Second Kansas City Dance Festival will honor Todd Bolender

06/12/2014 12:04 PM

06/14/2014 8:20 PM

Last year, Anthony Krutzkamp and Logan Pachiarz, of the Kansas City Ballet, presented the first Kansas City Dance Festival. It brought together some of the finest local and national dancers for a summertime celebration.

Their ambition, hard work and confidence paid off. The festival was a rousing success, and now they’re back with the second Kansas City Dance Festival on June 20 and 21 at the Spencer Theatre at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

“It’s bigger and better and we keep pushing forward,” said Krutzkamp, recently named manager of the Kansas City Ballet’s second company, KCBII.

Indeed, this year’s festival will feature nine works performed by 22 dancers from the Kansas City Ballet and the Owen/Cox Dance Group, as well as dancers from the Joffrey Ballet, Cincinnati Ballet, Nashville Ballet and Estonian National Ballet.

A highlight this year will be a tribute to Todd Bolender, the beloved former Kansas City Ballet artistic director and namesake of the Bolender Center for Dance and Creativity.

“This year is the 100th anniversary of the birth of Todd Bolender (Feb. 27, 1914), so we wanted to honor him by presenting his ‘Still Point.’ He created it in 1955, and it’s set to the music of Claude Debussy,” Pachiarz said.

“It’s loosely based on this girl’s relationship troubles with the other dancers onstage, her issues and the way she gets over her problems. In the end she meets this guy who’s really trying to pull her back from the brink of basically going crazy.”

Pachiarz fondly remembers working with Bolender.

“When I first joined the company, he would come in and sit and watch and coach us when we performed various works of his. He coached (George) Balanchine’s ‘Agon’ because he was in that when he was young.

“So there was kind of a circle of history where he knew these works … and he would come in and coach us in that way. He really had a very technical eye, and his sense of theatricality and his sense of dance and movement were kind of incredible.”

In addition to “Still Point,” other works on the program range from the Russian classicism of Marius Petipa to cutting-edge ballets by Marco Goecke and Vasily Vainonen.

“Personally, I’m looking forward to ‘Calling’ by Ma Cong,” Pachiarz said. “It’s an amazing work. The dancers don’t stop dancing for 12 straight minutes. It’s highly energetic and just an incredible lesson in willpower. And it has this incredible, eclectic mix of music.

“At times there’s a Spanish sound to it, and other times it has a zydeco sound. It’s really bizarre, but it has this rhythm that just pulses.”

Krutzkamp is presenting a new work, “Troisiéme Roue,” to the music of Franz Schubert, and Nashville choreographer Chris Stuart is offering an aptly country-flavored ballet, “Under the Lights,” to the music of Johnny Cash.

“We basically have the whole kitchen sink in this festival,” Pachiarz said. “We were humbled by how much response the Kansas City Dance Festival has gotten in the community and how excited people are when we talk to them about it.

“There’s a lot of buzz about dance in Kansas City, and I think it’s going to continue to grow.… As we learn how to be responsible caretakers of this thing that we’ve founded, I’m confident it will happen next year as well. In fact, I’m confident it will happen for the next 76 years.”

7:30 p.m. June 20 and 21 at Spencer Theatre, 4949 Cherry St. $20 to $30. 816-235-6222. For more information, visit http://kcdancefestival.com.

‘La Traviata’ in HD

Grand opera doesn’t get grander than this. On June 21, the Tivoli Cinemas in Westport will present a screening of the Royal Opera’s production of “La Traviata,” starring Renée Fleming as Giuseppe Verdi’s consumptive heroine, Violetta.

Also in the cast are Thomas Hampson as Violetta’s father and Joseph Calleja as her lover, Alfredo. (Calleja, by the way, will make his Kansas City debut in April on the Harriman-Jewell Series.)

Antonio Pappano, one of the finest opera conductors in the world, will lead the orchestra and, to top it all off, there is Richard Eyre’s lavish production, which has received raves for its depiction of 19th-century Paris.

11 a.m. June 21. Tivoli Cinemas in Westport, 4545 Pennsylvania Ave. $13-$15. 816-561-5222 or www.tivolikc.com.

Patrick Neas is program director for RadioBach.com. You can reach him at pneas@jccc.edu.

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