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The nutcracker

Postponed until December 2021

A Message from our Directors

Dear Kansas Ballet friends and families,

At KBA, the health and safety of our dance family is always our top priority – from our talented and committed students, to our dedicated staff and instructors, to our wonderfully supportive caregivers and friends – each of you is a critical part of our Dream Big Team.

Given all available data regarding the continued community spread of Covid-19 in Shawnee County, and in consultation with local health experts, we are deeply disappointed to announce that our annual event, Kansas Ballet and Topeka Symphony Orchestra Present The Nutcracker has been canceled for the 2020 season. The 2020 production would have been our 8th year of presenting The Nutcracker on the stage of the beautiful Topeka Performing Arts Center, with live musical accompaniment, and we are all truly heartbroken that the uncertainties surrounding the pandemic have impacted this beloved holiday tradition. The features that make Kansas Ballet’s full Nutcracker presentation so special – national guest artists, a student cast of over 150 dancers, full orchestra, an extensive professional crew as well as dozens of backstage volunteers, and a diverse audience made up of ticket-holders from across the Northeast region of Kansas – are simply too complex to translate to a format that is both compliant with local health protocols and also financially feasible.

Now, the good news: We still ask that our dancers save this date: December 19, 2020. 😊

Kansas Ballet is currently in planning discussions with our friends at TPAC to host small-group Winter Showcase performances at the Topeka Performing Arts Center on December 19th. Nothing brightens the holidays quite like Twirling Candy Canes and Waltzing Snowflakes and this year we need the joy of dance in our lives more than ever! In the coming days we will provide more details regarding costs, time commitments and safety requirements for performers. In July, we piloted a similar model for our 2020 Summer Showcase, limiting the audience to “pods” of family and friends of the student dancers, and we found that this approach worked well to keep everyone safe. (We will, of course, continue to adapt our planning to all Covid-related health guidelines and restrictions in effect.)

Please know that we have every intention of keeping our traditional full production of The Nutcracker alive, and hope to be back to full capacity in December 2021. We are all incredibly grateful for the outpouring of support we have received from our KBA families and friends these past several months. The Kansas Ballet family is strong! We have full confidence that we will all get through this together and come out even stronger on the other side.

We look forward to updating you with more performance details soon. Thank you so much for your support.

Stephanie Heston & Alexander Smirnov, Artistic Directors, Kansas Ballet
Robin Wolgast, President, Kansas Ballet Board of Directors



With Topeka Symphony Orchestra

Join Clara’s adventures with the Nutcracker Prince, his army of toy soldiers, and their plan to defeat the evil Mouse King!  Enjoy this dazzling holiday classic, performed with live musical accompaniment by Topeka Symphony Orchestra.  Each year, we are proud to feature student dancers from Kansas Ballet Academy along with visiting guest artists from renowned companies such as Joffrey Ballet, Boston Ballet, and Ballet West.

2019 Featured guest artists


Oscar Sanchez is in his fifth season with The Washington Ballet. Sanchez was born in Havana, Cuba in 1991 and started training at the age of 15 at The National Ballet School “ENA”. After graduation, Sanchez continued onto The National Ballet of Cuba where he danced many roles, including Hilarion from Giselle, Mazurka in Coppélia, Majisimo and others. In 2014 he arrived in the United States. He has proudly been a part of The Cuban Classical Ballet of Miami as principal guest artist where he danced Le Corsaire pas de deux, Les Sylphides, Diana and Acteon,Spring Water pas de deux, as well as many other ballets. In 2014 he joined Columbia City Ballet as a principal dancer where he performed in Dracula, The Nutcracker, and Cinderella. In January 2015, he received the Award for “Best Dancer of Miami” at the Miami Life Awards. Sanchez has performed in international ballet galas in ballet festivals in Panama, Costa Rica, and Miami. Photo by XMB Photography.



Kateryna Derechyna of Ukraine is in her seventh season with The Washington Ballet. She trained at the Odessa Ballet Academy under Elvira Karavaeva where she performed at the Odessa Ballet Opera house. Derechyna won first place in The International Competition in Kiev and Youth America Grand Prix. After performing with the Youth American Grand Prix she was awarded a full scholarship to the Harid Conservatory. Upon graduation from Harid, she danced for the Columbia Classical Ballet, Carolina Dance Theatre, and Grand Rapids Ballet Company. Derechyna’s repertoire includes Gordon Peirce Schmidt’s Petra, The Tempest, Rite of Spring, and Firebird among others. She has performed principal roles in George Balanchine’s Prodigal Son, Who Cares?, Valse Fantaisie, Serenade, Theme and Variations along with contemporary works by Septime Webre, Twyla Tharp, Trey Mclntyre, Christopher Wheeldon, Olivier Wevers, Jiří Kylián, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, Lew Christiansen, Christopher Bruce, Val Caniparoli, and Amy Seiwert. Photo by XMB Photography.​


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visiting artist program

Our visiting artist program is made possible by funding from Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as hospitality sponsorship from Ramada Topeka, Downtown Hotel & Convention Center. These local partners help us bring world-class guest artists to Topeka, and we appreciate all that they do for our community.