Kansas City Ballet

Arts & Culture
10:53 am
Thu June 19, 2014

Todd Bolender To Be Honored At 2nd Annual Kansas City Dance Festival

Kansas City Dance Festival co-artistic director Logan Pachciarz and dancer Molly Wagner rehearse a pas de deux from 'The Still Point.’
Julie Denesha KCUR

This weekend, the second annual Kansas City Dance Festival gets under way, assembling dancers and choreographers from the local, national and international stage.

A recent rehearsal found dancers Logan Pachciarz and Molly Wagner working on a pas de deux under the watchful eye of departing Kansas City Ballet ballet master James Jordan, as they honed both steps and expression during a walk through of the late Todd Bolender’s "The Still Point."

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Dance
1:11 pm
Thu April 10, 2014

After 30-Year Career With The Kansas City Ballet, James Jordan Moves On

James Jordan (at left), as Van Helsing, in Michael Pink's 'Dracula.'
Julie Denesha KCUR

After nearly three decades with the Kansas City Ballet, Ballet Master James Jordan has accepted the same post with The Sarasota Ballet as of the 2014-2015 season.

Devon Carney, the Ballet's artistic director, said in a news release that Jordan's national reputation as a stager of Anthony Tudor ballets led to the Florida connection.

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Performance
3:18 pm
Fri March 28, 2014

Exploring Silence In Dance At KCB Choreographer Showcase

Kansas City Ballet dancers Nadia Iozzo and Josh Spell rehearse ‚ÄėBounded Regions,' part of a showcase of emerging choreographers. The work opened without music to the gentle soundscape of ballet movement.
Julie Denesha KCUR

A blowing March wind on Thursday roared outside the windows of a rehearsal and performance space in the Bolender Center for Dance & Creativity. Ilya Kozadayev, a former soloist with Houston Ballet, watched intently from the audience as a group of six dancers from the Kansas City Ballet moved without music. For long stretches of time, only the sound of occasional claps and feet upon the floor could be heard as they went through the motions of a final tech rehearsal.

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Dance
12:54 pm
Fri February 21, 2014

'Dracula' Choreographer On The Beauty And Danger Of The Count

Logan Pachciarz, as Bram Stoker's Count Dracula, glides through his Transylvanian castle.
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.

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Dance
5:00 am
Wed February 19, 2014

Kansas City Ballet's 'Dracula' Visits The Dark Side

Choreographer Michael Pink (center) observes Geoffrey Kropp (as Arthur) and Laura Hunt (as Lucy) as they glide by working on a scene from 'Dracula' at the Todd Bolender Center for Dance and Creativity.
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. 

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Dance
6:23 am
Fri December 20, 2013

An 'Explosive' Dancer Performs As The Nutcracker

Winston Dynamite Brown, a native of Kansas City, Mo., returns to the Owen/Cox Dance Group to perform the role of the Nutcracker.
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

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Dance
5:06 am
Fri December 20, 2013

[VIDEO] KCB II Takes Dance To The Community

Meagan Swisher (from left) and Morgan Sicklick dance onstage during a public performance at Union Station.
Credit Julie Denesha / KCUR

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

Creating a role for dance in the community

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Performance
7:23 am
Mon December 9, 2013

Kansas City Ballet's New Director On 'The Nutcracker'

Dancer Angelina Sansone in this year's production of the Kansas City Ballet's Nutcracker.
Credit Photographer Steve Wilson for the Kansas City Ballet / Flickr -- Creative Commons

Each year in December, like many other companies, the Kansas City Ballet puts on a production of The Nutcracker.

But this year the Kansas City Ballet has a new leader at the artistic helm, Devon Carney.

Carney joins us to speak about this holiday classic and how he keeps it fresh for himself and the audience.

