Get a sneak peek of a Peter Pan rehearsal and gain insightful information regarding the ballet production. Kansas City Ballet Artistic Director/Choreographer Devon Carney, Rehearsal Director Kristi Capps and Director of Production Amy Taylor invite you to join them in an engaging conversation inspired by this family-friendly work! Moderated by Executive Director David Gray, the panel activity includes an audience Q and A.
MEET THE PANEL
ARTISTIC DIRECTOR AND CHOREOGRAPHER
Devon Carney joined Kansas City Ballet for the 2013-2014 season after spending the previous 10 years with Cincinnati Ballet as associate artistic director. His early training was with Harvey Hysell of New Orleans. He moved to Boston and was a Principal dancer with Boston Ballet for 12 of his 20 professional performing years. Mr. Carney has performed many leading roles in well-known classical ballets and in 20th century classical works, and in roles by cutting-edge choreographers such as Mark Morris, Maurice Bejart and Merce Cunningham. In addition, he performed a diverse Balanchine repertoire and toured extensively with greats such as Rudolf Nureyev, Fernando Bujones and Cynthia Gregory. With Boston Ballet, he was ballet master and artistic director of their Summer Dance Program for eight years. Mr. Carney’s teaching credits include Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, Pittsburgh Ballet and many others. He has choreographed for Boston Ballet, Ballet Met, Cincinnati Ballet, Cincinnati Opera, Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Kansas City Symphony, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival and Kansas City Ballet. He has served as a judge for the premier dance competition Youth America Grand Prix. In the summer of 2011, Mr. Carney choreographed for the Cincinnati Opera for the opera A Flowering Tree by John Adams with a review in Opera News, “Devon Carney’s choreography was both athletic and exquisite.” With Cincinnati Ballet he created over 20 original works including Blue Rondo and World Citizen in March of 2009 with a review stating, “Carney’s work is not only well crafted but moody and intense with a palpable sense of loneliness. His work grows more confident and more skillful with every piece he creates” (David Lyman, Cincinnati Enquirer). He also created Boot It Up!. This was performed with the live musical accompaniment of rock and roll legend Peter Frampton and his entire band. Additionally, he created a full-length world premiere of Dracula and has created his versions of the great classics of Giselle, Sleeping Beauty, and the one-act ballet The Steadfast Tin Solder. He choreographed Die Fledermaus and La Traviata for the Lyric Opera of Kansas City. With Kansas City Ballet, he created Opus I in 2013, Giselle in 2014, a brand new world premiere production of The Nutcracker in 2015, his full length Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty and his world premiere choreography of Romeo & Juliet in 2017, and his world premiere choreography of Peter Pan in 2018. Additionally his Nutcracker has been performed at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in 2017 and 2022. Most recently, he created his world premiere choreography of the full-length Cinderella in 2023.
Kristi Capps began her professional career with the Atlanta Ballet and then joined Cincinnati Ballet. Rising quickly through the ranks to principal, Ms. Capps delighted audiences performing the principal role in ballets such as Coppelia, Don Quixote, Sleeping Beauty, Giselle, Swan Lake, Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Cinderella, and many of George Balanchine’s ballets. She performed the leading role in George Balanchine’s Chaconne with The Suzanne Farrell Ballet at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. She was a guest artist with many ballet companies and galas such as the Chautauqua Ballet Company, International Ballet Festival of Miami, Florida, International Dance Festival in Vail, Colorado, and with Angel Corella and Stars of American Ballet in Spain. Ms. Capps performed original works by Luca Veggetti at New York City’s Guggenheim Museum “Works in Process” series as well as additional works of Veggetti’s with the Morphoses dance company in Paris, France. She was part of the faculties of the Cincinnati Ballet Academy and Colorado Ballet Academy, as well as a guest teacher at numerous universities and ballet academies throughout the country. Ms. Capps served as ballet mistress in residence for Kansas City Ballet’s 2013-2014 season during the production of Dracula as well as a repetiteur for its spring production of Cinderella before accepting the position of Rehearsal Director starting with the 2014-2015 season.
DIRECTOR OF PRODUCTION
Amy Taylor’s design credits for Kansas City Ballet include Giselle, Suite Kander, The Scarlatti Dances, Carmina Burana, Coppélia and On the Boulevard. Locally, she has also worked with Wylliams/Henry Contemporary Dance Company and the Kansas City Symphony. Before joining Kansas City Ballet, Ms. Taylor received her M.F.A. from the University of Missouri – Kansas City.
executive director and moderator
David Gray was raised in Princeton, NJ, and attended Johns Hopkins University. Following graduation, he moved to New York. He worked in the Publicity Department of Doubleday Publishing before joining the Press Office of New York City Ballet, where he soon became Press Director. He also met and married New York City Ballet Principal Dancer Kyra Nichols.
Upon the birth of their first child, Gray became a full-time parent so that his wife could return to her performing career. He also pursued his passion for writing and published Escape From Verona: Romeo and Juliet Part Two, a novel that required years of research, including visits to Italy.
After they moved to the town where he grew up, Gray became the Executive Director of American Repertory Ballet and their Princeton Ballet School.
Gray then opened a consulting firm, Finance Arts LLC, where he combined his interests in finance and nonprofit management. He served as an itinerant Interim Executive Director for several nonprofits, including the New Jersey Coalition Against Sexual Assault, The New Brunswick Cultural Center (where he was landlord for three theaters), and the Princeton Symphony Orchestra.
In addition to teaching nonprofit management and finance classes, he wrote the Finance Arts Guide to Nonprofit Cash Flow, published in 2010.
What began as an interim position with the Pennsylvania Ballet (now Philadelphia Ballet) became permanent until his wife was offered a tenured faculty position at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music. Gray returned to full-time parenting as a trailing spouse when they moved to Indiana in 2017. He and his youngest son built a batting cage, and Gray spent many hours throwing baseballs for batting practice (sometimes even hitting the strike zone).
During covid lockdowns, Gray wrote screenplays, two of which were optioned, and a third, Chelsea and Charles, sold and is in production for release in 2023.
Now empty-nesters, Gray returns to the energy and excitement of the ballet world and is overjoyed to have been chosen for his role at Kansas City Ballet.