Kansas City Ballet History
Kansas City Ballet offers an eclectic repertory ranging from the traditional classics to exciting contemporary ballets.
Kansas City Ballet is a 30-member professional ballet company under the direction of Artistic Director Devon Carney and Executive Director Jeffrey J. Bentley.
Our professional company, the second company (comprised of KCB II and Trainees), professional dance school, and many community programs, seek to nurture and develop our artists, audiences, and students in the values inherent in the creativity, diversity, and joy of dance.
The Kansas City Ballet Community Engagement and Education Department reaches over 20,000 students and adults each year, and the Kansas City Ballet School provides dance training to over 2,000 students each year, at two locations.
To Inspire and Engage Through the Beauty, Power & Passion of Dance
Outstanding Dance Experiences Accessible to All
In 2022, under the nine-member Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access (IDEA) Committee, Kansas City Ballet is embarking on a deep and thorough examination of its operations, programming, and productions to advance our mission and vision.
Kansas City Ballet was founded in 1957 by Tatiana Dokoudovska with the goal of establishing a regular presence for ballet in the city. For 20 years she nurtured the company before her retirement. In 1980, Todd Bolender—a former New York City Ballet dancer an international opera and ballet choreographer was chosen to lead. During his tenure, in 1986 the company was renamed the State Ballet of Missouri following a joint venture with Dance St. Louis. In 1996 the partnership ended and in 2000 the original name Kansas City Ballet was reclaimed. In 1995 with Bolender’s appointment to artistic director emeritus, William Whitener was appointed artistic director. He served until 2013 creating versatile programs filled with contemporary work and traditional company hallmarks.
On July 1, 2013, Devon Carney became Kansas City Ballet Artistic Director and brought with him to Kansas City a renewed excitement about the future of dance in the nation. In his first year, he created KCB II that performs at a variety of venues throughout the region on a smaller scale to make dance more accessible. The following year, Mr. Carney created the Trainee Program to complete the bridge from school to company. Both KCB II and the Trainees combine to make up the Second Company. Mr. Carney is dedicated to bringing a balanced repertoire to the Kansas City Ballet community by presenting authentic interpretations of the great classics of the dance world, as well as time-honored 20th-century creations and brand new world premieres from today’s leading choreographers.
In addition to the professional company, Kansas City Ballet also has a School and an Engagement and Education Department dedicated to enriching all ages in the community with programs revolving around dance. Both have grown in their dedication and size and programs to fit the needs of the KC community.
Kansas City Ballet dances in the fall, winter and spring of each year (plus The Nutcracker in December) at the Kauffman Center of the Performing Arts, as well as New Moves at the Todd Bolender Center for Dance & Creativity. The repertory exceeds 150 ballets. We have listed all the ballets that our research could uncover.