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Kansas City Ballet has a $1.8 million plan to create a ‘modern center of dance’ in Prairie Village

Local nonprofit the Sunderland Foundation, along with the Kansas City-based Richard J. Stern Foundation for the Arts made “major philanthropic donations” to help fund the expansion of the Kansas City Ballet School's South Campus.

Kansas City Ballet is expanding its south campus, located in Prairie Village's Meadowbrook Shopping Center at 95th and Nall Avenue. The expansion will allow the ballet school to offer classes for more advanced students and older adults.

The Kansas City Ballet has announced a $1.8 million expansion and renovation of its Prairie Village campus, a move Ballet officials cast as a “significant commitment” to families and prospective dance students in Johnson County.

The Kansas City Ballet School South Campus is located at 5328 W. 95th Street in the Meadowbrook Shopping Center. The southern campus is an offshoot of Kansas City Ballet’s main school and headquarters, the Todd Bolender Center for Dance and Creativity in downtown Kansas City, Missouri, next to Union Station.

“There are many students to the south who wish to undertake serious, intensive study in dance but cannot venture daily to the Bolender Center for Dance & Creativity in downtown Kansas City, MO,” Jeffrey Bentley, KC Ballet’s Executive Director, said in a press release. “There will now be a modern center for dance in Prairie Village that will provide all of the necessities and aesthetics for a satisfying and successful experience whether the intention is simply recreational or professional.”

Tuesday’s announcement comes roughly nine months after Prairie Village gave the green light for developers to revamp the Meadowbrook Shopping Center at 95th Street and Nall Avenue.

Kansas City Ballet representatives could not be reached for additional comment on Tuesday morning to confirm whether the South campus’s expansion is connected to the ongoing Meadowbrook renovation.

A rendering of a dance studio inside an expanded Kansas City Ballet School South Campus in Prairie Village.

The expansion will triple the Kansas City Ballet School South Campus’s size to more than 10,000 square feet, according to the Ballet announcement. In addition, the school will be relocated from the back of the shopping center to the front, making it more easily accessible from 95th Street and more publicly visible.

There will be four studios in the new space, compared to two studios in the previous school, and the new studios will also be larger and able to accommodate more students at a time, school director Grace Holmes said in the release.

Holmes said the expansion will also allow Kansas City Ballet to grow its community programming and offer classes for older adults or more advanced students.

Local nonprofit powerhouse the Sunderland Foundation, along with the Kansas City-based Richard J. Stern Foundation for the Arts made “major philanthropic donations” to help fund the project, according to the Kansas City Ballet release.

The current school in Prairie Village will remain open while renovations are ongoing, according to the release.

Juliana Garcia is a reporter with the Shawnee Mission Post.
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