruitt & East Market Studios.
Level 3 students at the 2018 Spring Performance at the Kauffman Center. Photography by Brett Pruitt & East Market Studios.
Daytime Program students at the 2018 Spring Performance at the Kauffman Center. Photography by Brett Pruitt & East Market Studios.
Daytime Program students at the 2018 Spring Performance at the Kauffman Center. Photography by Brett Pruitt & East Market Studios.
Kansas City Youth Ballet students at the 2018 Spring Performance at the Kauffman Center. Photography by Brett Pruitt & East Market Studios.
Kansas City Youth Ballet students at the 2018 Spring Performance at the Kauffman Center. Photography by Brett Pruitt & East Market Studios.
Level 7/8 students at the 2018 Spring Performance at the Kauffman Center. Photography by Brett Pruitt & East Market Studios.
Level 7/8 students at the 2018 Spring Performance at the Kauffman Center. Photography by Brett Pruitt & East Market Studios.
Level 6/7/8 students at the 2018 Spring Performance at the Kauffman Center. Photography by Brett Pruitt & East Market Studios.
Level 6/7/8 students at the 2018 Spring Performance at the Kauffman Center. Photography by Brett Pruitt & East Market Studios.
Level 6/7/8 students at the 2018 Spring Performance at the Kauffman Center. Photography by Brett Pruitt & East Market Studios.
Level 6/7/8 students at the 2018 Spring Performance at the Kauffman Center. Photography by Brett Pruitt & East Market Studios.
Mens' Class students at the 2018 Spring Performance at the Kauffman Center. Photography by Brett Pruitt & East Market Studios.
Mens’ Class students at the 2018 Spring Performance at the Kauffman Center. Photography by Brett Pruitt & East Market Studios.

Event Recap: Patrons Society Year-End Celebration

Board Member Jack Rowe, outgoing Board Member Barbara Storm, Claire Brand Board Member and Joe Brand. Outgoing Board. Photography by Larry F. Levenson.
Board Member Jack Rowe, outgoing Board Member Barbara Storm, Claire Brand Board Member and Joe Brand. Outgoing Board. Photography by Larry F. Levenson.

Kansas City Ballet Patrons Society celebrated the end of a very successful 2017-2018 performance season with a cocktail reception on May 24 hosted at Roth Living. Attendees reminisced about Kansas City Ballet’s Diamond Jubilee Season, which featured the WORLD PREMIERE choreography of Devon Carney’s Romeo & Juliet, the Anniversary Dance Festival with six Kansas City premieres in two weekends featuring George Balanchine’s Diamonds and James Kudelka’s The Man in Black, and the WORLD PREMIERE choreography of Devon Carney’s Peter Pan.

Event Photos

Board President Kathy Stepp, Howard Rothwell and Deb Westdorp. Photography by Larry F. Levenson.
Board President Kathy Stepp, Howard Rothwell and Deb Westdorp. Photography by Larry F. Levenson.
Company Dancer Dillon Malinski, Retiring Dancer Molly Wagner, Board Member Michael Frost, Ginger Frost and Artistic Director Devon Carney. Photography by Larry F. Levenson.
Company Dancer Dillon Malinski, Retiring Dancer Molly Wagner, Board Member Michael Frost, Ginger Frost and Artistic Director Devon Carney. Photography by Larry F. Levenson.
Retiring Dancer Charles Martin, Ballet Master Parrish Master, Retiring Dancer Molly Wagner, Retiring Dancer Angelina Sansone, Ballet Master Kristi Capps, Artistic Director Devon Carney, and Executive Jeffrey Bentley. Photography by Larry F. Levenson.
Retiring Dancer Charles Martin, Ballet Master Parrish Master, Retiring Dancer Molly Wagner, Retiring Dancer Angelina Sansone, Ballet Master Kristi Capps, Artistic Director Devon Carney, and Executive Jeffrey Bentley. Photography by Larry F. Levenson.
Tony Feiock Board Member and Carol Feiock with Ballet Master Parrish Maynard. Photography by Larry F. Levenson.
Tony Feiock Board Member and Carol Feiock with Ballet Master Parrish Maynard. Photography by Larry F. Levenson.
Board Member and Bolender Society Chair Susan Lordi Marker and Artistic Director Devon Carney. Photography by Larry F. Levenson.
Board Member and Bolender Society Chair Susan Lordi Marker and Artistic Director Devon Carney. Photography by Larry F. Levenson.
Company Dancer Lilliana Hagerman, Loren Whittaker, Company Dancer Lamin Pereira Dos Santos, and Board Member Siobhan McLaughlin Lesley. Photography by Larry F. Levenson.
Company Dancer Lilliana Hagerman, Loren Whittaker, Company Dancer Lamin Pereira Dos Santos, and Board Member Siobhan McLaughlin Lesley. Photography by Larry F. Levenson.
Andrew and Peggy Beal joined by Michael and Cindy Wurm. Photography by Larry F. Levenson.
Andrew and Peggy Beal joined by Michael and Cindy Wurm. Photography by Larry F. Levenson.
Sarah Porter, Board Member Vince Clark, and Georgia Fuller Company Trainee. Photography by Larry F. Levenson.
Sarah Porter, Board Member Vince Clark, and Georgia Fuller Company Trainee. Photography by Larry F. Levenson.

