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Devon Carney Talks Carmina Burana

Kansas City Ballet Artistic Director Devon Carney discusses the Oct. 11-20, 2019 program: Carmina Burana.

Carmina Burana

Adam Hougland and I met more than 16 years ago in Cincinnati. Over the years, I’ve seen a lot of his work. One of the things I really admire about him is his bold sense of adventure. In fact, Kansas City Ballet performed his Rite of Spring to close out our 2015-2016 season. His ability to tackle large works with well-known scores and make them his own is fantastic. Other major works include: Firebird, Mozart’s Requiem and a contemporary Romeo and Juliet.

devon carney talks carmina burana
Dancers Danielle Bausinger and Liang Fu with choreographer Adam Hougland. Carmina Burana rehearsals. Photo by Elizabeth Stehling.

When I asked him to consider choreographing a world premiere of Carmina Burana during his time here four years ago, he was immediately excited by the thought. Now his vision of Carmina Burana is complete!

And we get to enjoy the journey of one person’s life: the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Adam’s star is on the rise as a well-known choreographer continuing to make his name in both America and Europe. That makes it an exciting moment to launch this world premiere.

Tulips and Lobster

Kansas City Ballet Dancers Kaleena Burks and James Kirby Rogers. Photographer: Mike Strong. Choreographer: Annabelle Lopez Ochoa.

And yet there is even more to enjoy on this ballet program including Annabelle Lopez Ochoa’s Tulips and Lobster which dazzled audiences at Johnson County Community College’s New Dance Partners performances last fall. There is a lightheartedness to her piece that allows us to sample her wit and whimsy, as she’s often known for intense works.

Recently, Annabelle earned the 2019 Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award—a significant recognition in the world of dance! She’s created over 90 works for more than 50 major dance companies in just 15 years. Tremendous!


devon-carney talks carmina
Petal Choreography by Helen Pickett. Kansas City Ballet Dancers Laura Hunt, Lamin Pereira dos Santos, and Ryan Jolicoeur-Nye. Photographer Brett Pruitt & East Market Studios.

Our final ballet on the program is back by popular demand—Helen Pickett’s color-infused Petal. Her work has such a wonderful energy to it. Audiences loved it when KCB performed it in the spring of 2016.

It’s been interesting to revisit this vibrant ballet, especially to consider how much more deeply the dancers can interpret her choreography four years later. They have only grown in intensity. So this ballet is sure to please!

Moving Into the Future

I came to a realization recently: more than half of our works this season are from the female choreographic voices, an often under represented group. We are happy to move the needle forward in supporting great female choreographers by creating unforgettable performances for you.

Please enjoy!


Photo of Devon Carney by Brett Pruitt & East Market Studios.

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