Please join us for our Free Facebook Live KCB Dancer Chats; a new community engagement and education series designed to engage the broader public with professional dancers at Kansas City Ballet. Each Dancer Chat provides an opportunity for the public to get to know different company dancers through relaxed, informal conversations sharing their unique perspectives on various topics of the day. Moderated by prominent members of the community and arts lovers these engaging Chats will reveal backgrounds, extraordinary experiences, and strong relationships between professional artists.
Moderator Rashida Phillips with Kansas City Ballet dancers Amaya Rodriguez and Javier Morales
Meet the Moderator
Executive Director, American Jazz Museum
Born and raised in St. Louis, MO, Rashida Phillips joined the American Jazz Museum as its Executive Director in January 2020. Prior to the museum, Phillips spent the past 16 years at some of Chicago’s most impactful organizations, including her most recent role in organizing strategy, expansion, and turnaround at the Old Town School of Folk Music, the largest community arts school with acclaimed concert space in the nation. She is also a jazz vocalist with a M.A. in Jazz History and Research from Rutgers University and has a B.A. in English, minoring in African American Studies from Oberlin College.
Meet the Dancers
Joined KCB in 2016
Amaya Rodriguez was born in Havana City on June 21, 1987. She began her ballet training in 1997 at Pro Dance under the direction of Laura Alonso. At the same time, she received complementary ballet training at the Department of Dance of the National Ballet of Cuba. In 2003, she began her formal training at the National School of Ballet of Cuba under the guidance of Ramona de Saa and Marta Iris Fernandez. She was awarded the Silver Medal in the 8th International Ballet Academies Encounter, in Havana in 2004. In 2005, she performed as a Guest Artist in the International Festival of Dance, in Quito, Ecuador, and in 2007 at the 1st International Ballet Festival of Cali, Colombia. She graduated as a classical ballet dancer in 2006.
She immediately joined the National Ballet of Cuba under the artistic direction of Alicia Alonso. The same year she participated in the Festival Solidarity Dance in Maracaibo, Venezuela. In 2011, she was promoted to Principal Dancer. Because of her technical talent and artistry, she was rapidly promoted to First Dancer in 2013. With the Ballet Nacional de Cuba, she performed in Europe, the Americas, Egypt, and Australia. In 2012, she toured several Spanish cities with The Virtuosos Gala Ballet. In 2014, she was a guest artist at the International Gala of Augsburg, Germany. She has performed the leading roles in the romantic-classics Giselle, Swan Lake, Nutcracker, Don Quixote, Sleeping Beauty, Coppelia, Cinderella, Le Corsaire, and in contemporary works.
Joined KCB in 2017
Javier Morales graduated as a dancer and teacher from the National School of Ballet in Havana, Cuba in 2003, working under the tutelage of various masters such as Adria Velázquez, Fernando Alonso, Lázaro Carreño and Ramona de Saa. From 2003 to 2014, he danced at the National Ballet of Cuba under the artistic direction of Alicia Alonso. He participated in Ballet Festival of Havana several times. During his professional time with the company, he had featured roles in world-renowned classical masterpieces such as Giselle, Swan Lake, Coppelia, Sleeping Beauty, Don Quixote, and Romeo and Juliet. Mr. Morales also excelled in numerous contemporary works by choreographers Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, Alberto Mendez, Peter Quans, Jorge Amarante. He has danced in the best theaters around the world in Europe, Asia, South America, and North America. Mr. Morales reached the rank of First Soloist. He danced the Corsaire pas de deux, among other works with the Classic Ballet of Sinaloa, Mexico. He participated as principal in pas de deux Snow White, Nutcracker, Cinderella, Dracula, Don Quixote, Spring Waters and other ballets, led by direction teacher of Nelson Madrigal with Bay Area Houston Ballet & Theater (BAHBT).