When Zack and Susan Hangauer moved to Kansas City from San Francisco many years ago, they also began a whole new love affair with ballet and the performing arts.
Susan had taken ballet classes starting at age 3, and while Zack admits he didn’t have a dance background, he was quickly smitten. “These dancers are so athletic. They do things that are amazing and mind boggling. It amazes me what they can know and learn, even performing different ballets in the same night,” he adds.
The couple also admits that had they stayed in San Francisco, they might never have become the avid arts attendees they are now. “In San Francisco it is difficult to get tickets and harder to even get to the venues with the traffic they have,” Zack says. “Here, the arts are so accessible. It only takes 20 minutes to get to the Kauffman Center from south Overland Park. That’s a breeze.”
Susan agrees, “We bring that perspective to it. We know how good this is because we’ve been to the other side. Our friends in San Francisco can’t get to anything. And, we trot off every night. It’s a joy! We’re delighted all of the arts are of such high quality…and the Kauffman Center! We’ve got it all.”
Preserving Arts for the Next Generation
Zack and Susan also raised their children, four boys and a girl, to appreciate the arts, especially music. And now attending arts events is even expanding to the next generation. The Hangauers took their granddaughter to see The Nutcracker and they took another grandchild to an open rehearsal at the Bolender Center. Their children are now taking their own children.
Joining the Bolender Society
Several years ago after receiving a call from Bolender Society President, Susan Lordi Marker, the Hangauers took the opportunity to join Kansas City Ballet’s Bolender Society. The couple took a trip to Cuba with many members of the group. They raved about the experience and do credit these types of shared experiences with deepening their connections to the ballet and other Bolender Society members.
Zack says, “There’s a definite camaraderie and family feeling. It’s that kind of connection you don’t get everywhere.”
Susan agrees and shares that in addition to enjoying great performances, a lot of good has come out of their membership: donating to a cause they believe in, really getting to know other members as people, and having unique shared experiences. “I really love these people because I know them,” she says.
Hope for the Future of KCB
Looking down the road, there’s a lot of unknowns for the future of arts organizations. Thankfully, there are people like Zack and Susan who are passionate about supporting the arts.
“This is a tricky time to be planning for the future. But, it will come and it’s important to be prepared,” Zack says. “We realize the finances are precarious and these organizations, like the ballet, depend on contributions and money coming in.”
Susan says, “We want these art forms to continue and get better and better. If you go and enjoy them, you have a responsibility to help support them.”
Susan also encourages everyone to get exposure to the arts and to get involved.
“Give it a try! It’s another way to feed your soul. We need that more than ever.”
Interested in Joining the Bolender Society?
Named for the beloved former Artistic Director Todd Bolender, who transformed Kansas City Ballet with his artistry and vision, The Bolender Society is Kansas City Ballet’s premiere philanthropic group. Members generously make a monthly gift of $200 or an annual gift of $2,500 or more. For questions or to become a member, contact Director of Individual Giving Brent Kimmi or at 816.216.5608.