Devon Carney’s artistic vision for the Kansas City Ballet soars on the Kauffman stage.
Get to know Devon Carney, one of the men elevating Kansas City who we’re highlighting in our Reppin’ KC series.
Story by Alex Hoffman | Photos by Landon Vonderschmidt
Watching the expression on a guest’s face as that person walks into the Kauffman Center lobby for the first time is something that Devon Carney always loves.
“It’s great bragging rights to have that kind of iconic image that you can present to people who are coming here from out of town,” says Carney, who wrapped up his second season as the artistic director of the Kansas City Ballet. “And in the dance world, with our fabulous facility we have here [The Todd Bolender Center for Dance & Creativity], shoot, there aren’t many ballet studios like this in the country that have repurposed an existing structure and taken its best qualities and turned it into a world-class facility for dance. It’s a win-win situation for me. I can speak of our rehearsal facility as well as our performance space and it’s difficult for me to describe them in as best a light as they actually are. You have to come here and see it. It’s that good.”
A New Orleans native and the son of professors who were both artistically inclined, Carney’s influences as a dancer vary from neoclassicists like George Balanchine to 21st century icons like Mark Morris. It’s that balance between the classics and new ballets that Carney tries to program into each season.
“Dancers are attracted to that kind of thing. They want both. You can’t do all of one or all of the other, because you stagnate in either direction,” Carney says. “So my artistic vision is that I want a company that can do it all and have the strength, technique, the chops to be able to pull it off.”