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Supporters Like You Brought KCB’s 2023-2024 Season to Life

In his breathtaking solo for Rubies in Kansas City Ballet’s historic production of Jewels, Company Pianist Jordan Voth showcased the enchanting power that live music brings to ballet.

“Live music is in KCB’s DNA,” says Jennifer Wampler, Chief Philanthropy Officer for KCB. “It’s an essential element of every class and almost every performance, setting us apart from other ballet companies.”

Thanks to the passionate supporters of the Moving into the Future (MITF) Endowment Campaign, this vital element continues to thrive at KCB, a tradition since former Artistic Director Emeritus Todd Bolender made it a hallmark of the organization.

While securing the Ballet’s future is the endowment campaign’s primary goal, its supporters also ensure each season dazzles audiences with live music and other captivating elements, enriching both dance instruction and performances.

A Foundation for Performance Excellence

Throughout the past season, unwavering support for KCB through campaign funds was instrumental, providing resources for dancers, costumes, and acclaimed productions like George Balanchine’s Jewels, alongside live music.

“The financial foundation established through the campaign is what allows us to even begin the process of bringing productions to life,” explains Jennifer. “Without investment in the perpetual funds available through the campaign, we wouldn’t be able to bring a full season of performances to the stage.”

KCB supporters have numerous ways to express their passion for ballet through investments in endowment funds, ensuring the company maintains its elevated standards for dance.

Giving Where the Passion Lies

Among these supporters are Brad Allen and Gene Cooper, who are driven to invest by their passion for live music as a vital complement to ballet.

“There’s something about live music that provides an extra spirit to the performance,” says Gene, who along with Brad, sits directly behind KCB Music Director and Conductor Ramona Pansegrau during performances at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.

Under Ramona’s world-class musical direction, highlighted by moments like Jordan’s dramatic interpretation of Igor Stravinsky’s Capriccio for Rubies, supporters like Brad and Gene see their investments come to life on stage.

“Whatever your personal connection to the ballet, you can invest in areas that resonate with you, whether by contributing to an existing fund or creating your own named fund,” shares Jennifer.

Giving to Support Dancers in a Special Way

A select group of supporters establish funds in their names to provide essential support for company dancers.

Among these are The Sally and Thomas J. Wood Senior Dancer, The John Hunkeler Senior Dancer, and the Greg and Barbara Storm Emerging Dancer funds.

These funds honor dancers who exhibit outstanding qualities, as determined by Artistic Director Devon Carney at the start of each season.

“The dancer recognition is the company’s way of honoring dancers because we see something special in them,” says Devon. “It directly relates to our vision for the company in the upcoming season, and so we are extremely fortunate to have supporters who help realize this vision.”

Accenting the Visual

Longtime supporters and subscribers Susan Lordi and Dennis Marker are passionate about enhancing the visual aspect of ballet. In 2012, they established the Dennis and Susan Lordi Marker Costume Endowment Fund dedicated to supporting extraordinary expenses related to costumes.

“Many people don’t realize how important and interconnected a body covering is to the movement of the body,” says Susan. “My hope is that our amazing Ballet will always have the best, most innovative, and cutting-edge costuming available to them.”

This impact was clear each time the curtain rose on Diamonds, the final act of Jewels, with its stunning palette of white that made audiences draw in their collective breath.

In their enthusiasm for the Ballet, the Markers created a second named fund – the Susan Lordi Marker Fund for Excellence in Choreography.

Supporting Quality Works

Wendy and George Powell’s passion for excellence led them to establish the Wendy and George Powell Family Fund, aimed at supporting the work of Balanchine, Jerome Robbins and others of the neo-classical era.

This past season, the Powell Family Fund was indispensable in KCB’s successful production of the full-length Jewels. Their gift played a crucial role in bringing this iconic ballet to life, covering rights and royalties necessary to perform Balanchine’s masterpiece.

According to Wendy, “My husband has a passion for music; I have a passion for dance. We share a deep appreciation for the composers and choreographers and the musicians and dancers who bring these collaborations to life for Kansas City Ballet audiences.”

Maximizing the Impact of Your Gift

Your contribution to KCB’s Moving into the Future campaign has an amplified impact, thanks to matching funds from the Muriel McBrien Kauffman Family Foundation.

Take Brad and Gene’s fund for live music, for instance. It doubled in strength with the Foundation’s match and continues to grow under KCB’s strategic investments.

“We are grateful for these matching funds,” says Jennifer, highlighting their crucial role in securing KCB’s future. “With rising costs, financial sustainability is key to preserving the Ballet’s progress for future generations.”

To make a gift that is meaningful to you and has a lasting impact for Kansas City Ballet, please contact Jennifer Wampler by email at or by phone at 816.216.5585.

Header Photo: Kansas City Ballet Dancers Gabriel Lorena, Kevin Wilson, Alladson Barreto and Isaac Allen in George Balanchine’s Rubies. Photography by Brett Pruitt & East Market Studios.

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