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Kansas City Ballet Launches Second Company

Courtesy of the Kansas City Ballet

The Kansas City Ballet is joining other dance companies around the country – from Boston Ballet to the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater – to create a training ground for young dancers: a second company. 

Devon Carney, newly appointed artistic director of the Kansas City Ballet, described the second company, Kansas City Ballet II (KCB II), as a "natural next stage of development," based on the Ballet’s growth in recent years.

The KCB II dancers will be selected from auditions around the country; they'll receive professional experience, and hone their skills through public performances, demonstrations, daily classes and rehearsals. The dancers will also serve as "ambassadors for Kansas City Ballet," according to Carney, providing outreach to schools, community centers, and other locations.

"The second company is a huge bridge, and a very important and vital bridge, from being a student into being able to handle the professional career of a ballet dancer in a professional company," says Carney, who danced with Boston Ballet's second company, Boston Ballet II, before he gained a spot in the company and went on to earn the rank of principal dancer.

Carney expects that, for some of the KCB II dancers, dancing with the second company "might be the beginning of a long career with the Kansas City Ballet."

The Ballet's executive director Jeffrey Bentley, in a news release, says,"This has long been our goal and the selection of Devon Carney certainly played a role in the advancement of that goal. I am pleased to be able to partner with Devon in the launch of KCB II."

The inaugural KCB II dancers include: Rochelle Chang, Lark Commanday, Katya Duncan, Morgan Sicklick, and Meagan Swisher.

Kansas City is known for its style of jazz, influenced by the blues, as the home of Walt Disney’s first animation studio and the headquarters of Hallmark Cards. As one of KCUR’s arts reporters, I want people here to know a wide range of arts and culture stories from across the metropolitan area. I take listeners behind the scenes and introduce them to emerging artists and organizations, as well as keep up with established institutions. Send me an email at lauras@kcur.org or follow me on Twitter @lauraspencer.
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