The 2014 Summer Intensive students have packed up and gone home, leaving the Bolender Center quiet until the Company Dancers return. The five-week-long program culminated in a student showcase on Friday, July 18th. The Summer Intensive 2014 faculty included many dancers from around the country and world; such as, Houston Ballet’s Simon Ball, American Ballet Theatre’s Sarah Lane, and Youth American Grand Prix judge Anna-Marie Holmes.
Likewise, the 100 students who participated in this year’s Summer Intensive came from 18 different states (including California, Colorado, Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas and Wisconsin). Half of the students stayed in the dorms and were able to participate in activities around Kansas City on the weekends. They attended a Kansas City Royals game, Kansas City Dance Festival, a Sporting KC match and Starlight Theatre. On the weekdays, the dancers took classes in Pointe, Partnering, Musical Theater, Yoga, Modern, Hip Hop and more!
Learn about the acclaimed guest faculty that will be joining us during Kansas City Ballet School’s 2014 Summer Intensive:
Simon Ball joined Houston Ballet as a principal dancer in July 2003. He studied with School of American Ballet, Pittsburgh Ballet Theater, The Conservatory of Point Park College, and The School of Classical Ballet (American Ballet Theatre’s training program). Before becoming a professional, he also performed as a guest artist with many companies in the United States and abroad.
Mr. Ball began his professional career in 1995 where he was a member of the corps de ballet, a soloist, and has been a principal dancer since 2003. Mr. Ball has performed leading roles in many important works including: Prince in The Sleeping Beauty; the slave in Le Corsaire (staged by Anna Marie Holmes and Natalia Dudinskaya); Oberon in Bruce Wells’ A Midsummer Night’s Dream; the prince in Cinderella (staged by Michael Corder) among others including many George Balanchine works.
Mr. Ball also received a number of prestigious awards including the Margarite Amelita Hoffman scholarship at the international ballet competition in Jackson, Mississippi (1990); the gold medal at the First International Ballet Competition in memory of Rudolf Nureyev (1994) in Budapest, Hungary; and the gold medal at the international ballet competition in Jackson, Mississippi (1994). He was invited to perform at the Benois de la Danse in Berlin, Germany (1999). LEARN MORE
Frances Perez-Ball trained at Julian E. Blanco School of Performing Arts in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Hartford Ballet School, Eglevsky Ballet, and Point Park College. Frances began her career with Ballet Teatro Municipal de San Juan . As a principal dancer with Ballet Municipal, she toured the U.S. and Latin America performing various roles in full-length ballets such as Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty, Swanhilda in Coppelia, and Kitri in Don Quixote.
Frances joined Boston Ballet in 1995. Her performances with Boston Ballet include featured roles in The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, Cinderella, Giselle, Dracula and many more. In 2003 Frances was invited to join Houston Ballet under the direction of Stanton Welch. There she performed works by Mr. Welch including Divergence and In the Garden of Myrth, among others.
Frances was the recipient of the 1999 Copa International Capezio Award for her outstanding work in ballet. She has also been on the teaching staff of Boston Ballet School, Pittsburgh Ballet Theater School, The Hope Stone, and the Saratoga Summer Dance Intensive.
Frances is married to Simon Ball – learn more about their story here.
Born in San Francisco, California, Sarah Lane began her dance training in Memphis, Tenn. under the direction of Pat Gillespie at the Memphis Classical Ballet. When her family moved to Rochester, New York, she continued instruction with Timothy Draper and Jamey Leverett at the Draper Center for Dance Education.
When Lane was 16, she received a full scholarship to the Boston Ballet’s Summer Program. She’s received many awards and performed at the Kennedy Center as a Presidential Scholar in the Arts.
Lane joined American Ballet Theatre as an apprentice in August 2003, a member of the Company’s corps de ballet in April 2004 and a Soloist in August 2007. Her roles with the Company include a Shade in La Bayadère, Galya in The Bright Stream, Blossom in Cinderella, Gulnare in Le Corsaire, among many others. She created the Chinese Dance in Alexei Ratmansky’s The Nutcracker and a role in Demis Volpi’s Private Light.
Lane was a recipient of the Princess Grace Award in 2007 and Leonore Annenberg Fellowship in the Arts in 2008. She was the dancing double for Natalie Portman in Fox Searchlight Pictures’ feature film Black Swan.
