Bolender Society Member Janis Brewster remembers the first time she saw a ballet:
“My late husband and I lived in the Washington DC area for many years. One day, in 1993, he asked me if I wanted to go to the Kennedy Center to see the Royal Ballet perform Sleeping Beauty. My husband was a well-rounded man with many interests, and he was shocked to learn I had never been to a full-length ballet. As he told the story, he spent that evening watching me watch the ballet. I was enthralled. After that we were regular subscribers to the Kennedy Center’s program, which showcased the best companies in the world. It was a marvelous education,” she recalls.
Janis and her husband Jim eventually moved to Colorado where they continued to be avid ballet supporters. Not only did they connect with the art form, but they became close friends with many of the dancers at Colorado Ballet including Dmitry “Dima” Trubchanov and his wife, Kristi Capps. When Dima retired, he danced the role of Dracula. Janis met Kansas City Ballet Artistic Director Devon Carney at that last performance. Devon had worked closely with Kristi at Cincinnati Ballet before taking his post at KCB. Kristi and Dima then moved to Kansas City where she became Kansas City Ballet’s Ballet Master. Janis kept in touch and decided to schedule her visits to be able to attend Kansas City Ballet performances as well and she liked what she saw.
One of her favorite ballet performances was KCB’s opening night of the 2021-2022 season that opened with George Balanchine’s Serenade. The in person performance at the Kauffman Center was the Company’s first time back on the Muriel Kauffman stage since February 2020. “I’ll always remember. You could feel the electricity in the audience! It was a triumph on so many levels,” Janis declares. “My favorite performances are ones where dancers I’ve come to know personally and love are performing. To see them shine … that thrills me.”
She hopes that new generations discover ballet. She believes, “That live performances with live orchestras are an experience like no other. On nights where it all comes together — wow! The energetic give and take between the performers and the audience is, I think, where the magic happens.”
Kansas City Ballet is one of many organizations that Janis supports. She believes it’s personally rewarding to give to organizations that raise the bar and inspire others by their drive and unrelenting pursuit of excellence.
“I’m profoundly impressed by the dedication, vision, and energy of KCB’s artistic and management staff. What better example of this than the extraordinarily creative, “outside-the-box” virtual programs that Devon Carney put together during the pandemic. They kept the dancers and patrons involved and engaged. It was a truly outstanding effort, and showed the true strength and passion of KCB,” Janis says.
When asked why she supports ballet, Janis says: “Ballet touches our senses and our souls. It lifts us out of ourselves, while at the same time making us feel our best selves. We humans need that.”
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 Associate Director of Individual Giving Maya Collins at 816.216.5608.
Photograph from left to right: Kristi Capps and Janis Brewster.