Kansas City Ballet’s heroes play all sorts of roles to Keep the Ballet On Its Toes. Production Director Amy Taylor has been making sure the show goes on for more than 25 years.
Amy’s primary responsibility is planning and preparing the technical elements of every performance. It is an enormous job when you consider all of the pieces that must come together for a show.
“Once we are in the theatre, it’s about keeping that schedule and budget on track and making sure that the stage picture is as good as we can make it,” Amy tells us.
Originally from Arkansas, Amy earned a B.A. in Theatre Arts from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. She then received her MFA in Lighting Design from the University of Missouri’s Kansas City Campus (UMKC). “I knew pretty early on that I wanted to work in the dance field, and it was a coincidence that the Department Chair at UMKC, Joe Appelt, had also been the lighting designer at Kansas City Ballet. He knew of my interest in dance and was quick to plug me into the Assistant Lighting Designer position,” Amy says. After a string of other projects, she found her dream job at Kansas City Ballet.
Rising to Challenges
When asked about the biggest challenges in her career, Amy said: “This is a hard one, because there are both large and small challenges. For instance, we presented Twyla Tharp’s In the Upper Room. This ballet requires a tremendous amount of atmospheric haze, it’s an essential visual element. When we started the tech rehearsal it became apparent that the HVAC system at the Kauffman Center did not appreciate being overrun with haze.” They spent a full four days to get that effect right.
Taking The Nutcracker to The Kennedy Center was a massive challenge, for Amy mostly because of the time constraints involved. Not only having compressed time for load in and rehearsals at an unfamiliar venue, but also the return to KC and immediate load in at the Kauffman Center. It was both mentally and physically exhausting for her.
“The thing that gets me through both large and small challenges is the knowledge that we have an incredible team who not only work hard but are also invested in producing an excellent product.”
Leading with Gratitude
Amy’s favorite accomplishment has been the build of our current production of The Nutcracker. “Devon had a vision of what he wanted for the company, and it was a daunting task to execute,” Amy admits. “Each year, on opening night, it really makes me happy to hear the audience respond when the curtain goes up.”
Amy also extends her gratitude to the other KCB Heroes, “I’m grateful to know that what we (the Ballet) do impacts the community. And I’m grateful to know that people want our organization to not only survive but to thrive.”
You Can Be a Ballet Hero
What motivates you? Inspired by the beauty of dance or providing educational experiences for children? Maybe you remember how dance or dance training changed your life and want to share that with others? Or, perhaps youd like to help Keep the Ballet on our Toes by donating to the 2020 Relief and Recovery Fund.
Whatever your reason, we are ready to help make your gift mean something. Visit our donations page or contact Brent Kimmi, Director of Individual Giving at 913.205.0999 to share your hope to become a KCB Hero.
Header Photo: Amy Taylor (center) engulfed in the haze from Twyla Tharp’s In the Upper Room.