Student Spotlight – Gage Chapman

It’s no secret that the demand for male dancers is high, no matter the age. Often times girls must perform the roles when there are not enough boys to fill them; such as the battle scene soldiers of The Nutcracker or the boys of party scene. This year was our first production of The Nutcracker in which all of the Party scene male student roles were played entirely by our male students! This is due to dedicated boys from the Kansas City Ballet School, such as 8-year-old Gage Chapman from our Level 2 class.

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Gage started taking classes at KCBS two years ago, when he saw his older brother dancing and was inspired to give it a try. Already, Gage has had the opportunity to perform in KCB’s The Nutcracker as a soldier and in A Midsummer Night’s Dream as the human child. This was Gage’s second year in The Nutcracker and enjoyed his role in the party scene. He says that he enjoys this role because he has more time on stage, and well… “Its a party!” What more needs to be said?

Gage in 'A Midsummer Night's Dream'

Gage in ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’

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While Gage and his friends aren’t on stage or in the studio, they like to play games such as Pokemon. In particular, you might catch Gage playing soccer or baseball, doing activities for Cub Scouts, or practicing the piano. Even though all his activities keep him extremely busy, he feels that they are all interconnected. His piano lessons help his musicality in dance, while his dance classes help his coordination and flexibility in sports.

Gage is dedicated to all his activities and plans to continue pursuing them all next year. He would like to one day perform the role of the Soldier Doll played by a Company Dancer in the party scene. Until then, his commitment to dance has helped make this year’s production of The Nutcracker one of the best yet!

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Aspiring Little Ballerinas

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!

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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!

Nutcracker Ball – Meet the Co-Chairs

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Susan Bubb and Megan Bubb Cribb: Nutcracker Ball Co-Chairmen 2013

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Susan Bubb (left) & Megan Bubb Cribb (right)

Susan Bubb and Megan Bubb Cribb are honored to be representing the Kansas City Ballet Guild as Chairmen of the 46th annual Nutcracker Ball. The rich tradition of the Ballet Ball and the timeless beauty of The Nutcracker will magically transform the Bartle Hall Grand Ballroom on December 6th for this very special and momentous occasion. Longtime Ballet fans, Susan and Megan are happy to be able to set the framework for this new annual event. With a new date, theme, and location, this is sure to be an evening of enchantment to put you into the holiday spirit.  Net proceeds from the fundraiser support both the Kansas City Ballet and Kansas City Ballet School. Susan and Megan are proud to be  part of such an exciting time for the performing arts in Kansas City, with the announcement of the Ballet’s new artistic director, Devon Carney, we know you will agree that 2013 is truly a milestone of new direction. Susan and her husband Stephen have enjoyed opening their home for many local organizations, the Junior League of Johnson and WyandotteCounties, the Lyric Opera, The Barstow School, PEO, Fireside, the Ballet Guild and the CarlsonCenter at JohnsonCountyCommunity college. Megan careers as team lead of The Bubb Cribb Team of Reece and Nichols, she shares this team with her brother Eric Bubb and husband Christopher J. Cribb. She has a passion for all things real estate and Kansas City.

This Mother Daughter duo are looking forward to an enchanting evening with family and friends.

To purchase tickets to the 2013 Nutcracker Ball held on December 6th at Bartle Hall, you can visit our website or call 913-232-7609.

Getting to Know KCB II: Lark Commanday

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This year marks the inaugural season for Kansas City Ballet’s second company, KCB II. Lark Commanday is one of five dancers in this new ensemble. At just 17 years old and from Peoria, Illinois, he’s the only male dancer in this group. Read below to learn more about Lark, his hobbies and what he enjoys most about being part of KCB II.

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Q: How did you become involved in dance?
A: I come from a very artistic family and was encouraged to take a few ballet classes to try it out. My appreciation for dance grew as I aged, (still it grows as I age) and here I am.

Q: What attracted you to Kansas City Ballet?
A: I gained interest in KCB when I heard Devon Carney would be taking up the position of Artistic Director, because I had long been aware of his successful career.