2018 YAGP NY Finals Results

Poppie Trettle and Simo XXX performing a pas de deux from XXX.
Poppy Trettel and Simo Atanasov performing a pas de deux.

For the third year in a row, Kansas City Ballet School has traveled to New York for the Youth America Grand Prix Finals.

A group of KCBS students with YAGP Coordinator Racheal Nye and School Director Grace Holmes.
A group of KCBS students with YAGP Coordinator Racheal Nye and School Director Grace Holmes.

“It‘s wonderful to watch our students grow technically and artistically as they prepare for YAGP,” KCB School Director Grace Holmes said. “Having something to work towards and an opportunity to share their hard work, contributes to students’ self-confidence. And our students are so supportive of each other – it shows how close-knit our Academy community is.”

More than 10,000 students from 31 countries who competed during the regional finals around the globe. Only 1,500 were invited to the finals in New York. Of these 800 were soloists of which KCBS happily had three, one made it to the final round: Poppy Trettel.

While KCBS students did not place at the national competition finals this year, three received scholarship offers from prestigious schools.

Hannah Zucht: Harid Conservatory

Simo Atanasov: Joffrey Ballet

Poppy Trettel: Canada’s National Ballet School

Shaping the Future

Students warm up before their round of performances.
Students warm up before their round of performances.

When asked about the event, Racheal Nye, principal and YAGP coordinator, said, “It’s great to see the growth in the kids by the end of the process, and see the school represented so well at an international event. I also really enjoy being inspired and motivated by other schools and seeing the talented students from around the world.”

Nye is proud of the way the KCBS students were kind and welcoming to other participants, and their professional attitudes.  For example, the Baroque ensemble dancers were reviewing independently and had lined up at open stage to space before she even got there to look for them.

Every year Nye reads through the written performance critiques from the YAGP judges. Her goal is to  incorporate these corrections into how she teaches all of her students going forward. She tries to approach the things she wants to fix by gearing the combinations to train the body to reflexively accomplish the move correctly. By looking at the experience as a whole, she attempts to answer these questions:

  • What pieces/choreography seemed to do well? 
  • How prepared were the students and was there anything that she could do in advance that would make things run more smoothly?
  • What could she learn about preparing better for the venue? Etc.

In doing so, the results from these competitions shape strategy for future years. 

Related Blog Posts

Here are some links to past blog posts with similar topics:

KCBS Teacher Profile: Racheal Nye

2018 YAGP Results for KCBS

KC Hosts Youth American Grand Prix

YAGP Competition This Weekend

KC Ballet School has Historic Showing at Youth American Grand Prix

 

We Move With You Event June 30

No Divide KC will host an event at Kansas City Ballet’s Bolender Center on Saturday, June 30 from 1 to 4 p.m. called “We Move with You.” The event is open to all ages and especially families in the community and will focus on promoting ways kids and adults with developmental delays can add to the creative landscape of Kansas City. There is a $5 suggested donation.

What is We Move with You?

“We Move with You” is a festival that will include visual art exhibits by Imagine That Gallery and The Whole Person and interactive visual activities by No Divide KC in the Ellis Conference room and in studios 2 and 3. Performances both with and without audience participation in the Frost Studio Theater. Performances will include works from Kansas City Ballet School’s Adaptive Dance demonstrations, The Whole Person, Jen Owen from Owen/Cox Dance and more.

“I’ve wanted to do an event that highlights those with delays and disabilities for a while,” No Divide KC’s Board President Stacy Busch said.

