Julie Denesha

Reporter, Photographer

Julie Denesha is a freelance documentary photographer based in the Kansas City area.

Julie graduated from The University of Kansas in 1993, with degrees in Journalism and Russian Language and Literature. After college, she worked as a staff photographer for The Kansas City Star. In 1995, she moved to Europe and from 1996 to 2004, Julie was based in Prague, Czech Republic, where she covered Central and Eastern Europe for newspapers and magazines. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Guardian, Time, Newsweek, The Economist and The Christian Science Monitor.

After moving back to the United States, Julie spent three years working as a photo editor for The Washington Times.

In 2007, Julie was awarded both a Fulbright and a Milena Jesenská Fellowship to continue her ongoing project on the Roma in Slovakia. Her project on the Roma was featured in an exhibit of the Roma at the U.S. Embassy in Bratislava, Slovakia, The World Bank in Brussels, Belgium, The Half King Gallery in New York, and The Institute For Human Sciences in Vienna, Austria.

View more of Julie's work on her website.

Julie Denesha / KCUR

Touring for any professional musician can be challenging. But for concert pianists, it’s also about adapting to a new instrument at every stop.

American pianist Garrick Ohlsson is a frequent soloist in Kansas City. The Friends of Chamber Music presented Ohlsson in concert in January.

Julie Denesha / KCUR

It's been nearly 120 years since the publication of Bram Stoker's gothic novel Dracula. But his tale of the Count, who stalks living creatures and survives on their blood, continues to this day to be interpreted and popularized in theater, television, film, and dance. This season, the Kansas City Ballet is staging choreographer Michael Pink's Dracula, based on Stoker's classic work.

Julie Denesha / KCUR

At 72, Graham Nash remains part of rock royalty, a musician who came to the U.S. as part of the British invasion with his band The Hollies and plays on today with his super-group Crosby, Stills & Nash.

Julie Denesha / KCUR

Many ballets often depend on the concept of tension, whether in the muscles of the dancers or the story itself. That may be even more evident in the Kansas City Ballet's production of Dracula, opening this Friday.

In bringing the iconic character to the stage, the company is venturing to its dark side with a production that is the first in the Ballet's history to come with parental discretion advised. 

Julie Denesha / KCUR

Set in 1918, in the British trenches of Saint-Quentin, Aisne, R.C. Sherriff's Journey’s End tells the story of commanding officers Captain Stanhope and Lieutenant Osborne, as they discuss the impending battle in the officers' dugout.

The production, directed by Mark Robbins, is a collaboration between Kansas City Actors Theatre, UMKC Theatre, and the National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial.

Julie Denesha / KCUR

For the past 20 years, the nonprofit Folk Alliance International has promoted and celebrated folk music. The organization relocated last year from Memphis, Tenn., to Kansas City, Mo. And, later this month, nearly 250 artists, from Sam Baker to Chuck Mead & His Grassy Knoll Boys, are scheduled to perform in about a dozen venues in Kansas City during the group's annual conference.

Julie Denesha / KCUR

The one-woman play, Grounded, by George Brant, explores the destructive power of modern warfare through the eyes of a female combat pilot. After an unexpected pregnancy, she's reassigned to a windowless trailer in the Nevada desert as the desk pilot of a military drone.

The Unicorn Theatre's production marks the third in a series of "rolling world premieres" presented by members of the National New Play Network, dedicated to the development of new work.

Julie Denesha / KCUR

This weekend, Kansas City Symphony concertmaster Noah Geller performs his first solo performance in the Symphony's classical series with a beloved work by Beethoven, his Violin Concerto.

Julie Denesha / KCUR

A winter storm was brewing on Friday afternoon, and expected to bring snow and ice to the Kansas City metro area. At Gass Camera Repair, the electronic door chime rang periodically - not with the arrival of customers, but as box after box was loaded onto a trailer waiting just outside.

Since 1979, in this small shop in Mission, Kan., Clarence Gass repaired cameras of all shapes and sizes. Friday was his final day of business.

A 'natural curiosity' about cameras

Julie Denesha / KCUR

This year, the Owen/Cox Dance Group is bringing its annual jazzy adaptation of The Nutcracker and the Mouse King to the Polsky Theatre at Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, Kan.

Returning to perform in the production is a powerful dancer with an explosive name: Winston Dynamite Brown. A frequent guest artist with the group, Brown says he relishes his role as the Nutcracker.

Growing into an explosive name

Julie Denesha / KCUR

This year, the Kansas City Ballet launched a second company called KCB II. It’s a selective program – there are only five dancers in the ensemble – and they're charged with taking dance out into the community.

Creating a role for dance in the community

Julie Denesha / KCUR

Crown Room Chocolate Crinkles

From Marg Wagner, wife of Hallmark artist John Wagner

My husband John worked at Hallmark for 40+ years and these were one of my favorite cookies at Hallmark’s cafeteria, the Crown Room. When I asked for the recipe, it came in volumes of 20 or 25 dozen. Efforts to reduce the quantity and a few adjustments produced these cookies and we've been enjoying them ever since.

Julie Denesha / KCUR

Since the mid-1960's, Hallmark Cards Inc. employees, past and present, and their spouses, have gathered each year - not for an exchange of greeting cards, but of cookies.

Hallmark, the 103-year-old Kansas City-based company, has about 11,000 employees around the world, including just over 3,000 in the metro area.

Donna Moore, a former employee, began working for Hallmark in 1962. She recalls how the event became an annual tradition, mostly for women.

