Kansas City Ballet Artistic Director Devon Carney invites Dance Speaks patrons to join him and guests Val Caniparoli, Maiqui Manosa, and Ramona Pansegrau in an engaging conversation inspired by the ballet Jekyll & Hyde. Get a sneak peek beforehand of a company rehearsal of Jekyll & Hyde and gain inside information about the production. The program includes an audience Q and A.
Meet the Panel
Val Caniparoli’s versatility has made him one of the most sought-after American choreographers internationally. He is most closely associated with San Francisco Ballet, his artistic home for over 50 years. He first worked under the artistic directorship of Lew Christensen, and in the early 1980s, was appointed resident choreographer. He was appointed as a Ballet Master and Principal Character Dancer under Helgi Tomasson’s Artistic Directorship and continued to create such internationally performed works such as Lambarena, Ibsen’s House, Connotations, Aria, Double Stop, Hamlet & Ophelia and Pulcinella and is currently working with the company under the new Artistic Director leadership of Tamara Rojo. Caniparoli has contributed to the repertoires of more than 60 companies, including Joffrey Ballet, Finnish National Ballet, Royal New Zealand Ballet, Scottish Ballet, National Ballet of Canada, Kansas City Ballet, Boston Ballet, Hong Kong Ballet, Milwaukee Ballet, Alberta Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Northern Ballet Theatre, Pennsylvania Ballet, Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Ballet West (resident choreographer 1993-97), Washington Ballet, Israel Ballet, Richmond Ballet, Louisville Ballet, Cincinnati Ballet, Singapore Ballet, Atlanta Ballet, State Theatre Ballet of South Africa, Alberta Ballet, and Tulsa Ballet (resident choreographer 2001-06). He has also choreographed for the Chicago Lyric Opera, San Francisco Opera, and The Metropolitan Opera and several occasions with the San Francisco Symphony. Choreography for the esteemed American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.), include A Christmas Carol, A Doll’s House, A Little Night Music, Arcadia, and the creation, with Carey Perloff, of a new movement-theater piece, Tosca Cafe. One of his most popular ballets, Lambarena, was nominated for the Prix Benois de la Danse in 1997 for Best Choreography and was also featured on Sesame Street with dancers Lorena Feijoo and Lorna Feijoo. In 2015, Caniparoli co-choreographed, with Helgi Tomasson, a commercial for the 50th Anniversary Super Bowl with dancers from San Francisco Ballet. Caniparoli’s full evening-length ballets include Lady of the Camellias, five different productions of The Nutcracker for Royal New Zealand Ballet, Louisville Ballet, Grand Rapids Ballet, Cincinnati Ballet, and Tulsa Ballet (co-created with Ma Cong), Jekyll & Hyde for Finnish National Ballet and A Cinderella Story choreographed to music of Richard Rodgers for Royal Winnipeg Ballet. Born in Renton, Washington, Caniparoli opted for a professional dance career after studying music and theatre at Washington State University. He received a Ford Foundation Scholarship to attend San Francisco Ballet School. He performed with San Francisco Opera Ballet before joining San Francisco Ballet in 1973, where he continues to perform as a Principal Character Dancer.
