Bodies turn and twirl in the air, suspended from the rafters with colorful silks. Whether during a performance or class, the staff and students of Voler–Thieves of Flight Aerial Academy inspire awe with aerial dance and acrobatics. The academy’s professional ensemble includes ballet and modern dancers, along with circus artists, all of whom add their skills to lofty choreography on swings, silks, and hoops. The Voler ensemble has also performed at more than 30 notable locations including the Kansas city and Chicago fringe festivals and the Kansas City Renaissance Festival.
The academy’s primary purpose is teaching, of course, and three levels of classes instruct participants on the finer points of contorting on silks and practicing spirals, suspension, and falls.
"Cooking: Possible" splits the spotlight between celebrity chef Robert Irvine, star of the Food Network's Dinner: Impossible and Restaurant: Impossible, and Jonathon Sawyer, sous chef for Michael Symon on Iron Chef America and owner of Greenhouse Tavern. During the show, the hash-slinging savants pepper engaging cooking demos with video segments from Irvine's popular television series. A large screen perched above the stage pours elaborate views of each dish into the audience, including detailed close-ups and a kiss cam for snuggling potatoes.
Founded in 1957, Kansas City Ballet holds rank amongst the top ballet institutions in the U.S. At its two locations—including one at the newly renovated Bolender Center for Dance & Creativity—the company divides its services between two divisions. On the Academy side, more than 20 instructors utilize their varied performing backgrounds to school aspiring professionals in dance, beginning with children ages 3 and up.
But you don’t have to yearn for the spotlight to tap into Kansas City Ballet’s wisdom. For recreational steppers, or those simply hoping to make trips to the grocery store more interesting by pirouetting down the aisles, the company also features a Studio division aimed at dancers of all ages and abilities. There, fitness and fun get blended into a schedule of classes that includes Zumba, flamenco, and jazz, as well as Pilates, yoga, and boot camp-style offerings.
Ian Staten was a naval officer stationed in Italy when the dancing bug bit him. "I went to this huge night club in Italy," he reveals in his DanceStar bio. "I can remember seeing all these beautiful girls standing around waiting for someone to dance with. There was only one guy in the room who really knew how to dance." As he watched left-footed cohorts sit idly by, Ian decided he wanted to be able to join the ladies on the dance floor. This desire blossomed into the passion for dance that eventually inspired him to open DanceStar. Alongside instructors who have at least a decade of dancing experience, Ian leads classes that cover styles ranging from hip-hop to Argentine tango. Each intense aerobic session caters exclusively to adults and facilitates natural socializing, much like limiting hide-and-seek options to one cabinet.
Quality Hill Playhouse parts its curtains through October 23 for Noël and Gertie, devised by Sheridan Morley and featuring the words and music of Noël Coward. One of six musicals and cabaret revues the theater puts on annually, Noël and Gertie is based on Coward's own diaries and musical compositions and delves into the friendship of two former stage personalities, Noël Coward (Robert Gibby Brand) and Gertrude Lawrence (Melinda MacDonald). The witty and occasionally heartfelt performance celebrates the fun and sophistication of the roaring '20s without the drawback of state-mandated lessons to learn the Charleston. Quality Hill Playhouse's intimate 153-seat theater ensures patrons don't miss a single sight or sound, and the newly renovated lobby bristles with casual elegance. Multiple performances take to the stage each week in order to accommodate busy schedules and revisit important plot points for forgetful goldfish.