December 1, 2023

Nutcracker Ball

Join us for the 56th annual gala!

Friday, December 1, 2023
The Westin Kansas City at Crown Center

Celebrate the holiday season at Kansas City Ballet Guild’s annual gala, the Nutcracker Ball. The Westin Kansas City at Crown Center, a partner organization of Kansas City Ballet, will provide a delightful setting for the Ball, along with delicious cuisine, special presentations by Kansas City Ballet School Students, and after-dinner dancing with music by local band Kokomo.

Proceeds from the Nutcracker Ball provide essential support for our Kansas City Ballet, a nationally recognized company. Your gift enables our dancers to perform classical and contemporary ballets by gifted national and international choreographers.

Have questions? Contact Jo Anne Dondlinger.

Tickets are sold out for this year, we hope you’ll join us in 2024. 

Ball Honorary Chairmen
Susan Lordi Marker and Dennis Marker

Ball Chairman
Jo Anne Dondlinger


Become a Benefactor Today!

Benefactor levels start at $750 and go up to $65,000. Please download this form to see all levels and benefits.

As a Nutcracker Ball benefactor, you are also invited to enjoy a fabulous cocktail party at The American Restaurant on Wednesday, November 29, 2023.

All Ball benefactor levels will receive recognition in the Ball invitation and program book as well as in Kansas City Ballet program books and website.

Benefactor levels of $5,000 and greater also receive membership benefits for The Bolender Society with exclusive invitations to special events.

The benefactor level may include corporate matching funds.

Benefactor Sponsorships

2023 Nutcracker Ball Chairman Jo Anne Dondlinger pictured with Kansas City Ballet Guild President Cyndi James. Photo by Strauss Peyton Portrait Studio.

2023 Nutcracker Ball Honorary Chairmen

The Kansas City Ballet Guild is proud to present Susan Lordi Marker and Dennis Marker as the 2023 Nutcracker Ball Honorees. The Markers have been season subscribers since friends introduced them to Kansas City Ballet about 20 years ago. Dennis is a retired financial advisor, and Susan is a textile artist and sculptor. Susan finds great inspiration for her art through dance.

“One of my favorite KCB moments,” says Susan, “happened years ago. I saw Lark Ascending. It just sent chills. I realized then that ballet has so much power!” Susan is the artist behind the Willow Tree brand of figurative sculpture. It has become the family business with Dennis, their daughter Sara, son David and Susan’s sister Karen all involved.

Susan was on Kansas City Ballet’s Board of Directors for nine years, serving as chair of The Bolender Society for four years. Dennis served on the campaign committee for the Bolender Center. Together, Susan and Dennis have established two endowment funds to support KC Ballet. The first was created in 2012 to fund special initiatives in costuming. The second endowment was established during the Ballet’s Moving Into the Future Campaign to support excellence in choreography.

Thank you to Susan and Dennis for supporting Kansas City Ballet and the community!

2023 Nutcracker Ball Honorary Chairmen Dennis Marker and Susan Lordi Marker. Photo by Strauss Peyton Portrait Studio.

Benefactor Levels

For More Information

Contact Ball Chairmen Jo Anne Dondlinger at 816.381.6942 or

Presented by Kansas City Ballet Guild

The Kansas City Ballet Guild was formed in 1961 by a group of KCB dancers’ parents to promote interest in and provide financial assistance to the company. Since then, the Guild has been integral to the success of the professional, world-class Kansas City Ballet. More than 170 members strong, these men and women enjoy special educational programming, exclusive access to company dancers, and have a lot of fun! Their activities also raise significant necessary funds for the company’s repertory, its community and educational programs, and the KCB archives.

Learn More

Kansas City Ballet Board of Directors Chairman Julia Irene Kauffman, 2021 Ball Co-Chairman Karen Yungmeyer, Kansas City Ballet Executive Director Jeffrey J. Bentley, and 2021 Nutcracker Ball Co-Chairman Tempe Ostergren Elsberry.

Nutcracker Ball 2023 Benefactors

Contributors as of September 13, 2023. We regret any errors or omissions.

Muriel McBrien Kauffman Family Foundation

Dennis and Susan Lordi Marker

Muriel McBrien Kauffman Family Foundation

Jo Anne and Bill Dondlinger
Elsberry Family Foundation – Anne and Howard Elsberry
Joan Horan
John and Mary Hunkeler
Bonne and Clifford W. Illig
Kao Family Foundation
Leslie Pfriem
Greg and Barbara Storm

Peggy and Andrew Beal
Dr. Stephen and Susan Bubb
CIGNA Healthcare of Kansas
and Missouri
Commerce Bank
Vicki and Mark Dickerson
Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation
Sue Ann and Richard Fagerberg
Michael D. Fields
Melissa Ford & Eric Molloy / Park University
Dr. Roger and Sandy Jackson
Cyndi James
J. E. Dunn Construction Company
Mr. Jerry T. Katlin and Mr. Dan DeLeon
Lathrop GPM LLP – Paula and
Jack Rowe
Lockton Companies, Inc.
Edward Milbank
Kathy and Justin Nemechek / Berkowitz Oliver LLP
Richard J. Stern Foundation for the Arts – Commerce Bank, Trustee
Gigi and Gary Rose
Susan and Glen Sands
Suzanne Shank
Juliette Singer and Ian Spinks
State Street
Kathy Stepp and Howard Rothwell / Tom and Loren Whitaker
Stratus Group LLC – Courtney and Peggy Jones
Angela and John Walker
Mr. Bill Weaver and
Ms. Crystal O’Dea
Lynne and Carl Weilert
Sarah Ye
Dr. and Mrs. John Yungmeyer