Julie Denesha / KCUR

At the Kansas City Art Institute, a sale and exhibition of student artwork at the end of each semester is a nearly 45-year tradition for the ceramics department; some of the other departments, such as painting, printmaking, and sculpture, have also opened their doors for the past 20 years. This weekend, the fiber department showcases student work in a new location called the Warehouse. 

Art in a gallery context

Julie Denesha / KCUR

It’s late morning and a dim light filters in through the stained glass windows at the chapel at Park University. Lithuanian-Israeli violinist Ben Sayevich, and his wife Lolita Lisovskaya-Sayevich rehearse with a handful of students onstage at Park University’s Graham Tyler Memorial Chapel. They’re practicing a rarely-performed Concerto in D for Violin, Piano and String Quartet, Op. 21, by French composer Ernest Chausson.

This season, the Kansas City Repertory Theatre has added a second show to their holiday schedule. The Santaland Diaries is a dark comedy written by David Sedaris and adapted for the stage by Joe Mantello. The one-man show is a prickly retelling of Sedaris’ stint as a Macy’s elf during the Christmas season.

Julie Denesha / KCUR

A few leaves clung to the trees on a damp autumn morning as four Baroque-trained musicians huddled around a harpsichord. The Bach Aria Soloists were busy preparing for this Saturday's performance of 'Marriage of True Minds,' a collaboration with Heart of America Shakespeare Festival and the Kansas City Public Library. 

Julie Denesha / KCUR

The Magic Flute, by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, first premiered in Vienna in 1791. A comic tale of love buffeted by the forces of good and evil, the opera is a singspiel, including both spoken dialogue and song.

For the Lyric Opera of Kansas City's production, artist and ceramicist Jun Kaneko, based in Omaha, Neb., designed the fanciful set design and costumes.

Julie Denesha / KCUR

In this scene, singer Eboni Fondren performs 'I've Got a Feeling I'm Falling' in Spinning Tree Theatre's production of Ain't Misbehavin' at Just Off Broadway Theatre.

"Ain't Misbehavin is a celebration of the music Fats Waller wrote, performed, and made famous during the 1930s Harlem Renaissance," says co-director Andy Parkhurst.

Julie Denesha / KCUR

Ramona Pansegrau is a musician whose life has been shaped by dance. This marks Pansegrau's seventh season as both the music director and the conductor for the Kansas City Ballet. And, after three decades of working with dancers, she says creating wonderful moments on stage still gives her a thrill.

Preparations are crucial

Julie Denesha / KCUR

The fall air was crisp on Saturday morning as Steve Conard lifted his 1940s era Western Flyer from the back of his car.

"Today the weather is absolutely perfect for this kind of a ride," said Conard, dressed in a large, vintage tweed jacket and plaid pants. He said he had been looking forward to joining the Kansas City Tweed Ride since the day he found the rusty bike frame for five dollars at a bike swap this summer. It had taken him six weeks to rebuild the bike from salvaged parts.

Julie Denesha / KCUR

For the past two years the aerialists, jugglers, and musicians from Moondrop Circus have attracted audiences with their antics. Most months, the group gathers in the Crossroads Arts District amid the carnival atmosphere surrounding First Fridays, at 19th and Baltimore.

Interview Highlights: MoonDrop Circus

On dreamers who dream big 

Julie Denesha / KCUR

The Kansas City Ballet's new artistic director, Devon Carney, begins his tenure with a world premiere. His work, Opus I, will open the ballet's season this month, and it provides a hint of the vision he has for the company.

Interview Highlights: Devon Carney

On his new work Opus 1

Julie Denesha / KCUR

The National Endowment for the Arts started the initiative called The Big Read as a way to encourage reading. This year, for its Big Read selection, the Kansas City Public Library chose the novel True Grit.

It’s the story of a teenager in the late 1800s who seeks to avenge her father’s murder. The library is hosting a series of public events, including a performance of songs inspired by the era of the novel.

Writing songs from Mattie's perspective

Julie Denesha / KCUR

The story of the rivalry between the Capulets and the Montagues is familiar to fans of Shakespeare. But a variation on the theme of the secret, doomed love between Romeo and Giulietta is explored in the Lyric Opera of Kansas City's production of The Capulets and the Montagues (I Capuleti e i Montecchi).

Vincenzo Bellini's opera premiered in 1830 and looked to early Renaissance sources for inspiration. Unlike Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, Bellini's work  focuses as much on the conflict between the families as it focuses on the bond between the lovers.

Julie Denesha / KCUR

In this scene from the Alcott Arts Center's production of Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice, Bassanio (Aaron Gotzon), with borrowed money, plans to woo the wealthy Portia. Gratiano (Khalid Johnson) implores Bassanio to allow him to come along.

Julie Denesha / KCUR

Lyric Opera of Kansas City's production of The Capulets and the Montagues (I Capuleti e i Montecchi) premieres later this month. It's the story of Romeo and Juliet, told by Italian composer Vincenzo Bellini.

Julie Denesha / KCUR

A festive crowd gathered Saturday evening at Roanoke Park with blankets and lawn chairs for the 15th Annual "Dance in the Park" presented by City in Motion Dance Theater. Local companies presented a diverse range of dance ranging from modern to classical ballet, and East Indian to Afro-Brazilian capoeira.

Julie Denesha / KCUR

To celebrate the opening of the 2013-2014 season, Lyric Opera of Kansas City and Kansas City Ballet threw open their doors to scores of First Friday crowds. 

Julie Denesha / KCUR

The work of iconic Mexican artists Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera is on display this summer at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. They’re part of an exhibit called Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera and Masterpieces of Modern Mexico.

Kahlo and Rivera are known not only for their paintings, but for their tempestuous marriage, which sometimes influenced their art.

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