Kansas City Ballet

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The Kansas City Ballet is a 30-member professional ballet company in Kansas City, Kansas founded in 1957. It performs at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts and rehearses in the Todd Bolender Center for Dance and Creativity. The professional company as well as the Kansas City Ballet Second Company (comprising KCB II and trainees) and the Kansas City Ballet School all operate on a day-to-day basis within this rehearsal and performance complex. The current Artistic Director is Devon Carney and Executive Director is Jeffrey J. Bentley.

Kansas City Ballet has a four performance season each year as well as an annual production of The Nutcracker. The company also reaches over 20,000 Kansas City Ballet students and adults each year through its student matinees, community education programs and fitness and dance classes, as well as approximately 600 students through their Reach Out And Dance program for elementary schools. The Kansas City Ballet School is open to students of all ages.[1]

Early history[edit]

In 1957, Tatiana Dokoudovska founded the company at the Carriage House next to the old brick Conservatory building (the old Grant Hall). On April 30, 1957, the company gave its premiere performance at the Victoria Theater (now the Lyric Theatre) with Artistic Director Tatiana Dokoudovska. The program included two ballets: Michel Fokine’s original Les Sylphides, and Ruse d’Amour, an adaptationof Fokine’s The Toys. In December 1957, the Kansas City Ballet Company became a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization with a board of directors, business manager and musical director.

In the 1958-1959 season, the company name changed to Kansas City Civic Ballet. The company moved to a small place on 45th street near the Nelson Atkins Museum in 1963. In 1966, Nathalie Krassovska was a guest artist in Anton DolinsPas de Quatre. For the company’s 10th anniversary in 1967, they performed at the Music Hall featuring three guest choreographers. In 1967, the Women's Committee forms – later to become the Ballet Guild.

In 1966, Tatiana Dokoudovska was elected to the Board of Directors of the Association of American Dance Companies. She was also a member of the Theater Arts Council and of the Committee on Dance of the Missouri State Council on the Arts.

In 1968, the company moved to Treadway Hall on the University of Missouri–Kansas City Campus. Guest Director and Choreographer Zachary Solov worked on the world premieres of three ballets in 1968. Elizabeth Hard chaired the first Ballet Ball.

The mayor of Kansas City, Ilus Winfield Davis proclaimed “Civic Ballet Week” in 1970. During the 1970-1971 season, the company name changed to Kansas City Ballet.

In 1972, the ballet hosted the first Festival of the Mid-States Regional Ballet Association, with companies from 11 states gathering to take class, audition, and share their work at the Music Hall in Concert and Gala Performances. In December 1972, Kansas City Ballet performed The Nutcracker for the first time.

The Lyric Theatre was the company's season performance home from 1975. In 1975-1976, a fall performance was added to the annual production of The Nutcracker as well as a spring production for a three show season.

In 1976, Miss Tania stepped down as artistic director of the Ballet so she can devote her time to teaching and continue her position as head of the ballet department at the Conservatory of Music on the campus of University of Missouri–Kansas City.

Eric Hyrst was the Artistic Director from 1976-1978. In 1976, Kansas City Ballet qualified as member of the National Endowment for the Arts Dance Touring Program.

In 1977, the company office moved to the Prescott Firehouse, an upstairs room with a fire pole in the corner. In April 1977 New York City Ballet dancer Patricia McBride performed her first full-length production of Giselle with Kansas City Ballet.

In 1977-1978, a season of four productions, including Fall, The Nutcracker and two Spring shows were performed at the Performing Arts Center in Kansas City, Kansas.

Ronald M. Sequoio was Artistic Director from 1978-1980. In 1979, the company moves to a warehouse under the Broadway Bridge at 3rd and Broadway in Kansas City, Missouri.


  1. ^ "Kansas City Ballet". Retrieved 2011-09-26. 

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