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Performance
5:00 am
Wed October 16, 2013

[VIDEO] Ramona Pansegrau, A Life At The Piano, Shaped By Dance

Ramona Pansegrau rehearses with Ryan Jolicoeur-Nye and Rachel Coats
Credit 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

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Performance
10:30 am
Thu October 3, 2013

[VIDEO] Devon Carney Puts His Stamp On Kansas City Ballet

Kansas City Ballet's new artistic director Devon Carney directs a rehearsal of Opus 1.
Credit 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

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Up to Date
9:48 am
Fri September 27, 2013

Triple Threat: Dance Companies Join For Performance

Megan Horton, Shane Tice, Latra Wilson dance as part of the Owen/Cox Dance Group.
Credit Charles Stonewall/owencoxdance.org

It's the ultimate collaboration for three dancing companies in Kansas City. The Kansas City Ballet will join forces with Owen/CoxDance Group and Wylliams/Henry Contemporary Dance to present a triumvirate of original work .

On Friday's Up to Date, we talk about why this collaboration is so groundbreaking and what it means for dance culture in the city.

Guests:

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Dance
10:31 am
Sun September 8, 2013

Roanoke Park Hosts A Diverse Celebration Of Dance

Samarpita Bajpai performs 'Shiva's Dance,' a classical Indian dance from Andhra Pradesh, India.
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.

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Performance
11:22 am
Sat September 7, 2013

Kansas City Ballet And Lyric Opera Open Doors To First Friday Crowds

Opening the fall performances to the First Friday crowd, Laura (Wolfe) Hunt and Kansas City Ballet company dancers perform during an open rehearsal the Todd Bolender Center for Dance and Creativity.
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. 

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Dance
10:31 am
Thu August 22, 2013

Kansas City Ballet Launches Second Company

KCB II dancers (from left to right): Rochelle Chang, Lark Commanday, Katya Duncan, Morgan Sicklick, and Meagan Swisher.
Credit Courtesy of the Kansas City Ballet

The Kansas City Ballet is joining other dance companies around the country ‚Äď from Boston Ballet to the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater ‚Äď to create a training ground for young dancers: a second company.¬†

Devon Carney, newly appointed artistic director of the Kansas City Ballet, described the second company, Kansas City Ballet II (KCB II), as a "natural next stage of development," based on the Ballet’s growth in recent years.

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KC Currents
11:09 am
Mon July 29, 2013

Kansas City Creative Couples: Coats & Pachciarz

Rachel Coats and Logan Pachciarz in a practice room at the Todd Bolender Center for Dance & Creativity.
Credit 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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Performance
5:00 am
Fri June 28, 2013

[VIDEO] Off-Season: Dancers Challenge Audiences And Themselves With New Summer Festival

Rachel Coats, a dancer performing in 'Angeli,' a work that will be presented at the Kansas City Dance Festival.
Credit Julie Denesha / KCUR

For most dancers, the off-season is a time of rest and recuperation from the rigors of performance. But six months ago, Kansas City Ballet dancers Anthony Krutzkamp and Logan Pachciarz began to plan a more ambitious summer break.

Art is not always easy

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Dance
8:00 pm
Thu May 23, 2013

A New Artistic Director For The Kansas City Ballet

'Giselle' (choreography by Devon Carney), 2011, featuring Janessa Touchet.
Peter Mueller

After an extensive search process, the Kansas City Ballet has a new artistic director. Dancer, choreographer and teacher Devon Carney begins his new post in July. Carney succeeds outgoing artistic director William Whitener.

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Performance
8:00 pm
Thu May 23, 2013

Five Questions For Devon Carney

The Kansas City Ballet's new artistic director: Devon Carney
Peter Mueller

The Kansas City Ballet has named Devon Carney as the company's new artistic director. For the last decade, Carney has worked with Cincinnati Ballet; since 2008, he's served as associate artistic director.

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Performance
5:34 pm
Fri May 10, 2013

[VIDEO] Five Questions For Kansas City Ballet’s William Whitener

Kansas City Ballet Artistic Director William Whitener
Julie Denesha KCUR

This marks Artistic Director William Whitener's final season with the Kansas City Ballet. After 17 years with the company, he's preparing to return to New York. Whitener answered a few questions before the final performances.

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Up To Date
9:35 pm
Thu May 9, 2013

William Whitener: Taking A Final KC Bow

Artistic Director William Whitener takes a final turn on the Kauffman stage during rehearsals.
Julie Denesha KCUR

William Whitener became Artistic Director of the Kansas City Ballet in 1996.  After having staged, taught, acquired, commissioned or created 85 works for the organization and seeing it move into its new rehearsal and performance spaces, Whitener now prepares to leave the Ballet and embark on yet another chapter in his remarkable career.