Maiqui Mañosa joined the Atlanta Ballet in 1980. She advanced to principal dancer where she was recognized for her performances in Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, Giselle, Swan Lake, Dennis Nahat’s Coppelia as Swanilda, Midsummer’s Night Dream as Titania, Eugene Loring’s Billy the Kid as the Sweetheart, Lyn Taylor Corbett’s Escape, Fernand Nault’s world renowned Carmina Burana and La Fille Mal Gardee as Lizette. Ms. Mañosa received wide acclaim for her interpretation of Tom Pazik’s Romeo and Juliet and his world premiere of Madame Butterfly with the Philippine Ballet Theater in the role of Cio-Cio-San. Pazik created this ballet for Maiqui. Atlanta Ballet’s Director, Robert Barnett featured Maiqui in several Balanchine ballets, including the Dark Angel in Serenade, the Siren in Prodigal Son, Tchaikovsky’s Pas de Deux, Four Temperaments, Allegro Brillante, Concerto Barrocco, Scotch Symphony, Square Dance, Stars and Stripes and Tarantella and Themes & Variations. Ms. Mañosa was chosen to represent the Philippines in a cultural exchange program with China. Performing with the Central Ballet of China, she was warmly received and widely acclaimed by Chinese audience and critics. Ms. Mañosa was invited to work with the Singapore Dance Theater (SDT) as ballet mistress, where she staged Graham Lustig’s Cinderella. Maiqui also worked with internationally renowned choreographers such as Val Caniparoli and John Paul Comelin. She returned to the United States and joined the faculty of Rock School for Dance Education where she became Principal Teacher. Currently, Ms. Mañosa stages ballets for Val Caniparoli both in the US and internationally. She has staged Mr. Caniparoli’s works with American Repertory Ballet, Ballet West, Boston Ballet, Cincinnati Ballet, Finnish National Ballet, Kansas City Ballet, Los Angeles Ballet, Louisville Ballet, Milwaukee Ballet, Nashville Ballet, Nevada Ballet Theater, Oregon Ballet Theater, Orlando Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet, Richmond Ballet, Sacramento Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Singapore Dance Theater, Texas Ballet Theater and Tulsa Ballet. One of her more memorable experiences was in Moscow coaching Bolshoi Ballet’s ballerina Anastasia Volochkova in Val Caniparoli’s ballet Lambarena. She continues her guest teaching in summer workshops around the country.
Ramona Pansegrau has been music director for Kansas City Ballet for 17 years. She came to Kansas City via the Boston and Tulsa ballet companies, where she held the positions of principal pianist, solo pianist, music director and conductor.
She has been called one of the best ballet pianists in the world. Robert Joffrey said of her ballet class, “The perfect music for every combination.” She was principal pianist/solo pianist for 10 years at Boston Ballet and tenured keyboard for the Boston Ballet Orchestra for 15 years. Ms. Pansegrau was on the faculty at Aspen/Snowmass Dance Festival for 11 years and was music director for the ballet school at Jacob’s Pillow for 16 years. She was music director for Tulsa Ballet for nine years, and conductor of the Tulsa Symphony orchestra for ballet performances before coming to Kansas City Ballet.
As a piano soloist for ballet, she has performed the piano concertos of Tchaikovsky, Brahms, Gottschalk, Hindemith, and Chopin to name a few, performing with many symphony orchestras, including the Kennedy Center Opera Orchestra. Of her performances, the Boston Phoenix stated, “the music…brought to sublime heights by pianist Ramona Pansegrau, allow[ing] you to experience the music anew each time.” Her arrangements of ballets are now in the repertory of the Western Australia Ballet, Charleston Ballet Theatre, Tulsa Ballet, Louisville Ballet, Washington Ballet, Ballet West, the San Carlo Opera House in Italy, NBA Ballet in Tokyo, Japan, and the Finnish National Ballet. Her edited and compiled score of Penderecki, Gorecki, and others for the ballet Jekyll & Hyde, a ballet by Val Caniparoli, premiered in Finland in 2020 to great acclaim, and she will conduct the American premiere in Kansas City in October 2023. Her most recent score for the full-length ballet Aladdin and the Magic Carpet, with choreographer Jill Bahr premiered April 2022.
Ms. Pansegrau conducted the premiere of the Tulsa Symphony Orchestra with a full-length Sleeping Beauty, starring Italian ballerina Viviana Durante. Her performances were hailed as “giving life to the music and energizing the dancers.” Conducting for the Ballet Across America Festival, The Washington Post stated, “There is a delicious tension between the outpouring of the strings conducted by Ms. Pansegrau and the hushed anxiety of the dancing.” The Kansas City Star said Ms. Pansegrau’s Symphony No. 5 by Gustav Mahler was conducted with “heartrending sensitivity.” The Orlando Sentinel commented regarding Swan Lake, “…Pansegrau, music director for the Kansas City Ballet, helps Tchaikovsky’s music breathe with emotion reflecting what’s onstage….That gorgeous sound is something I’ll remember.” Regarding Don Quixote, they said, “As conducted by Ramona Pansegrau, the Philharmonic captured each bit of Spanish flair in Ludwig Minkus’ score, as well as the longing in the characters’ hearts. The Phil’s contribution to the electricity in the air can’t be overstated.” Ms. Pansegrau’s other ongoing engagements include guest conductor for Orlando Ballet and performing with the Opus 76 string quartet.