Video employees explore Kansas City Ballet in an aspiring documentary

By Valerie Velikaya

JCAV employees discuss production of the documentary about New Dance Partners. The film will make its debut in early December (pictured from left: Cara Myers, Efrem Duran, Rob Fulton, Andrew Tady, Molly Baumgardner, Joe Petrie). Photo by Valerie Velikaya.

Employees in JCAV are working to create a documentary representing New Dance Partners, a collaboration of the Kansas City Ballet and two local dance companies. The college commissions the project, which made its debut in September 2013. Students involved in the making of the film are working alongside Emmy award-winning filmmaker and video editor, Cara Myers, who offers her perspective on capturing the stunning choreography and dramatic storytelling of each performance.

“She’s been kind of helping us piece together this thing,” said Executive Producer of JCAV and student Andrew Tady. “We’ve never undertaken such a huge project and as part of the grant thing, she is here to help us out.”

During the summer, the college received a $36,689 grant to support New Dance Partners. The grant was issued by the Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission to promote the growth of creative industries.

The video project started in mid-September as JCAV employees followed the dancers to their rehearsals and concerts. During these excursions, the videographers would get a backstage glimpse of the dancers in motion.

“They were only practicing with their choreographers for a couple weeks beforehand so we were filming over those couple weeks and then up to the final performance,” said Producer of JCAV and student Dylan Genis.

The filmmakers traveled to several destinations, including the Todd Bolender Center for Dance & Creativity, UMKC as well as the college where they got a behind-the-scenes look at the dress rehearsals. Each dance troupe performed to a distinctive storyline, dictated by their choreographer; critically-acclaimed dance instructors include Robert Moses, representing the Wylliams/Henry Contemporary Dance Company, Owen/Cox Dance Group, choreographed by Penny Saunders; and Amy Seiwert for the Kansas City Ballet.

“Well, we weren’t really allowed backstage the night of the performance because it’s all about concentration,” said Joe Petrie, adjunct professor of journalism and JCAV adviser. “They were deep into concentration – very locked and focused. That was sort of impressive. It was amazing to see how focused they were – how intense they were. It was also interesting because we got to see the finished product.”

A public screening will be held for the documentary, titled “New Dance Partners,” at 7 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 7 at the Rio Theatre in Overland Park.

The trailer can be viewed here:


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