Q: How has KCB II affected your dance career so far?
A: KCB II has given me an outstanding opportunity to cultivate my talents in a program which allows me to learn not only from teachers and choreographers, but from my peers in KCB II and mentors in the company.

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2013-2014 KCB II Dancers

Q: What is your favorite thing about Kansas City and Kansas City Ballet?
A: My favorite thing about Kansas City is KCB. My favorite thing about KCB is that the men in the company are always ready and glad to help a rookie out.

Q: What is one thing most people don’t know about you?
A: I know how to build a cedar-shake roof. Last year my father and I redid a section of our home’s roof which was leaking.

Q: What do you enjoy doing when you’re not dancing?
Reading, cooking, playing chess with my father, or splitting firewood.

Q: What are you most looking forward to this season?
Working and growing as a dancer alongside a world-class company that has greeted me warmly. I am also looking forward to being a part of KCB’s main-stage performances, since I have never been a part of such professional productions before.

KCB Student Apprentice: Maggie Andriani

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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.

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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.

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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!

In Pictures: 2013 Fall Show

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From everyone at Kansas City Ballet, we’d like to thank those who were able to make it to our fall production featuring Fancy Free, along with four other spectacular pieces. Also, a big congratulations to the dancers and production staff for putting on an amazing show!

As audience members, you don’t get to see what goes on behind the scenes. From dancers hurrying to get into place, costume changes, managers calling lighting cues among many other things, backstage can be a quite chaotic but also an exciting place. Here are a few glimpses behind the curtain from our fall show….

Now, for the audience view:
(Photos courtesy of Steve Wilson)

In Pictures: October First Friday

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This past Friday, the Michael and Ginger Frost Studio Theater here at Kansas City Ballet’s Bolender Center was filled with people looking to get a glimpse into the rehearsal process of our company dancers. They also were given a behind the scenes look at KCB’s fall show featuring Jerome Robbins’ Fancy Free, which opens this Friday Oct. 11 and runs through Sunday, Oct. 20!

Check out some photos below from the First Friday event. To view these dancers in full costume and onstage at the Kauffman Center performing 5 spectacular ballets, you can order tickets online at kcballet.org or call 816-931-2232.

Dancer Rachel Coats smiles as Artistic Director Devon Carney talks to audience members about the rehearsal process.

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Dancers Sarah Walborn and Michael Davis rehearse segments from Jodie Gates’ Keep Me Wishing in the Dark:

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First Fridays are a great way for audience members to get an up close and personal look at rehearsal. In the photo below, Dancer Sarah Chun rehearses for the upcoming fall show.

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Rehearsal in Progress: Allegro Brillante

After a full weekend of performances for JCCC’s New Dance Partner’s project, our company dancers are back in the studio busy rehearsing for our fall show, which opens October 11!

We have five stunning pieces on the program which feature a variety of styles. This production is sure to have something to please every audience member. This week we’re featuring one of the works on the program; George Balanchine’s Allegro Brillante. This technically challenging piece brings dramatic music and movement, and according to Balanchine himself, “contains everything I knew about the classical ballet-in thirteen minutes.”

The music for this piece is by Tchaikovsky (Piano Concerto No. 3), and you can listen to it through our brand new Spotify page!

Here a few photos from rehearsal for Allegro Brillante:

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If you are interested in learning more about this piece, you can read the program notes on our website. Also, be on the lookout later this week for a video featuring dancers Tempe Ostergren and Anthony Krutzkamp, who are leads in one of the casts of Allegro Brillante.

Our fall program runs Oct. 11-20 at the Kauffman Center. You can purchase tickets on our website or call 816-931-2232.

On Location: KCB II Photo Shoot

This past weekend, KCB II stepped outside the Bolender Center for their first on location photo shoot! Brett from Brett Pruitt & East Market Studios spent Friday evening with our dancers creating beautiful images.

Below are some behind the scenes photos taken by KCB’s Stage Manager, Victoria Frank. You’ll get a small glimpse into the process of creating stunning dance photos, along with a look at the fun personalities of our dancers. Enjoy!