Review: CELTS at KC Ballet

KC Ballet returns to the Kauffman stage

By: Oct. 17, 2021

Review: CELTS at KC Ballet Friday night saw the long-delayed debut of "Celts", a trio of dance performances going from Tchaikovsky to the Chieftains, with Philip Glass in between. Originally meant to close out the 2019-20 season, we need hardly go into the reasons for the performance's delay. Suffice to say that this season opener occurred exactly 600 days after the last performance on the Kauffman stage and leave it at that.

So, to the performances. First was "Serenade", Balanchine's first American ballet, revered to this day as one of the seminal moments in the history of American classical dance. Begun as an exercise in technique, Balanchine's bag of tricks is relentless and innovative, even after over eighty years. As the performance went on, it was very clear that the KCB companies have not been idle; they were pin-sharp in following Balanchine's demanding choreography. It is a tremendous work, both in itself and in the opportunity it gives the ballet fan to reflect upon what has changed as a result of the ground set here.

Next was "Wunderland", a fantasia of sorts created by Edwaard Liang to the music of Philip Glass (and where would modern dance be without Philip Glass?). Inspired by a fanciful vision in a snow globe, this is a very intense and modern piece (it premiered in 2009), filled with extraordinary athleticism. Of note is the accompaniment provided by the Opus 76 Quartet and pianist Ramona Pansegrau. This was a relentless, memorable performance, and easily this reviewer's favorite piece of the evening.

Finally, there was "Celts", choreographed by Lila York and featuring a variety of celtic artists. This was a mix of modern dance and traditional line dancing. Now, this reviewer must admit themselves not a fan of the Irish jig style; no matter how skillfully done (and it is quite skillfully done here), it simply leaves yours truly unmoved. There was quite a good male sextet that broke from the mould and provided a few moments of lively interest, but then it was back to the jigs again. To these, I must in all fairness reserve judgement, and defer to those more inclined to appreciate the form.

Overall, the night was a success. The three pieces were of such variety as to suit the tastes of any contemporary audience, and the dancers were in excellent form. In short, it was as strong a return to the Kauffman as one could hope for.

BroadwayWorld Awards Voting


Latest Standings Announced For The 2023 BroadwayWorld Kansas City Awards;  Leads Favorite  Photo
Latest Standings Announced For The 2023 BroadwayWorld Kansas City Awards; Leads Favorite Local Theatre!

Happy Holidays! The latest wave of standings have been announced as of Monday, November 27th for the 2023 BroadwayWorld Kansas City Awards! Don't miss out on making sure that your favorite theatres, stars, and shows get the recognition they deserve!

Review: A CHRISTMAS CAROL at Kansas City Repertory Theatre Photo
Review: A CHRISTMAS CAROL at Kansas City Repertory Theatre

Last night, November 21, 2023, a Kansas City tradition, the 42rd annual (almost) Kansas City Repertory Theatre production of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” opened at the Spencer Theater on the UMKC campus for an extended run through Christmas Eve. Except for the Covid year when the live production was replaced by a video version, audiences have gathered for “A Christmas Carol” since 1980. The house lights dim and a cast of Victorian holiday carolers appear complete with an onstage costumed orchestra. Our Storyteller (Nedra Dixon) also dressed in stunning early Victorian garb, welcomes us. Ms. Dixon is elegant and charming in this her first stint as the Storyteller.

Review: WE ARE BLOOD at OCTA Theater Photo
Review: WE ARE BLOOD at OCTA Theater

Thought-provoking, humorous, suspenseful, and not your normal holiday story, are the words that best describe WE ARE BLOOD, now playing at the Olathe Civic Theatre Association in Olathe, Kansas. The 90-minute drama written and directed by Ryan Bernsten runs through November 20 at the theater.

Full Cast and Creatives Announced For ITS A WONDERFUL LIFE at Music Theatre Heritage Photo
Full Cast and Creatives Announced For IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE at Music Theatre Heritage

Music Theater Heritage, the professional theater in residence at Crown Center, has announced casting for its holiday production It's A Wonderful Life: a live radio play. The production is directed by MTH Artistic Associate Emily Shackelford.

From This Author - Kelly Luck

Kelly has been writing for theatre since she first came to Kansas City in 2011. She's a lifelong theater lover, and has written for several local and online publications. She still lives in Kansas... Kelly Luck">(read more about this author)


Rabbit Hole in Kansas City Rabbit Hole
Summit Theatre Group Studio (12/01-12/09)Tracker
On Your Feet (Non-Equity) in Kansas City On Your Feet (Non-Equity)
Midwest Trust Center [Yardley Hall] (12/03-12/03)
A Christmas Carol in Kansas City A Christmas Carol
Arrow Rock Lyceum Theatre (12/15-12/23)
MJ in Kansas City MJ
Kansas City Music Hall (5/07-5/12)
The Session in Kansas City The Session
Just Off Broadway Theatre (2/08-2/17)
Moulin Rouge! in Kansas City Moulin Rouge!
Kansas City Music Hall (7/23-8/04)
'The Simon & Garfunkel Story' in Kansas City 'The Simon & Garfunkel Story'
Midwest Trust Center at Johnson County Community College (4/28-4/28)
Mamma Mia! in Kansas City Mamma Mia!
Kansas City Music Hall (3/05-3/10)
Tina: The Tina Turner Musical in Kansas City Tina: The Tina Turner Musical
Kansas City Music Hall (12/05-12/10)
'Alice: Dreaming of Wonderland' in Kansas City 'Alice: Dreaming of Wonderland'
Midwest Trust Center at Johnson County Community College (4/11-4/11)

Recommended For You