Facebook Live at facebook.com/kcballet
February 9, 2022
KCB Dancer Chat moderated by Stuart Carden (KC Rep’s Artistic Director) with Kansas City Ballet dancers Danielle Fu, Liang Fu, and Gavin Abercrombie
KC Ballet Dancer Chats, a FREE community engagement, and education series are designed to provide the broader public an opportunity to engage with and learn more about professional dancers from Kansas City Ballet. Each dancer chat features 3 KCB company dancers chatting about their roles in upcoming KCB productions and sharing aspects of their life journey and dance experiences. These relaxed, informal conversations are moderated by various KC community professionals. All Dancer Chats take place on Facebook LIVE.
MEET THE MODERATOR
Artistic Director + Kansas City Repertory Theatre
Stuart Carden is the artistic director of Kansas City Repertory Theatre. A director, deviser, producer, educator and new play specialist, Stuart has worked across the United States building new plays, ensemble generated projects, multidisciplinary performance and actor/musician driven theatrical storytelling.
An artist with eclectic taste and wide-ranging interests Stuart has developed new works that range from of-the-moment realistic drama to immersive spectacle. He has a passion for building theatrical stories and live performance that puts audiences at the center of the theatrical event and inspires them to experience rather than witness. This style of work fires the imagination, gets the heart pumping, people talking and breaks down boundaries between audience members and performers.
As a freelance director and producer building projects with The Old Globe, The Lyric Opera, The Second City, New Victory Theatre, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Writers Theatre, People’s Light, ArtsEmerson, Virgin Voyages, The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Philadelphia Theatre Company, Chicago Children’s Theatre, and his most frequent collaborator, City Theatre Company.
As the Associate Artistic Director of Writers Theatre from 2009-2014, Stuart line-produced over 25 productions, developed over a dozen new works, cast more than 150 performers and was intimately engaged in the design of Writer’s new $32 million theatre complex designed by renowned architect Jeanne Gang of Studio Gang. As the leader of the company’s Literary Development Initiative Stuart landed and facilitated projects ranging from the U.S. Premiere of Conor McPherson’s The Dance of Death and Laura Eason’s World Premiere Musical Days Like Today to introducing Chicagoland (and much of the country) to PigPen Theatre Co. with The Old Man and The Old Moon. Prior to Writers, Stuart spent two years as the Associate Artistic Director of City Theatre in Pittsburgh.
Stuart holds a B.A. in Theatre from Hanover College and a M.F.A. in Directing from Carnegie Mellon University. He has taught directing, acting, movement and collaboration at Carnegie Mellon University, DePaul University, Northwestern University, Loyola University, Lake Forest College, College of DuPage, and Beloit College. He is a member of the Society for Stage Directors and Choreographers and is represented by the inimitable Beth Blickers at the Agency for the Performing Arts (APA). Stuart is married to contemporary art and public art curator Neysa Page-Lieberman and is dad to nine-year-old twins Dashiell and Griffin Page-Carden.