Anna-Marie Holmes has appeared as a ballerina and has taught in more than 30 countries on five continents. She was born in Canada and received her Grade 10 Certificate from the Royal Conservatory of Music in piano. In N.Y. she continued her ballet studies with Felia Dubrovska and trained in Leningrad with Natalia Dudinskaya, Alexander Pushkin and Alla Shelest of the Kirov Ballet. Holmes was the first North American invited to perform with the Kirov Ballet in Russia.
Holmes founded the International Academy of Dance Costa do Sol in Portugal and served as its co-artistic director. She has staged many works, and her staging of Le Corsaire appeared on PBS’s Great Performances, for which it won an Emmy Award.
Holmes joined Boston Ballet in 1985 and in 1997 was named Artistic Director of the company and Dean of Faculty for the Boston Ballet Center for Dance Education. Holmes was Artistic Director of the School of the International Ballet Competition in Jackson, Mississippi in 1990 and 1994 and, in 1997, she received the Dance Magazine Award for extraordinary and lasting contributions to the art form.
Holmes is very active in her work as a judge for Youth American Grand Prix, travelling throughout the U.S. each year for their preliminary and final competitions. Teaching and staging continues to take her around the globe. She is in constant demand as a judge, guest teacher and choreographer.
The familiar music of Party scene, Snow, and Waltz of the Flowers has been filling the studios as the KCBS students rehearse for this season’s production of The Nutcracker. While the company dancers and older students gear up for theater week, the younger students are already planning for next year!
When we visited the Level 1 ballet class to hear why they like to dance, they told us about their love of movement and their dreams of performing the Nutcracker. Most of the class was too young to audition this time around, but that has only increased their excitement and anticipation for next year!
We asked each of the girls: What is your favorite part of ballet class?
Eliana told us that she was inspired to start dancing after seeing the company’s performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Now that she is taking ballet her favorite step is sauté!
Maddy said her favorite part of ballet is leaps – “I feel like I’m flying when I jump!”
Sophie also likes leaping; she said “they’re good to practice for when I want to grow up, because I want to be in the Nutcracker.” She even has a Nutcracker doll at home as a reminder of her dream to perform in the ballet.
The Level 1 class seems to have a trend of jumpers! And if they have anything to say about it, we will see them leaping around with Mother Ginger or floating like angels in the future!
This week we had a chance to catch up with our new student apprentice, Maggie Andriani! Between classes, Maggie gave us a glimpse of what it has been like to dance with the company so far and what she is most looking forward to this season.
Maggie has been a student at the Kansas City Ballet School for ten years, and is thrilled to have the opportunity to work with the company this year. When she first found out that she had been chosen as student apprentice, she said, “I was shaking I was so excited!”
Since then she has been taking classes with the company in addition to school, part-time work, regular dance classes and performing with the Kansas City Youth Ballet. Beginning this season Maggie will also be rehearsing and performing with the KCB! She loves the Nutcracker season and is looking forward to learning Dracula, but says she is most excited about the production of Cinderella.
Until rehearsals start, Maggie is enjoying the opportunity to take class with the company throughout the week. On Saturday mornings, when most teenagers might sleep in, she is at the studio striving to learn everything she can from the artistic staff and company dancers. She looks up to all the company members and is inspired by the qualities that they each possess. She hopes “that by watching them that somehow their special talents will transfer over to (her)!”
We are excited to watch Maggie grow in both technique and artistry as she dances alongside the company this year, and we are eager to see where her passion for dance takes her in the years to come!
Skyler Taylor, KCB School Registrar and Instructor tells us about the many qualities you gain by being involved in dance and why Kansas City Ballet School is a wonderful and unique place to begin your training today.
Q: What are the benefits of taking a ballet class?
A: First of all, it is fun! Instructors at Kansas City Ballet make dancing and taking class enjoyable. They are friendly and willing to help each student. Ballet also has several benefits for the body, mind, and spirit. It will give you confidence, coordination, strong and flexible muscles, and the desire to learn more. Dance is a great way to lessen the stress from the day. Come try a class today for free and see what we mean!
Q: What is special about Kansas City Ballet School?
A: At Kansas City Ballet School, most ballet classes have live music. I love teaching and dancing to live music, because it is beautiful and inspiring. We offer several styles of dance for teens and adults, so you will find a class and level that is right for you.
Q: What do you hope our students accomplish in a year?
A: In the Academy Division, we have several goals for our students. The Kansas City Ballet School syllabus is designed to help each dancer reach their full potential. We also hope to help them grow as artists and give them performance opportunities to share their love for dance with others.
Q: What are you looking forward to most this year?