“I have a nephew with autism. When I learned about the Adaptive Dance program, I thought this would be a great way to make something happen in a very positive way. KCBS offers lots of resources and we’re really excited to partner with them to host something in their home.”

More about No Divide KC

No Divide KC is a nonprofit arts organization that creates artistic events that highlight various social causes, organizations, and issues. Using the arts as a vehicle for stimulating social awareness, participation, and community building, these performances help garner greater attention to these underserved social areas and bolster community acceptance and collaboration in Kansas City.

No Divide KC promotes warm and accepting spaces for all people. They’ve held benefit concerts combined with ways for local community organizations to recruit volunteers and spread awareness. They’ve also created documentaries that encouraged body positivity and also under represented female identifying people in our community. This fall they will create an exhibition and documentary in conjunction with the Johnson County Library that will feature local artists from multiple minority groups.

Guild: Spring Luncheon 2018

Gigi Rose, Susan Meehan-Mizer Photography by Larry F. Levenson.
Gigi Rose, Susan Meehan-Mizer Photography by Larry F. Levenson.

The Kansas City Ballet Guild held its annual Spring Luncheon on May 10th at Hallbrook Country Club.  Peggy Beal and host Barbara Eiszner planned the lovely luncheon – Craig Sole provided the beautiful floral arrangements. President Gigi Rose recognized special guests, Carol and Tony Feiock, the Honorary Chairmen of the upcoming Emerald City Ball taking place on October 6, 2018.  After guests were treated to a dance performance by Kansas City Ballet’s Second Company, Gigi introduced the 2018-2019 Guild Board and passed the gavel to her successor, incoming President Susan Meehan-Mizer.

EVENT PHOTOS

KCB II Dancers. Photography by Larry F. Levenson.
KCB II Dancers. Photography by Larry F. Levenson.
Julia Irene Kauffman, Mary Beth Hershey, Peggy Dunn, Sara Bower Youngblood Photography by Larry F. Levenson
Julia Irene Kauffman, Mary Beth Hershey, Peggy Dunn, Sara Bower Youngblood Photography by Larry F. Levenson
Claire Brand, Mark Sappington, Kathy Stepp, Siobhan McLaughlin Lesley. Photography by Larry F. Levenson.
Claire Brand, Mark Sappington, Kathy Stepp, Siobhan McLaughlin Lesley. Photography by Larry F. Levenson.
Edie Downing, Jennifer Wampler, Crissy Dastrup, Susan Bubb. Photography by Larry F. Levenson.
Edie Downing, Jennifer Wampler, Crissy Dastrup, Susan Bubb. Photography by Larry F. Levenson.
2018-2019 Guild Board - (front row) Angela Walker, Sarah Bent, Penelope Vrooman, Juliette Singer, President Susan Meehan-Mizer, Francie Mayer, Mark McNeal, Edie Downing, Kathy Anderson, Gail Van Way, Mary Beth Hershey, Jo Anne Dondlinger, Gigi Rose, (back row) John Walker, Mark Sappington, Sarah Ingram-Eiser, Felicia Bondi, Craig Sole, Melissa Ford, Peggy Beal. Photography by Larry F. Levenson.
2018-2019 Guild Board – (front row) Angela Walker, Sarah Bent, Penelope Vrooman, Juliette Singer, President Susan Meehan-Mizer, Francie Mayer, Mark McNeal, Edie Downing, Kathy Anderson, Gail Van Way, Mary Beth Hershey, Jo Anne Dondlinger, Gigi Rose, (back row) John Walker, Mark Sappington, Sarah Ingram-Eiser, Felicia Bondi, Craig Sole, Melissa Ford, Peggy Beal. Photography by Larry F. Levenson.

The Emerald City Ball Announces Honorary Chairmen

Honorary Chairmen Carol and Tony Feiock | Photographer Larry F. Levenson
Honorary Chairmen Carol and Tony Feiock | Photographer Larry F. Levenson

Kansas City Ballet Guild is pleased to announce long-time supporters of the Kansas City Ballet and generous members of the Kansas City community Carol and Tony Feiock as Honorary Chairmen for The Emerald City Ball.

The Emerald City Ball

2018 Ballet Ball Honorary Chairmen, Carol and Tony Feiock, and Ball Chairman, Gigi Rose, are looking forward to an evening of cocktails, exquisite cuisine, and dancing on Saturday evening, October 6, 2018, at the  InterContinental Kansas City At The Plaza. This year’s Ball will celebrate the Kansas City Ballet’s world premiere of Septime Webre’s The Wizard of Oz. The Emerald City Ball is presented by Kansas City Ballet Guild in support of Kansas City Ballet programs and scholarships.