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Dance
10:02 am
Fri May 3, 2013

Rock, Jazz, And William Shatner Conclude Kansas City Ballet's Season

Sarah Walborn, Arielle Espie, and Jill Marlow hold a pose.
Julie Denesha KCUR

The Kansas City Ballet tops off its 55th season with a playful mix of dance.

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Dance
5:00 am
Fri May 3, 2013

Unexpected Combinations In Karole Armitage's 'Energy Made Visible'

At the dress rehearsal for 'Energy Made Visible,' Anthony Krutzkamp and Rachel Coats create layers of dance.
Julie Denesha KCUR

Choreographer Karole Armitage, a native of Lawrence, Kan. says artist Jackson Pollock can be viewed as "a metaphor for the creative process"; his lines of dripped and poured paint are like a dance. Kansas City Ballet concludes its season with a world premiere by Armitage, exploring the intersection between art, jazz, and dance.

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Music Stories
5:00 am
Fri March 22, 2013

Heartland Men's Chorus Explores Love, Before And After the Holocaust

Kip Niven, plays Holocaust survivor Gad Beck in Jake Heggie’s 'For a Look or a Touch.' The Heartland Men's Chorus stands in the background.
Laura Spencer KCUR

In the 1920's and into the early 1930's, there was a thriving gay culture in Europe, especially in Berlin. But, with the rise of Hitler and the Nazi party, that all changed.

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Up to Date
11:45 am
Thu March 14, 2013

The Weekend To-Do List: March 14-17, 2013

Basketball

Looking for some fun (and the luck of the Irish) the weekend of March 14-17, 2013? Brian McTavish returns with the Weekend To-Do List.

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Performance
5:00 am
Thu March 14, 2013

[VIDEO] Developing Character Through Dance

Dancers Tempe Ostergren and Anthony Krutzkamp play the King and Queen of the Fairies in 'A Midsummer Night's Dream.'
Julie Denesha KCUR

The Kansas City Ballet’s "A Midsummer Night's Dream" is a Shakespeare comedy performed in dance. The process of developing a character through movement and pantomime is one that often takes a close collaboration between dancer and choreographer.

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Performance
5:00 am
Fri January 18, 2013

As In 'Billy Elliot,' Barriers To Boys In Ballet Disappear With Grace

Nathan Rogers, 7, laughs as he holds a pose.
Julie Denesha KCUR

The musical Billy Elliot, which won ten Tony Awards in 2009 and comes to Kansas City's Music Hall next week, teaches that to move toward a dream, the dream must involve movement.

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Performance
5:00 am
Fri November 30, 2012

[VIDEO] Behind the Scenes: The Kansas City Ballet Costume Shop Prepares For 'The Nutcracker'

Dressed in an elaborately beaded gown, Sarah Chun poses in the costume shop.
Credit Julie Denesha / KCUR

In a basement room of the¬†‚ÄčBolender Center, Costume Shop Supervisor Jennifer Carroll and her assistant Joey Gee spend busy days fitting and repairing the costumes as the Kansas City Ballet prepares for its annual production of The Nutcracker.

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Performance
5:00 am
Fri October 19, 2012

[VIDEO] The Pounding Rhythms Of 'Carmina Burana' Open The Kansas City Ballet Season

Carl Orff's ‚ÄúCarmina Burana‚ÄĚ is based on Medieval poems about love, drinking, and spirituality ‚Äď some bawdy and irreverent.

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Dance
10:00 pm
Fri July 6, 2012

Kansas City Ballet's Artistic Director Changes Steps In 2013

Kansas City Ballet Artistic Director William Whitener
courtesy of the Kansas City Ballet

The Kansas City Ballet announced late Friday that longtime artistic director William Whitener will step down at the end of the 2012-2013 season. 

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Performance
11:30 am
Fri February 17, 2012

Kansas City Ballet Announces Retirement Of Veteran Dancer

Described as the "epitome of balletic grace," Kimberly Cowen is the one remaining Kansas City Ballet dancer hired by the late Todd Bolender, former artistic director. But, it's the end of an era.

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