A: I am really looking forward to teaching Level 3 Jazz this year. For several of the students, this will be their first time experiencing Jazz. I am excited to see them move in a new style and see their personalities come to life.
If you are interested in learning more about the different classes KCB School has to offer, please visit our website. Our Academy classes offer opportunities for children between the ages of 3-19, and our Studio division offers a variety of fitness classes for adults of all ages. Call 816.931.2299 to speak with a KCB School staff member today!
It’s the second week of Summer Intensive here at Kansas City Ballet, and the studios of the Bolender Center are bustling with activity.
Below are some snapshots to give you a look into a day in the life of a KCBS Summer Intensive Student!
This is just a small glimpse into the daily schedule of our students here at KCBS Summer Intensive. Along with ballet technique and pointe, they take variations and learn more about partnering in the pas de deux class. They are exposed to an even broader range of dance forms including modern, flamenco and character.
As you can see, it’s already been a busy summer, but we can tell they’re all having fun! Check back for later posts that will include more photos and interviews from students!
Check out these fun backstage photos from the Kansas City Youth Ballet Spring Performances last weekend. Performed in the Michael and Ginger Frost Studio Theater at the KCB Bolender Center, the Youth Ballet put on three spectacular shows.
Congrats to everyone involved on such a great production!
James Jordan has been with Kansas City Ballet as Ballet Master since 1991. This will be his 22nd Nutcracker production with KCB. Along with the company dancers, James will be working with over 200 students who have auditioned to be a part of this special production!
Q: About how many students auditioned for The Nutcracker this year? A: We had about 250 students audition for roles ranging from Angels to Flowers. Twenty of those who auditioned are currently students at the UMKC Conservatory and we take seven of their dancers into our production. All of these students range in age from age seven to 21.
Q: What do you look for when picking the role of Clara? A: That particular role requires an imagination and an expressive body that will help tell the story to the audience. However, Clara does perform classical steps in both acts and therefore must have a strong ballet technique. It’s tricky because she must be a good dancer but also needs to move like a little girl and not the Sugar Plum Fairy.
Q: Besides Clara, what are the most sought-after roles for students? A: Any of the girls’ roles in the Party Scene are desired because they get to curl their hair and wear frilly dresses and dance around. The boys all aspire to be The Prince and perform the solo pantomime in Act 2.
Q: Since there are multiple student casts, what are rehearsals like for the students? A: There are usually three different groups rehearsing at the same time in different studios. Some roles are divided into two groups: Cast A or B and some are divided in threes: Cast 1, 2 or 3. Oftentimes, all the students are on their feet learning the steps but later in the process there will only be one group on the floor as we work out the spacing. They switch groups all the time to provide a rest and also to keep everyone engaged in the process.
Q: What is the interaction like between the students in The Nutcracker and the company dancers during rehearsals? A: Many of our company dancers grew up in similar situations when they looked up to professional dancers who appeared in their school’s production of The Nutcracker. Now they mentor the little ones and help them to focus and learn their steps and spacing.
Q: What do you think students enjoy most about being involved in The Nutcracker? A: That’s a tough one to answer. I think they love the challenge of learning the steps at the Bolender Center but adore the excitement of dancing in costumes with the KC Symphony at the Kauffman Center.
Q: Does performing alongside professional dancers in a full-blown performance typically enhance the students’ education? A: Oh, very much so! They see the professionals preparing in the wings for their entrances and flying through the air as they perform very challenging steps and partnering moves. The students see their classroom steps really used and executed brilliantly and that challenges them to try harder in their classes as they work towards becoming professional dancers. Also, the students see true artistry at work as the company dancers add their imaginations on top of their ballet technique to create truly engaging performances.
Q: What do you hope the students get out of this incredible experience? A: We all hope that each cast member gains a true sense of personal responsibility as a member of a large team working towards the same goal. At the conclusion of every performance, there is a real sense of accomplishment.
Company dancer Charles Martin is in his sixth season with Kansas City Ballet. The past few months he has been working with the Kansas City Youth Ballet (the performing ensemble of the KCB School) on choreographing an original piece for their fall show, held the weekend of Nov. 10.
In the video below, learn about Charles’ time choreographing for the youth ballet and how his experience as a professional dancer aided him in his work.
Last Friday was our final day of KCB’s 2012 Summer Intensive. John Gardner and Amanda McKerrow were two of our guest faculty and are former dancers with American Ballet Theatre. Last week we sat down and talked with them about their passion for dance and what they’d hoped to instill in their students during their time here. Watch the video clip above to hear more!