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Summer Celebration! The Wizard of Oz

Summer Celebration! The Wizard of Oz

Benefit Performance for Kansas Ballet’s Youth Outreach Programs
Tickets: $20/Adult + $12/Child:

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Ticket price includes:
6:00 P.M.
- Pre-show Q&A with professional guest dancers
- Kid-approved treats & fun activities

7:00 P.M.
- Entrance to the ballet performance

All ticket proceeds benefit Kansas Ballet's youth outreach programs for Boys and Girls Clubs of Topeka & Topeka Public Schools.


Act I features guest artists Nicole Graniero and Oscar Sanchez of The Washington Ballet and Liang Fu and Elysa Hotchkiss of Kansas City Ballet. As part of Kansas Ballet’s Visiting Artist program, the guest dancers lead master classes with the summer intensive students of Kansas Ballet Academy. The Visiting Artist program is funded in part by the Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission (KCAIC), which receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts.


Kansas Ballet performing at the 2019 District Rotary Conference.    Photo: Keith Horinek for KSNT

Kansas Ballet performing at the 2019 District Rotary Conference.

Photo: Keith Horinek for KSNT

Act I includes excerpts from Don Quixote (Ms. Graniero and Mr. Sanchez), a contemporary Pas de Deux (Ms. Hotchkiss and Mr. Fu), as well as over 80 Academy students demonstrating a range of genres. The Showcase features choreography by Kansas Ballet faculty: Jeff Potter (Modern), Amy Reazin (Pilates), Chelsea Campbell (Jazz), Russian Character Dance (Alexander Smirnov), and Classical Repertory (Stephanie Heston).

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Act II features Academy dancers in the beloved childhood classic, The Wizard of Oz. This original ballet, choreographed by Kansas Ballet Artistic Directors Stephanie Heston and Alexander Smirnov, made its debut in 2014 and has delighted families at multiple venues across Northeast Kansas, including the Columbian Theater in Wamego. This charming one-act ballet reimagines everyone’s favorite tale of Dorothy Gale’s trip to Oz.

Tickets are on sale now at https://www.tututix.com/client/kansasballet/
or by calling TutuTix at 855-222-2849.

The summer performance is a culmination of three weeks of intensive study by students at Kansas Ballet Academy. Academy dancers train several hours per day, five days per week to prepare for the event, while they participate in special workshops and coaching sessions with the visiting artists.

As part of our summer camp programming at Boys & Girls Clubs, over 100 BGCT campers will be introduced to the Wizard of Oz ballet, and invited to attend the Summer Celebration as special guests of Kansas Ballet. Participating clubs include Tecumseh North, Tecumseh South, Northern Hills, Montara, and the Teen Center.

Kansas Ballet’s Visiting Artist program is funded in part by the Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission (KCAIC), which receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. We are deeply grateful for additional support provided by these Summer Celebration partners: Ramada Topeka Downtown Hotel and Convention Center, Capitol Federal Foundation, and Topeka Performing Arts Center.


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Nicole Graniero of New York City is in her fourth season with The Washington Ballet. She studied at Studio Maestro, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School, and summer intensives at American Ballet Theatre. Graniero joined American Ballet Theatre and was promoted to a full company member in 2006. She was sponsored by the Georgia Hiden Charitable Foundation and danced many featured roles in ballets choreographed by Ashton, Balanchine, Kudelka, Kylián, Millepied, Morris, Petipa, Ratmansky, Taylor, Tharp, and Tippet. She continues to dance with with American Ballet Theatre as a guest artist. She was featured in the 2014 short film On a Grass Field.

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Oscar Sanchez is in his third season with The Washington Ballet. Sanchez was born in Havana, Cuba in 1991 and started dancing at the age of 15 at the Alejo Carpentier Elementary School. He finished training at The National Ballet School “Ena”. After graduation, Sanchez continued on to The National Ballet of Cuba where he danced many roles, including Hilarion from Giselle, Mazurka in Coppélia, Majisimo and others. He recently arrived in the United States and has proudly been a part of The Cuban Classical Ballet of Miami where he danced Le Corsaire pas de deux, Fairy Doll, Les Sylphides, and Diana and Acteon. He was principal dancer with the Columbia City Ballet for the 2014.15 season where he danced many roles. In January 2015, he received the Award for “Best Dancer of Miami” at the Miami Life Awards.

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Liang Fu joined Kansas City Ballet in 2014. He was born in Qingdao, China, and received his training from Beijing Dance Academy. Upon graduating in 2001, he has danced with Singapore Dance Theatre, Universal Ballet Company and as a Senior Soloist with Cincinnati Ballet. Mr. Fu won the 1st prize at the 10th Asian Pacific International Ballet Competition in Tokyo, Japan in 2005. During his career, he has danced many leading roles in classical ballets such as Siegfried in Swan Lake, Prince Desire in The Sleeping Beauty, Albrecht in Giselle, James in La Sylphide and Cavalier in The Nutcracker. He has also enjoyed dancing contemporary works by Jiří Kylián, Twyla Tharp, Ohad Naharin, Stanton Welch,James Kudelka, Val Caniparoli, Edwaard Liang and Yuri Possokhov.

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Elysa Hotchkiss joined Kansas City Ballet in 2015. She was born in Erie, Pennsylvania, and received her early training with the Lake Erie Ballet School. In 2003 she was offered a full scholarship to attend Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre’s Graduate Program. She then joined Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre as a company member in 2004 and was promoted to soloist in 2011. As a dancer with Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, she enjoyed performing such roles as Gamzatti in La Bayadere, Mercedes in Don Quixote, Myrtha in Giselle, Russian Girl in Serenade, the lead in Dwight Rhoden’s Carmina Burana, Lady Capulet in Jean-Christophe Maillot’s Romeo et Juliette, the Sugar Plum Fairy in Terrence Orr’s The Nutcracker, Flora in Dracula and the principal pas de deux in Balanchine’s Agon.

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