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Kansas City Ballet Company Dancers Draw Inspiration from Teaching

Among the distinguished faculty of more than 50 instructors at the Kansas City Ballet School (KCB School), there is a notable presence of several of Kansas City Ballet’s professional Company dancers. For these dancers, teaching is not just a way to impart knowledge but a source of inspiration that fuels their own passion for the art of ballet.

Many dancers naturally gravitate toward teaching and sharing their expertise, explains Kristi Capps, Rehearsal Director for Kansas City Ballet (KCB). “Teaching is a source of inspiration for them. What’s more, as they expand their knowledge as teachers, their understanding of their own dance technique deepens,” she notes. “It’s a mutually enriching experience for both teacher and student.”

For KCB Company dancers Amaya Rodriguez, Marisa DeEtte Whiteman and Joshua Kiesel, teaching dance reminds them of their own beginnings and the passion that ignited their love for dance. All three express immense fulfillment in imparting their knowledge and expertise, witnessing the spark of enthusiasm in their students’ eyes, and observing their growth and progress.

Amaya Rodriguez

Amaya Rodriguez, honored as this year’s John Hunkeler Senior Dancer and a Company member since 2016, compares teaching to nurturing her own children. “It’s similar to watching my students grow before my eyes, mastering increasingly complex technical steps.”

Amaya instructs some of the Academy’s most advanced students, passing on decades of dance wisdom to empower them as confident performers. “Seeing my students refine their technique and flourish as dancers brings me immense joy,” she says. “It’s a true privilege to be a part of their journey.”

Marisa DeEtte Whiteman

Marisa DeEtte Whiteman, who started as a Trainee in 2014 and moved into the Company in 2018, having risen through the ranks of the Second Company, teaches a diverse array of classes at the KCB School, including Progressing Ballet Technique (PBT) and variation coaching for competitions.

For Marisa, the motivation to teach stems from sharing insights gleaned from her training and professional journey. “Watching my students grow and succeed, all while sharing my passion for dance, is incredibly fulfilling,” she remarks.

Marisa holds a special passion for teaching cross training and injury prevention, emphasizing that “enhanced strength and heightened body awareness enable dancers to identify and correct imbalances or compensations that could lead to overuse injuries.”

Joshua Kiesel

Joshua Kiesel, celebrated as this year’s Greg and Barbara Storm Emerging Dancer and a Company member since 2021, provides instruction to the KCB School’s aspiring young male dancers.

He relishes the opportunity to share his wisdom and expertise with the next generation of dancers.

“If I can inspire them through my teaching, then I feel I am making a meaningful contribution to the future of ballet,” he says.

For these dedicated KCB Company dancers, teaching is not merely a job – it’s a profound privilege and a way to shape the future of ballet through the nurturing of young talents.

Would you like to take an adult dance class and benefit from the expertise of a KCB School instructor?


Learn about the KCB School


Photography by Beeh Becvar. Top photo features Marisa DeEtte Whiteman.

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