Andy and Kathy Anderson
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas City
Claire and Joe Brand
Delta Dental of Kansas
Marilyn A.W. Gaar and Norman E. Gaar, Esq.
Jill Ingram Reynolds
Dana Koehn / Sanofi
Troy and Angela Moore
Dr. Dan and Rev. Jeanie Murphy
United Healthcare
Brian Weith and Michele Hamlett-Weith / Cboe Global Markets

Anna and John Allen
Ivan and Karla Batlle
Bruce and Vicki Baxter
Jack and Jo Anna Beal
Sarah Bent and Craig Thompson
Carol Blum and Steven Wilson
Dr. Angelo & Mrs. Joan Brisimitzakis
Dr. Robert and Pam Bruce
Dr. Kenneth and Mrs. Norma
Dennis and Marilyn Christopher
Dr. Akin and Ms. Ayca Cil
Vince and Julie Clark
Creative Planning Foundation
Randy and Edie Downing
Steve and Cathy Doyal
Peggy and Terry Dunn
Rev. and Mrs. William Fasel
Frances and George Gerritz
Lisa and Steven Glassman
Ms. Cynthia L. Hampton
Shirley and Barnett C. Helzberg, Jr.
Mary Beth and Hank Hershey
Lisa Merrill Hickok
Mr. & Mrs. Robert and Cindy Hisle
Jackson and Gamble Family /
Linda and Topper Johntz
Dr. Karen M. Jordan
Kansas City Bone & Joint Clinic
Kansas City Orthopedic Alliance
Regina and Bill Kort
Siobhan McLaughlin Lesley
The Lighton Fund – Linda Lighton and Lynn Adkins
Bill Lindsay and Jan Foletta
Nanette and Ken Lippincott
Julia and Greg Malter
Mrs. Bobbie A. Mathes
McAnany Construction
Mr. and Mrs. William McVay
Bob and Kay Moffat

Barbara Clarke Nash
New York Life Insurance Company
Barbara Nicely
Carolyn and Bill Parkerson
Drs. Charles and Susan Porter
Reliance Standard Life Insurance Company
John Rufenacht Associates
Lisa and Charles Schellhorn
Sunday Siragusa, Pauline Siragusa
Henne, and Felicia Siragusa Bondi
Lisa and Christopher Sirridge
Mr. and Mrs. Thomas and
Sharon Soetaert
The Standard – Standard Insurance Company
Jody Shelton Stephen
Suhor Family Foundation – Joe and Carol Suhor, Trustees
Curt Thomas & Peter Sunderman
Myron and Nicole Wang
Mr. Jeff Whitman
Dr. Michael J. Wurm and Cindy Wurm


Melinda L. Beal
Joni and Chuck Etherington
Melanie Fenske
Ms. Demetria Johnson
Lundy Joyce
Patricia Macdonald
Alan McDermott
Carol Meierotto – Meierotto Jewelers
Linda Singer and Louis Klein Jr.
Don and Robin Sumple

Kenny Johnson Photography
Strauss Peyton Photography
2 Friends Printing
The Westin Kansas City at Crown Center

Pirouette Award

The Kansas City Ballet Guild proudly presents the Annual Pirouette Award to a person or persons who have contributed extraordinary amounts of time, talent, and energy in a voluntary capacity to benefit the Kansas City Ballet and the performing arts community.

1983 R. Crosby Kemper, Jr
1984 Richard Harriman
1985 Patricia McIlrath
1986 Jeannette Nichols
1987 James Costin
1988 Russell Patterson
1989 Paul H. Henson
1990 Todd Bolender
1991 Jay McShann
1992 George E. Powell, Jr.
1993 Muriel I. Kauffman
1994 Mr. & Mrs. Henry W. Bloch
1995 Hallmark Cards, Inc.

1996 Patricia Judd
1997 Anonymous
1998 Estelle Ellis
1999 Valentine Radford
2000 Mr. & Mrs. Donald Sanders
2001 Julia Irene Kauffman
2002 Mr. & Mrs. Landon Rowland
2003 DeVette Ashley
2004 J. Scott Francis
2005 Mr. and Mrs. W. Anthony Feiock
2006 Rick Poccia / M&I Bank
2007 Vicki Baxter
2008 Wendy Powell

2009 Shirley Helzberg
2010 Dr. and Mrs. Michael D. Frost
2011 Mr. William H. Dunn, Sr.
2012 Sally Wood (in memoriam)
2013 G. Mark Sappington
2014 James Jordon
2015 Barbara Storm
2016 Lisa Merrill Hickok
2017 Elizabeth Hard Simms
2018 Frank Byrne
2019 Sue Ann Fagerberg
2020 Bank of America
2021 Dr. John D. Hunkeler
2022 Barbara Nash

Nutcracker Ball 2022

The Kansas City Ballet Guild’s 55th annual fundraiser gala was held on December 3rd at The Westin Kansas City at Crown Center. Angela and John Walker served as the co-chairmen. Barbara and Greg Storm served as the honorary chairmen.

Melissa Ford, Guild President, and Jeffrey J. Bentley, Kansas City Ballet Executive Director, presented the annual Pirouette Award to Barbara Nash. The Guild also recognized Mr. Bentley’s contributions in his 25th and final season as the Ballet’s Executive Director.

In addition to a cocktail reception, dinner and dancing, benefactors and guests enjoyed a beautiful thank you video from Kansas City Ballet company dancers, academy students, and community engagement program students, as well as a video collage of recent Kansas City Ballet performances.

Photography by Kenny Johnson