The Kansas City Dance Festival doesn’t quite feel like a festival.
Not yet, anyway.
Festivals, be they music, film or food, are usually thought of as daylong or multiday events.
The third annual KCDF, happening this weekend at the Folly Theater, comprises just two performances.
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Co-founded by Kansas City Ballet veterans Anthony Krutzkamp and Logan Pachciarz, the KCDF borrows dancers from as far as Finland and Sweden, bringing them to KC for a collaboration with local companies.
The dancers create a single, short-lived company. It’s a bit like a bunch of musicians coming together to form a band that only plays two shows. That, however, could change.
Krutzkamp and Pachciarz are proud of what they’ve accomplished in the festival’s first three years. They love that KCDF provides work for dancers and choreographers during the often-lean summer months.
More importantly, though, they hope KCDF will help grow the Kansas City dance scene.
By presenting works that KC dance fans wouldn’t otherwise get to see, KCDF builds a bigger, wider audience for movement arts. In the process, KCDF also exposes local dancers to new choreographers and repetiteurs, strengthening the skills of companies here.
“Obviously, our own dance community gets better when we get access to this national and international talent,” Pachciarz said. “We’re proud that we get to promote Kansas City as well — to bring people in and show them what our city is all about.”
This year’s repertoire blends local favorites with international fare. With most of the dancers having a classical background, there’s a strong emphasis on balletic movement, but the program is quirky and often broods.
“Chimera” by British choreographer Douglas Lee, is making its US premiere — a milestone acquisition for KCDF. The contemporary piece, sometimes sleek, sometimes mechanically herky-jerky, is based on the movement of toy action figures.
Other offerings include Italian choreographer Davide Bombana’s sinuous “Kunst der Fuge,” Penny Saunders’ “Ghost Light,” and the pas de deux from Marco Goeck’s “Firebird.” Local stalwarts, the Owen/Cox Dance Group will perform an excerpt from Jennifer Owen’s work “Memory Palace.”
To round out and lighten the evening, KCDF will present the classic pas de deux from “Rubies” by George Balanchine. Ryan Nye and Krutzkamp will close the show with a piece they co-choreographed to the music of Max Richter.
Krutzkamp does hope the KCDF will grow to be a weeklong event.
“In a way,” Krutzkamp said, “the festival is an artist residency program that ends with a show. But we do plan to expand. Ultimately, we want to include more master classes and community outreach events around town. We also want to have more performances.
“We envision shows throughout the week at up-close-and-personal venues like Kansas City Ballet’s Michael and Ginger Frost Studio Theater or Quixotic’s new black box theater.
“We know that our patrons love the feeling of being almost onstage for a show. Honestly, dancers love that kind of intimacy, too.”
Pachciarz shares those aspirations.
“The festival has grown in each of our first three years. We just want to keep expanding on what we’ve already created. More weeks, more shows, more visiting artists and a more diverse repertoire to create that true festival feeling.”
Friday and Saturday
The Kansas City Dance Festival performances are at 7:30 p.m., Friday, July 24, and Saturday, July 25, at the Folly Theater. Tickets are $25-$35 through KCDanceFestival.com.