2008 Ballet in the Park coming soon to a location near you

Bring the kids — and a picnic, if you like — to the Kansas City Ballet’s free 2008 Ballet in the Park performances.

The ballet has announced four performances Sept. 2 through 6: Kansas City’s Loose Park, Leawood’s Ironwoods Park, Gladstone’s Oak Grove Park and Kingsville, Missouri’s Powell Gardens. (Times and addresses are listed below).

Each hour-long program will feature costumed dancers performing "Company B," Paul Taylor’s classic 1991 ballet about American life during World War II.

Set to music by the Andrews Sisters and incorporating 1940s-era costumes and elements of jitterbug and swing dancing, it’s a ballet with broad appeal. Moments of fun balance the work’s poignant reflections on love and war that continue to ring true today.

Thirteen dancers will perform the work’s 10 sequences, including a strenuous male solo performed to Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy and a melancholy couple’s segment, “There Will Never be Another You.”

Ballet in the Park has become an end of summer tradition in Kansas City, and this year the event will include an interactive twist.

A barre will be set up on the stage where artistic director William Whitener will demonstrate movements and positions with members of the ballet and then invite audience members to give it a try.

Each performance will feature booths with costumes and props, an opportunity to register for door prizes and a chance to talk with the dancers and get their autographs on free Kansas City Ballet posters.

Admission is free. For more information, call 816-931-2232 or visit

Times and places

  • 6 p.m. Tuesday Sept. 2 at Loose Park, Kansas City, Mo
  • 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 4, Sept. 4 at Ironwoods Park, 147th St. and Mission Rd., Leawood
  • Noon Saturday, Sept. 6, Sept. 6 at Oak Grove Park, 76th & Troost, Gladstone
  • 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 6, Sept. 6 at Powell Gardens, Kingsville, Mo. (no charge for park entry after 5:30 p.m.)
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