Click for more information and to purchase tickets online.

Kansas City Ballet Completes First Year of New ROAD Scholarship Program 

R.O.A.D. Scholars taking class. Photography by Elizabeth Stehling.
R.O.A.D. Scholars taking class. Photography by Elizabeth Stehling.

Since 2000 Kansas City Ballet has provided an educational outreach program called Reach Out And Dance (R.O.A.D.) to elementary students using movement to enhance learning. The program has grown to become the centerpiece of KCB’s Community Engagement and Education.

WHAT IS R.O.A.D.?

Each week R.O.A.D. provides movement classes to hundreds of 3rd and 4th grade students in Missouri and Kansas elementary schools introducing children to the fundamentals of dance and integrating 21st century learning skills and curriculum. The program provides under-served and at-risk youth with a different learning paradigm through which they can experience success, develop self-discipline, and strive for personal excellence within and outside the school environment, all of which is demonstrated by post-program survey assessments.

THE R.O.A.D. SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM

R.O.A.D. Scholars performance at the Bolender Center. Photography by Elizabeth Stehling.
R.O.A.D. Scholars performance at the Bolender Center. Photography by Elizabeth Stehling.

This year brought the introduction of the R.O.A.D. Scholarship Program. Its goal is to enhance cultural awareness, foster creativity, strengthen critical thinking and problem solving skills, expose students to potential careers in dance, and to cultivate an appreciation for the art form.

The first phase of the program began in September 2017. Teaching artists impart different movement styles to students weekly and gauge their interest and ability. In the second phase, select students enter a tuition-free Dance Discovery program at Kansas City Ballet School from January  through April. Transportation to and from KCBS, Ballet Fundamentals class plus Modern and Jazz classes, and necessary dance attire is provided at no cost to the student’s family. The third phase is planned for summer when these same students will be provided tuition-free summer classes at KCBS.

“We are so excited to offer this new comprehensive program that will create a broader reach and make dance even more accessible to students who might not have had the opportunity to participate in this way before,” KCB Community Engagement and Education Manager April Berry said. “Our research shows this program not only helps students with their school curriculum, like geography, math and social studies, but it leaves many with a boost in confidence to help them succeed. Principals and teachers have raved about the effects of this new program and we are thrilled to have  80+ students who have completed their fist year of the program. R.O.A.D. Scholars will attend KCB’s Peter Pan performance this weekend as part of the program.”

A DONOR WITH HEART

Dance Shoppe Owner Susan Bibbs. Photography by Andrea Wilson.
Dance Shoppe Owner Susan Bibbs. Photography by Andrea Wilson.

For more than 32 years, Dance Shoppe, Inc. has served as the number one supplier of dance wear in Kansas City, Mo. Opened in 1985, they have always stayed true to their commitment to high quality dance apparel and, because of this, they have had the distinct honor of serving dancers throughout their careers.

This season Susan Bibbs, Owner of Dance Shoppe, donated all of the dance wear for KCB’s new R.O.A.D. Scholarship Program.

Maybe it’s because she grew up in a small town in Western Kansas where community is second nature, where people help one another however they can.  Or, maybe it’s from all the support that Bibbs and her business have received throughout the last three decades. Now she feels it’s her time to ‘Pay It Forward’.  She is thankful she is in a position where she can give back and make a difference.

R.O.A.D. Scholarship students in ballet attire courtesy of Dance Shoppe. Photography by Elizabeth Stehling.
R.O.A.D. Scholarship students in ballet attire courtesy of Dance Shoppe. Photography by Elizabeth Stehling.

“The right outfit is everything…  Like a baseball player needs a glove, so does a dancer need the proper dance attire. Not just for ease and freedom in movement that dance wear provides but for the total picture, it’s the completion, a mind-set,” Bibbs said. “After all these years, it still amazes me to see the excitement on the faces of kids when they get their first pair of dance shoes.”

Bibbs was excited to offer assistance to the program. “I feel our part is simple compared to what all is entailed in the organization of this project.  The coordination of the students, the schools, the transportation, etc. is mind boggling,” she said.

April Berry couldn’t be happier to be part of this partnership: “A generous gift of this nature is invaluable to our ROAD scholarship program. Providing these deserving and talented children with these outfits not only serves them physically but helps improve self-esteem by showing they belong and that their community cares about them.”