Q: Why did you decide to work at Kansas City Ballet?
A: While I was a graduate student at UMKC, I was offered the chance to come and assist the lighting designer. Joe Appelt, who was head of the program at UMKC, and also a former lighting designer for KCB, knew that my primary interest was in dance. I felt I would be a good fit.
Q: Do you have a previous background in dance or theatre? If so, tell me a little bit about that.
A: Dance has been part of my life for as long as I can remember. Being something of a show off, my parents enrolled me in ballet and tap classes early; I was four. I continued dancing all the way through college.
Q: Did you always know you wanted to have a role in theatre production?
A: No, my practical side told me to head into business, accounting to be specific; theatre was just a fun sideline. There came a point where I had to make a choice and I decided that I really belonged in the theatre world. As part of my classes I had to take a lighting class and I loved it. My instructors encouraged me to pursue the field further, and I was accepted to the graduate program at UMKC.
Q: What is your main role as Production Manager?
A: My primary role is to oversee the technical aspects for each performance.
Q: What is the most challenging Ballet you have worked on and why?
A: This is a definite tie. One is when “The Nutcracker” was redesigned. There were some challenges with the design that took a lot of time and patience to solve and meet with Todd Bolender’s approval.
The second is “Tom Sawyer.” So much time and thought had been put into all aspects of this production that by the time we reached technical rehearsals in the beautiful new Kauffman Center, there were a couple days that I really just wanted to hide. During technical rehearsals, it is stressful to balance the desires of the entire team while tackling the unavoidable changes that happen once the production hits the stage for the first time. It was tremendously satisfying to know that Bill Whitener and all the designers were pleased and proud of what had been accomplished when the curtain went up opening night.
Q: What has been one of your most memorable moments at the Ballet over the past 20 years?
A: We were invited to perform at Ballet Across America in June of 2008. I had the opportunity to light Todd Bolender’s “The Still Point.” It was thrilling to be part of the festival, and it was a highlight of my design career.
Q: Working for a company for 20 years is quite an accomplishment. What has been your motivation behind your decision to stay with Kansas City Ballet for this long?
A: Ultimately, I love this art form. Being able to contribute my technical skills to bring what the artistic staff and dancers create in the studio to the stage is what keeps me motivated.