Kansas City Ballet in the National Spotlight

Company to Perform Reimagined “Nutcracker” at the Kennedy Center

A fantastic and magical engagement from curtain up to curtain down, the Kansas City Ballet’s reimagined production of “The Nutcracker” is in the national spotlight this holiday season.

Each year the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., selects an elite dance company to perform “The Nutcracker” in the nation’s capital the week of Thanksgiving. This year, the invitation was extended to the Kansas City Ballet.

“It’s amazing,” said Kansas City Ballet Artistic Director Devon Carney. “Going to the Kennedy Center is always such an exciting experience. I’m thrilled Kansas City gets the chance to go.”

Carney, who is responsible for reimagining “The Nutcracker,” said it’s a good feeling to have all the hard work the company has put into the new production be recognized on a national stage.

Taking this production on the road is no small feat. Carney compares it to moving a small town. All of the sets, the costumes and the key people who make ballet magic happen have to be transported out to D.C.

It also requires an adjustment in production schedules — fittings, casting and rehearsals all happen earlier.

While about 90 percent of the cast comes from Kansas City, Carney and his team flew to D.C. in September to audition and select dozens of D.C. area children who will portray bunnies, lambs, dolls, soldiers and angels. Even more children were chosen to lend their voices to the glistening Snow Scene. All of them are rehearsed by a coach on staff at the Kennedy Center up until final rehearsals when the Kansas City Ballet company arrives in D.C.

“There’s a large logistical piece,” Carney said, “but we are very much ready to do this.”

Carney said this is the type of experience members of the dance company won’t forget.

Dancer Danielle Bausinger agreed, saying dancing at the Kennedy Center is on her bucket list.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a lot of people,” Bausinger said.

Once all the moving pieces come together the week of Thanksgiving, D.C. audiences will get to experience what Kansas City fans have been raving about.

Carney’s reimagined “Nutcracker” lets audiences, no matter their age, experience the holidays from a child’s point of view.

“We paid attention to the tiny details,” Carney said. “They’re subconscious details that transport us from the real world to the dream world.”

Whimsical sets, carefully assembled with perspective and dimensionality in mind, feature strong colors that reach to the back of the theater, engaging patrons in the back row just as well as the front row.

Grandeur meets fantasy as audiences are transported to new places.

This no-detail-too-small approach has led some Kansas City fans to purchase tickets to see one of the seven performances of “The Nutcracker” in D.C. Nov. 22 through Nov. 26.

“It’s so wonderful to hear the audience’s response to this production and to have the community so excited for us,” said Carney.

For those who don’t make it to D.C. to see the Kansas City Ballet production of “The Nutcracker,” the company will return to Kansas City for performances of “The Nutcracker” at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts Dec. 7 through Dec. 24.

For more information and tickets, visit www.kcballet.org.


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