With Many Choices and Varied Venues, from Roanoke Park to Subtropolis

Kansas City’s delicious little dance scene keeps at it with a strong contemporary dance output and a bit of a boost from the attention generated by Open Spaces, punching up the beginning of the season.


The season begins Labor Day weekend with the 20th Annual Dance in the Park in Roanoke Park Sept. 8, presented by City in Motion Dance Theater and showcasing local dance groups all day long. Multiple groups will also perform in the Carlsen Center Presents’ New Dance Partners, appearing for the fifth year in Johnson County Community College’s Yardley Hall. The Sept. 21 and 22 performances will include four new works by Kansas City’s four leading dance troupes: Kansas City Ballet, Wylliams/Henry Contemporary Dance Company, Owen/Cox Dance Group and Störling Dance Theater.

Lawrence, Kansas-based Maura Garcia Dance performs in the Village for Open Spaces in Swope Park Sept. 15 and 16. Then, Carlsen Center Presents brings MOMIX’s nature-inspired “Opus Cactus” to JCCC Sept. 29.

Oct. 12 – 21 brings the Kansas City Ballet’s world premiere of Septime Webre’s completely original “The Wizard of Oz” in Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. Owen/Cox Dance Group joins forces with soprano Victoria Botero and Ensemble for “Morena,” exploring the ancient role of the female voice Oct. 20 and 21. For Open Spaces, Matty Davis and Ben Gould perform the site-specific Carriage in the SubTropolis underground business complex Oct. 21. Wylliams/Henry Contemporary Dance Group performs in UMKC’s White Recital Hall Oct. 5 and 6;
10 Hairy Legs, an all-male contemporary dance group, comes to JCCC’s Polsky Theater Oct. 14; and Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company appears at the Lied Center in Lawrence Oct. 29.


Harriman-Jewell Series presents Ballet Folklórico de México Nov. 3 in Helzberg Hall. KC Ballet runs Devon Carney’s “The Nutcracker” Nov. 30 – Dec. 24.

The Russian National Ballet tours the area, with a performance of “Swan Lake” presented by Harriman-Jewell Series in the Kauffman Theatre Jan. 24 and “The Sleeping Beauty” at the Lied Center Jan. 27. Störling Dance Theater performs its Underground at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts Jan. 31 and Feb. 1.

At Musical Theater Heritage, Owen/Cox Dance Group performs “What Keeps Mankind Alive,” to arrangements of Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht works by Brad Cox Feb. 1 – 3. KC Ballet presents Val Caniparoli’s tragic story in “The Lady of the Camellias” Feb. 15 – 24 at the Kauffman Center.


Open Stage at The J presents its third annual choreography festival March 3. KC Ballet features emerging choreographers in “New Moves,” March 28 – 31 at the Bolender Center. VidaDance Company, of Leawood, hosts National Dance Week Kansas City April 8. Kansas City native David Parsons brings his New York City-based company Parsons Dance to the Lied Center April 26.

From May 10 to 19, KC Ballet hosts a triple bill of influential American choreographers with “Tharp/Parsons/Forsythe,” which includes a world premiere by Parsons, in the Kauffman Center. Wylliams/Henry presents its spring show May 31 and June 1 in UMKC’s White Recital Hall. Owen/Cox Dance Group closes its season performing to Shostakovich String Quartet No. 8 June 8 and 9 in White Recital Hall.

There are a few other groups on the scene that don’t have dates available for the season but are worth keeping an eye on. Heartlines, a KC-based sister-choreographer duo, produces good work, Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey brings Alvin Ailey’s legacy to Kansas City annually, and Quixotic, which tours across the country, typically puts on a local show a couple times a year.

Libby Hanssen

Originally from Indiana, Libby Hanssen covers the performing arts in Kansas City. She is the author of States of Swing: The History of the Kansas City Jazz Orchestra, 2003-2023. Along with degrees in trombone performance, Libby was a Fellow for the NEA Arts Journalism Institute at Columbia University. She maintains the culture bog "Proust Eats a Sandwich."

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