Meet the Dancers
Joined KCB in 2014
Mrs. Fu was born in Ridgewood, New Jersey and started dancing at the age of 3. Shortly thereafter, her family moved to Northern California where she continued her training at Lamorinda Ballet Center under Lynn Homeres from San Francisco Ballet, with Deborah Pitts from Oakland Ballet and Pat Keene from the Royal Ballet. She went on to extend her training by spending the next six years with the San Francisco Ballet School and attended summer programs such as The Briansky Saratoga Ballet Center, The Jillana School, American Ballet Theatre, and International Dance School in Jackson, Mississippi. While attending San Francisco Ballet School, Mrs. Fu had the privilege of performing many works by George Balanchine, Helgi Tomasson, Lew Christensen, and August Bournonville. She also had the opportunity to perform with the San Francisco Ballet Company in Helgi Tommason’s The Nutcracker, Swan Lake and Romeo & Juliet. Mrs. Fu joined Cincinnati Ballet in 2006, and continued to dance with the company for the next eight seasons. Over the course of her career with Cincinnati Ballet, she has performed featured roles such as Tinkerbell in Septime Webre’s Peter Pan, Myrtha in Devon Carney’s Giselle, The Rose in Victoria Morgan’s and Val Caniparoli’s The Nutcracker, The Lead Woman in James Kudleka’s The Man in Black, Pas de Trios and Big Swan in Swan Lake, and 3rd Movement Principal in George Balanchine’s Symphony in C. She also had the privilege of going on tour with the company in May 2014 to perform at The Joyce Theater in New York City. Since joining KCB in 2014, she has been featured in classical works such as The Queen of Hearts in Septime Webre’s Alice (in Wonderland), Sanguinic in Balanchine’s The Four Temperaments, Milady de Winter in The Three Musketeers; Snow Queen, Rose and The Sugar Plum Fairy in Devon Carney’s The Nutcracker, Carabosse in Devon Carney’s The Sleeping Beauty, The Wicked Witch in Septime Webre’s Wizard of Oz, and Olympe in Val Caniparoli’s Lady of the Camellias. She has also been featured in contemporary works such as Concertino by Amy Seiwert, Klein Perspectives by Andi Schermoly, Petite Mort by Jiří Kylián, In the Upper Room by Twyla Tharp, In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated by William Forsythe, and Petal by Helen Pickett. During the pandemic, Mrs. Fu started @dancing_with_murals on social media, a project created to continue spreading the art of dance while exposing the beautiful murals & the artists who painted them, through a time when we needed ART the most. This is her 8th season with Kansas City Ballet.
Joined KCB in 2014
Liang Fu was born in Qingdao, China. He trained at Beijing Dance Academy for 6 years before graduating in 2001. He then went on to dance with Singapore Dance Theatre, Universal Ballet Company and as a Senior Soloist with Cincinnati Ballet before joining Kansas City Ballet in 2014. Mr. Fu was invited to perform at the Gala of Benois de La Danse Competition at The Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, Russia in 2003. In 2005, he was awarded 1st Prize at the 10th Asian Pacific International Ballet Competition in Tokyo, Japan. His classical repertoire includes leading roles such as Siegfried in Swan Lake, Prince Desire in The Sleeping Beauty, Albrecht in Giselle, Romeo in Romeo and Juliet, James in La Sylphide, Oberon in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, D’Artagnan in The Three Musketeers, Escamillo in Carmen, Lucien in Paquita, Jean de Brienne in Raymonda, Snow King and Cavalier in The Nutcracker. As well as in George Balanchine’s The Four Temperaments, Theme and Variations and Diamonds. He has also been featured in contemporary works including Stamping Ground, Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen, Forgotten Land and Petite Mort by Jiří Kylián, In the Upper Room by Twyla Tharp, In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated by William Forsythe, Tabula Rasa by Ohad Naharin, Maninyas by Stanton Welch, The Man in Black by James Kudelka, Lambarena and Vivace by Val Caniparoli, Wunderland by Edwaard Liang and Petal by Helen Pickett.
Joined KCB in 2018
Gavin Abercrombie was born in Acton, California, and began his ballet training at the age of 8 with the Antelope Valley Ballet. During his high school years he trained at The Pittsburgh Ballet Theater School and the San Francisco Ballet School for two years each, and was taught by individuals such as Marjorie Grundvig, Andre Reyes, Patrick Armand, and Parrish Maynard. Mr. Abercrombie then moved to Kansas City and spent two years in Kansas City Ballet’s Second Company before joining the main company. While in Kansas City, he has had the opportunity to perform in many ballets including; Adam Hougland’s Carmina Burana, Twyla Tharp’s In The Upper Room, Helen Pickett’s Petal, Val Caniparoli’s Lady of the Camellias, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa’s Tulips and Lobster, Septime Webre’s The Wizard of Oz, George Balanchine’s Theme and Variations and Diamonds, Devon Carney’s Romeo & Juliet and The Sleeping Beauty, and Stanton Welch’s Play.