Facebook Live at facebook.com/kcballet
KC Ballet Dancer Chat with Kansas City Ballet dancers Naomi Tanioka and Andrew Vecseri.
KC Ballet Dancer Chat, a FREE community engagement and education series, is designed to provide the broader public an opportunity to engage with and learn more about professional dancers from Kansas City Ballet. This Dancer Chat will feature two KCB company dancers chatting about their roles in KCB’s production of Cinderella and sharing interesting aspects of their life journey and dance experiences. This relaxed, informal conversation will be moderated by a Kansas City community professional.
Meet the Moderator
Melissa Ford, Director of Philanthropic Giving at University of Missouri- Kansas City’s School of Science and Engineering, is an accomplished fundraising professional. Her fundraising has contributed to organizations including Kansas City Ballet, Girl Scouts of NE Kansas and NW Missouri, and United WE (formerly Women’s Foundation). In addition, Melissa served as Executive Director for the Asthma and Allergy Foundation- Kansas City Chapter for over 5 years.
Melissa is a committed community volunteer with previous service on the Bubbles & Broadway event committee for Music Theater Heritage’s children’s education program, Board of Directors for the Cass County Giving Circle, Co-chairman for the Greater Kansas City Asthma and COPD Coalition, Committee Volunteer for the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), and a nursing home eucharistic minister within the Catholic Church. She currently serves as a Girl Scout Troop Leader, a member of Kansas City Young Matrons, and has served 14 years on the Kansas City Ballet Guild, including the Board of Directors. This year, Melissa serves the Kansas City Ballet as Guild President.
Meet the Dancers
Joined KCB in 2019
Naomi Tanioka, originally from Sapporo, Japan, started her training with Chida Toshiko Ballet Studio. Ms. Tanioka was accepted to the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School in Canada, where she concluded her 6 years of professional ballet training including the aspirant program. In 2014, Ms. Tanioka joined Ballet Arizona, where she had the opportunity to perform cygnets in Swan Lake, Pas de Six in Napoli, Walpurgisnacht, Western Symphony, Symphony in Three Movements and The Sleeping Beauty. She then joined Cincinnati Ballet in 2016, and the next two seasons. Ms. Tanioka had the opportunity to dance roles in Coppelia, Romeo and Juliet, The Sleeping Beauty, Serenade, Rubies, Carmina Burana, Rite of Spring, Fire Bird, King’s Arthur’s Camelot, and Peter Pan. Since joining Kansas City Ballet in 2019, she has performed worksby Adam Hougland, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, Devon Carney, Edwaard Liang, George Balanchine, Helen Pickett, Micheal Pink, and has been featured as Lucy in Dracula, 1st Pas de deux in Wunderland, Pas de trois and Cygnet in Swan Lake and Snow Queen in The Nutcracker.
Joined KCB in 2022
Andrew Vecseri was born and raised in Houston, Texas and began his training in 2010 at Houston Repertoire Ballet under the direction of Victoria Vittum before he joined the Houston Ballet Academy in 2013. In 2015 he was promoted to Houston Ballet’s second company in which he performed ballets such as Yondering, A Garden of Mirth, Flower Festival, and Prince Desire in Sleeping Beauty. In 2017 he was chosen to compete in the Prix De Lausanne, where he was offered a company contract with the Houston Ballet. While there, he was promoted to Demi Soloist and performed roles in La Bayadere, Swan Lake, Marie, Sleeping Beauty, and Stanton Welch’s The Nutcracker before joining Kansas City Ballet in 2022.