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.
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.
As UMKC’s resident theater company, Kansas City Repertory Theatre performs professional-grade productions under its nationally lauded artistic director, Eric Rosen. This season’s theatrical selection features the musical classic Cabaret, alongside the thought-provoking, one-man show Another American: Asking and Telling, the Obie-award-winning comedy Circle Mirror Transformation, and the famously “impossible to produce” adventure Peer Gynt. Check the regular season showtimes and seating charts to plan your visit; call to reserve your tickets all at once, or schedule your trips separately, in accordance with your celestial horoscope.
American Jazz Museum’s annual Rhythm & Ribs Jazz and Blues Festival is a one-day music extravaganza that colludes the talents of soulful singers, strummers, horn blowers, and string twangers across three performance stages. Headlining the event, the seven-member band War (10 p.m.–11:30 p.m.) blasts its funk melodies into the air. Before War takes the stage, Bobby “Blue” Bland (7:30 p.m.–9 p.m.) serenades the audience with sultry favorites, such as his rendition of Bill Withers' “Ain’t No Sunshine,” after Christian McBride with Inside Straight (5 p.m.–6:30 p.m.) cues the miniature musician living inside his standup bass to play a euphony of soul. Throughout the day, patrons can indulge in fare from local food vendors (not included with this Groupon) such as City Bar-B-Q, snacking until their fingers are covered with enough sauce to ensure easy snapping.
For the past 23 years, the Kansas City funny house has been splitting sides like a hatchet splits cookies. Choose from Improv Sports, performed weekly at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and at 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, or opt for the mature-audience-only show, Chaos Theatre, at 10 p.m. on Saturday. View an interactive calendar of performers and showtimes here.