UMKC Conservatory Dance in Spencer Theatre and Other Spring Events

Winter break can be lonely on a university campus, so we are looking forward to the return of our students and the wonderful performances to come! Dance, theatre, orchestra, opera, wind bands, jazz . . . there really is something for everyone at UMKC Conservatory performances.

UMKC Conservatory Dance has had a busy year of guest artists, master classes, world premieres and worldwide performances. In the fall, we welcomed choreographer Christopher Huggins to campus for a residency, and his work The List, a moving piece that tells the story of a family forced from their home in Nazi Germany, was featured on our Fall Dance Concert. We also had dance master classes from members of the Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, choreographer Christian Denice, Danielle Fu and April Berry, company dancers with the Kansas City Ballet, former Broadway dancer Christine Colby Jacques, and hip-hop dancer EJ Staxx. Choreographer Ray Mercer was in residency in December, creating a new piece for the Spring Dance concert, April 30 – May 2.

Coming this spring, dance welcomes Shani Collins Achille, associate professor of dance at Connecticut College, whose company, Eternal Works Inc, is dedicated to fostering women’s healing empowerment and facilitating community and cross-cultural dialogue.

We also are thrilled to have Ramona Pansegrau, music director for the Kansas City Ballet, on campus to work with our dance students, Spring semester. Pansegrau has been called one of the best ballet pianists in the world, and Robert Joffrey said of her ballet class, “The perfect music for every combination.”

UMKC Dance students are touring to the Kansas Dance Festival in Wichita and attending the American College Dance Association Festival during UMKC’s March spring break. Faculty member David Justin has taken the reins on A Midsummer Night’s Dream, a project began by retired faculty member Paula Weber. This new work appears on the Spring Dance concert and will be performed at North Alabama University with the Shoals Symphony Orchestra.

Joining the UMKC Conservatory dance faculty this year, Michael Blake has been truly immersed in his work with our students. Paula Weber, chair of dance, says that “his giving spirit is 100% and he fits in beautifully with the dance and Conservatory faculty and students.” He will have a work performed at the American College Dance Association Festival this spring.

There are four events remaining on our 2019–20 Conservatory Artist Series. Tickets are available online at umkc.edu/cto or by visiting the box office in the lobby of the James C. Olson Performing Arts Center.

March 19 – 22, UMKC Opera Theatre presents Benjamin Britten’s Albert Herring in White Recital Hall. This comedic chamber opera is set during a May Queen festival in the English countryside, where none of the village girls are virtuous enough for the title of May Queen, so it is awarded to the seemingly innocent Albert Herring.

April 14, our Conservatory Jazz Bands return to the historic Folly Theater for UMKC Jazz Night. This hot collage concert features a variety of ensembles that represent the entirety of jazz studies at the Conservatory. This is always a must-see, great night of jazz with our talented students and faculty!

April 30 – May 2, the dance faculty combine their creative choreography with our talented dance students for our Spring Dance. We are thrilled that this innovative performance will be held in Spencer Theatre in the James C. Olson Performing Arts Center.

May 4 is our annual UMKC Conservatory Finale concert in Helzberg Hall at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. This program, which features the Conservatory Orchestra and Choirs, will include Leonard Bernstein’s gorgeous Chichester Psalms and Ravel’s choreographic symphony Daphnis et Chloé.

Don’t miss these other exciting Conservatory events:

January 2020
Works for Piano and Electronics, Jan. 27, 2020, 7:30 p.m., White Recital Hall

Joseph Genualdi, violin, and Thomas Rosenkranz, piano, Jan. 30, 2020, 7:30 p.m., White Recital Hall

February 2020
Music of Leoš Janáček, presented by the Keyboard Division and the UMKC Graduate Fellowship String Quartet, Feb. 3, 2020,
7:30 p.m., White Recital Hall

Conservatory Orchestra, directed by Kevin Noe, Feb. 11, 2020, 7:30 p.m., White Recital Hall

Conservatory Wind Symphony, directed by Steven D. Davis, Feb. 13, 2020, 7:30 p.m., White Recital Hall

Conservatory Wind Ensemble, directed by Joseph Parisi, Feb. 14, 2020, 7:30 p.m., White Recital Hall

A Celebration of Peace, Conservatory Choirs and guests, Feb. 22, 2020, 7:30 p.m., Community of Christ Temple, Independence, Missouri

A Tribute to Bobby Watson, presented by the UMKC Jazz Friends, Feb. 28, 2020, 7 p.m., Grand Street Café, Kansas City, Missouri
For more information: www.umkcalumni.com/Bobby

–Jessica Wiggins

About The Author: Contributing Writer

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