In 2014, Kansas City Ballet performed Michael Pink’s Dracula ballet. It was the beginning of a major departure for the company to try and bring in more diverse audiences. It worked. Besides record attendance and loads of new buyers willing to try ballet, it inspired Grant Lamascus and Mimi Montoya to drive up from Arkansas.
Mimi had long loved ballet, having taken classes as a child, but Grant was new to the art form.
“I don’t actually possess any grace whatsoever,” Grant admitted. “But I’ve always deeply admired the poetry of dance.”
Grant and Mimi became mesmerized not only with the production, which they attended alongside Mimi’s fashion group, but with the whole organization. On the way home, Grant decided they should become members of the Ballet Guild after seeing an ad in the program.
“That was one of the easiest decisions we’ve made,” Grant remembered. “I saw the ad and I knew I wanted to be a part of that.”
Living only three hours away, the couple also became subscribers and made their routine travels to Kansas City delightful journeys by booking unique bed and breakfasts or lodgings around town.
“It’s extraordinary that there’s a world class ballet company that is so close,” Mimi says. “We don’t have to go to New York or San Francisco or somewhere so far away.”
As subscribers, they were invited to attend company rehearsals at the Bolender Center where they met other like-minded attendees like John and Angela Walker. “Angela encouraged us to get a second subscription, so we can see multiple casts in productions,” Mimi said.
Becoming Ballet Volunteers and Supporters
It wasn’t long before the two wanted to see what else they could do to get involved with the ballet. They discovered volunteering and were intrigued to be invited by John Walker to help with the Ballet Archives projects.
“It’s rare to find a group of people that you can connect with that feel like friends and neighbors. I feel that with the Kansas City Ballet group,” Grant said. “That’s not always the case. And being able to assist in interesting projects and do some good work is phenomenal.”
Mimi and Grant spent two weeks of their vacation time in Kansas City assisting the Ballet’s archival expert and committee with some special projects in addition to other days like the Nutcracker Pricing Party. The two worked a week in the archives, cataloging all of the performance posters from the start of the company to the present, making them ready for the Archivist to do the intake into the archives. Then, on a second week of volunteering, they managed to archive all of the dance resource books in Kansas City Ballet School’s working library, as well as books in Executive Director Jeffrey Bentley’s office collection under the guidance of John Walker as Guild President.
“The staff made us feel so welcome and we want to continue and do more and more,” Mimi added.
Part of that “more” includes donating to the Ballet. They wanted to increase their philanthropic support and connectivity to the Ballet so they joined The Bolender Society. Also, Grant’s employer offers quarterly funding through their Volunteerism Always Pays program on behalf of Grant’s volunteer hours with the Ballet.
Sharing Their Excitement
Grant and Mimi have firmly claimed a home in the Kansas City Ballet family of supporters. They encourage others to do the same.
“The Ballet is such an intricate work of art. I’m simply honored to be part of it and to be able to assist,” Grant said.
“It feels amazing to be a part of something that is so awe-inspiring. If someone desires to do more, just step up. I have no doubt your contribution would be welcomed,” Mimi added.
Interested in Volunteering?
Become involved and support KCB while meeting new people, learning more about ballet, and getting a behind-the-scenes experience. KCB’s Volunteer Corps provides vital services while helping with fun and fulfilling hands-on opportunities. Please contact Manager of Events & Development Grace Lewis or visit our website for more information.
Photo by Larry F. Leveson