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.
The sizzling and crackling of meat, the taste of cold, frothy beer, and the dulcet sound of live tunes can only mean one thing: Bacon Fest is in town. In preparation, local restaurants are lining up in the parking lot at the Rehabilitation Institute of Kansas City to display their mind-boggling array of creatively bacon-centered dishes. Guests traipse amid the booths to sample the wares, drink beer, and bond over their mutual love of the treasured pork delicacy. The Josh Vowell Band and Baconator supply live music, and vendors such as Bakon Vodka, Fogo de Chão, and Paradise Locker Meats supply more palate-pleasing edibles. Fun contests abound, including a bacon-eating contest, a contest for the best bacon-themed T-shirt, and a contest to see who can turn lead into 24-karat bacon. A portion of the event's proceeds goes to benefit the Rehabilitation Institute of Kansas City, which assists newly disabled adults and children with medical rehabilitation and job placement.
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.
Fine Arts Theatres? four venues surround moviegoers with classic silver-screen ambiance as they present the latest independent and mainstream film offerings. Lovingly refurbished neighborhood movie palaces such as the early-20th-century Rio Theatre now boast surround-sound digital audio, high-backed rocker seats with arm-mounted cup holders, and movie trailers acted out by gregarious ticket takers. In addition to flicks opening each week, The Fine Arts Theatres hosts special independent screenings throughout the year including the Kansas International Film Festival (Oct. 10-16th) that features 55 films in 7 days and the Latin American Film Festival every September.