Ballet company excited about new space in Delano

06/15/2014 8:08 AM

08/08/2014 10:34 AM

Alana Veges never thought she would be involved with ballet – let alone for nearly 30 years. Now she’s the board president of Ballet Wichita.

“From the time my daughter could talk, she said she wanted to dance ballet,” Veges said. “She was enthralled.”

That was in 1983. Veges’ ballerina daughter has graduated from college and gone on to a career in business. Although she lives in Florida, she comes back for the Ballet Wichita’s annual performance of “The Nutcracker.”

“She doesn’t come back for Christmas,” Veges said. “It’s always ‘The Nutcracker.’ ”

Veges started out sewing with other parents in one of the many studios Ballet Wichita had rented throughout its more than 40-year history.

This fall, Ballet Wichita moved into a new space at 1600 W. Douglas.

“We are now in one facility: storage, studio and office,” Veges said. “It’s amazing to see what the company has acquired over its 40 years.”

Jill Landrith, the company’s artistic director, couldn’t be happier. She is busy planning master classes that are open to both company dancers and the community.

“It’s a thrill to be in that venue,” Landrith said.

Although Ballet Wichita has a new space, it will not stop touring. The aim, in fact, is to increase touring.

“We want to bring ballet to other places in Kansas that maybe their community doesn’t have,” Landrith said. “Seeing something live is so much more fun than watching a YouTube clip.”

Along with the company’s tried-and-true “Nutcracker,” it offers the free Ballet in the Park series during the summer. It also continues to help with the Final Friday at the Fisch Haus.

Dancers continually change poses as artists sit and draw.

“People are frantically sketching,” Landrith said. “It’s a hugely popular event.”

In addition to the company’s 5K Art Run, the new dance space, master classes and more tours for “The Nutcracker,” Landrith plans to start a touring show next spring. She is also partnering with other organizations to try to garner more awareness for both groups. Soon the dancers will perform with pets as the company pairs with Lifeline Animal Placement and Protection, a local animal shelter.

“We’re utilizing dancers and their adoptable animals,” Landrith said. “They are a no-kill shelter, and we’re trying to get more awareness for them. We want to bring organizations together.”

The company is also excited about bringing all the dancers and costumes under one roof in Delano.

“We needed a physical identity,” Veges said. “Now we have one.”

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