"This building has a wrecking ball with its name on it." This was a phrase that the executive director of the Kansas City Ballet gave annually and sometimes bi-annually for over half of my career with the company. The motivation behind it was that the building that we were in was only temporary. It sat on the grounds of what is now becoming the Kauffman Center for the the Performing Arts.
In 2007, the wrecking ball did indeed come, but not until we had moved across the street to our current temporary space. The new space is much larger than the old one was, but again-it is only temporary.
Today, I had the joy of attending the brick-laying ceremony for the Todd Bolender Center for Dance and Creativity. This will be the permanent home for the Kansas City Ballet. It was such a lovely and exciting occasion. I felt as if I was seeing history be made, and I was thrilled to be a part of it.
I had the honor of writing a passage for the time capsule which will be in the new building and opened in about fifty years. That was strange for me because I wrote from the perspective that I may no longer be around! It was amazing to try to speak to an audience who would quite possibly have no idea who I was-to be a ghost-like presence to them. It was a huge experience to try to relay a message from the grave so to speak.
Today at the ceremony, my eyes welled up with tears several times. Listening to the words of the people who spoke and hearing and seeing the passion that has gone into all of this was enthralling. To see the pride in the eyes of people who have been envisioning a day like this for longer than I have been dancing-not just here with Kansas City Ballet, but for my whole life of dancing! There was always a dream in the founding directors hearts for this to be a thriving and ever growing company and school. Mr. Bolender especially had a desire to see a day like this come.
Today, one person was missing for me. That was Mr. Bolender. I didn't know him nearly as long as some of the people I work with did, but in the time I did, he taught me so much. Just as I may be watching from beyond this world when the time capsule is opened and my letter is read, I feel that Mr. Bolender was not far from us all today as we gathered to do much more than lay a few bricks and kick off a building. We gathered to pay homage to a man who changed the face of ballet in Kansas City. He was a man who humbly dared to dream. He pushed everyone to achieve greatness-not just the dancers but also the community. Today, we witnessed his legacy continuing to unfold. What a beautiful journey this is going to be for the Kansas City Ballet and city together. Way to go Mr. Bolender.