Gavin Abercrombie came up through the ranks at Kansas City Ballet. Starting off as a member of KCB II, part of the Second Company, he later joined the Company as an apprentice before being promoted to a full company member.
Dancing the Lead
For the fall 2019 season opening performance, he debuted the lead role in Adam Hougland’s world premiere of Carmina Burana. It was an experience he will never forget.
“It was my first lead role as a professional dancer, and it came in the very beginning of my first professional season,” Gavin recalls. “Throughout the choreographic process Adam was so supportive. He worked with me through all of the details so I could best portray his ideas for the piece through my own artistic expression. By the time the shows came along, the nerves were gone. I felt ready to give it my all on stage.”
The first time he performed his final solo in front of an audience is etched into Gavin’s memory. “My character is incredibly emotionally vulnerable during that solo, alone on stage and stripped down to almost nothing. This was the moment I was supposed to pour everything I had into the making the audience relate to me. The first time I performed it in front of a live audience, I remember feeling like I was able to reach an emotional level that I hadn’t been able to tap into performing it in front of a mirror or out to an empty theater. Being alone out there, giving everything I had left to the audience, is a moment that I know I’ll never forget.”
Ending the Season
With Swan Lake Gavin continued to push himself as a ballet dancer and to grow as an artist. He performed his first classical variation as a professional in the role of “Benno” during the Pas de Trois [dance for three]. He also had the opportunity to understudy the role of Prince Siegfried.
“To be in rehearsals with many of the senior men that I look up to and admire was like a dream and I tried to absorb as much as I could from them, from actual execution of steps to how they thought of the character and acted,” Gavin remembers. He was grateful for such rewarding experiences.
While the season ended just after the performances of Swan Lake, Gavin has been doing his best to stay fit on his own with virtual ballet classes. He’s also spent a good amount of time at home with his family in California. He has been hiking and biking on the many hiking trails in the mountains near there.
Gavin chooses to look forward with optimism: “I constantly remind myself that although things may seem bad now, there will be a day when I will be back performing in front of the Kansas City audience I hold dear. I plan to be in good shape for when that moment arrives.”
Recognizing those who donate to help support Kansas City Ballet are true KCB heroes, Gavin says, “They are really making a difference and showcasing themselves as true heroes in my eyes. They are not only donating to help me do what I love, but also to help me and my fellow coworkers continue to inspire and lift up our Kansas City audiences through ballet.”
Photo Credit: KCB Dancer Gavin Abercrombie in Adam Hougland’s world premiere of Carmina Burana. Photographer Brett Pruitt & East Market Studios.