Jeffrey J. Bentley
Jeffrey J. Bentley, Executive Director of Kansas City Ballet has been involved in dance and theater for over 40 years as a performer, administrator, festival director, dance presenter, teacher, and consultant.
Mr. Bentley began his professional ballet training as a scholarship student with the American Ballet Center, at that time the official school of the Joffrey Ballet in New York City. He later trained at the School of American Ballet. In 1967 he enlisted in the US Army where he served as a military intelligence officer in the Republic of Vietnam.
Following his military service, he graduated from the University of Washington in Seattle and was selected to participate in the Arts Administration Fellowship Program funded by the National Endowment for the Arts. After a one-year intensive internship with the Washington State Arts Commission, he became administrative director for the Tony-award winning Seattle Repertory Theater. He then served as executive director for North Light Theater in Evanston, Illinois, and as general manager for the Dance Center of Columbia College in Chicago. He returned to the Pacific Northwest in 1985 to become the executive director of the Eugene Ballet Company in Oregon.
In 1987, he assumed the position of director of the DanceAspen Festival and School in Aspen, Colorado. During his seven-year tenure, the festival grew from a three-week residency dedicated to a single ballet company to an eight-week festival featuring an eclectic array of companies and artists from around the world. In 1993, Mr. Bentley became executive director of Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet, that country’s oldest and highly respected ballet company. He was appointed executive director of Kansas City Ballet in 1998.
Mr. Bentley has served as a dance panelist and site visitor for the National Endowment for the Arts as well as the Illinois Arts Council, the Colorado Arts Commission and the Missouri Arts Council where he also twice served as a committee member to select the recipients of the annual Governor’s Arts Award. He was recognized by NonProfit Connect as the 2018 Non-Profit Professional of the Year and in 2022 was the recipient of the prestigious Leadership in the Arts Award by the State of Missouri and the Missouri Arts Council. In June 2023, Mr. Bentley will leave his position as the Ballet’s Executive Director following 25 years of service.