Opening New Doors: Kansas City Ballet kicks off ‘At the Bolender Center’ Series

Dance

Since opening the doors of their home, the Todd Bolender Center for Dance & Creativity in August 2011, Kansas City Ballet has been, well, creative in their approach to appealing to Kansas Citians with an interest in dance.

In addition to the performing stage at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts the Todd Bolender Center for Dance & Creativity, the permanent home of Kansas City Ballet, provides the community with a stunning, award-winning space for dance experiences. Each season the series begins with a Free Community Event called KC Dance Day. This year’s event will take place on Saturday, Aug. 24 beginning at 9:30 a.m. and running through 6:30 p.m.

Attendees will have a wealth of dance opportunities available to them, all at no cost. From free ballet dance classes for kids and adults dance classes from ballet to Zumba® to world dances from India, Ireland, China and more. In addition to classes, attendees can enjoy kid-friendly performances from Starlight Stars of Tomorrow, Ailey Camp and Kansas City Youth Ballet—the performing ensemble for Kansas City Ballet School in the morning, multi-cultural dance presentations in the early afternoon, and wrap up the day with KC’s Best Dance Showcase featuring companies like Seamless, City in Motion, and the Kansas City Ballet.

In addition to KC Dance Day, the “At the Bolender Center” Series opens its doors to other community events throughout the season. From Free First Friday events to Kansas City Youth Ballet performances and even a choreographic workshop for KCB dancers called Dancers Making Dances, there are so many opportunities for people to engage with the city’s dance company. Director of Community Programs Linda Martin says, “Often when people get to see the company rehearsing, they will buy tickets and become audience members right afterward. It’s been a great tool for building audiences.”

Ballet Marketing Director Mike Alley says he enjoys helping to promote the Bolender Center as the destination for dance. “We are working hard and are one of the top five dance facilities, right up there with the Houston Ballet and the Alvin Ailey studios in New York. While we have gained inroads with the local professionals and the amateurs, our ‘At the Bolender Center’ Series reminds the rest of the dance community that we are a destination for dance.” Executive Director Jeff Bentley wants to see the facility, anchored by the ballet and become the destination for dance in the metropolitan area.

The former power station for Union Station regained a second life as Kansas City Ballet’s rehearsal space, ballet school and administrative offices, but it is not limited to only KCB dancers using the facilities.

Director of Production Amy Taylor has a hand in the coordination of the center and helps organizations and groups seeking to use the center. “If a chorale group needs certain lights, I help. The idea is to meet specific needs and create the looks that are wanted. Sure, in the past two years, we have felt our way along, but we knew we wanted to open this building up for groups that may not have a permanent space for performances and rehearsals. We have had weekend yogathons and development departments of non-profits hold cocktail events here.”

Whether it is an outside dance, arts or non-profit organization that seeks to share the space or an event created by the ballet staff, Taylor says each event gives her a burst of creativity. “Looking to the future, I can’t wait to see what more we will bring in while continuing to do what we do best.” Organizations interested in renting the space should contact Rene Horne for more information at 816-931-2232 x1346 or rhorne@kcballet.org.

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