Supporters Like You

Read about supporters who are sharing their passion for dance.

“I want Kansas City to be recognized as a top cultural city. We have a top facility and a fantastic ballet company, I want the world to know about our cultural gem: Kansas City Ballet.”

—Colette Majerle, KCB Supporter

Colette and James Majerle

For 40 years, Colette and James Majerle have been Kansas City Ballet season subscribers. They’ve also supported the ballet as Bolender Society Members and as donors to the Ballet’s Moving into the Future Campaign 

Colette’s love of ballet began as a student in her teens and continued through her 30s. “Having been a ballet student, it’s humbling to see real dancers dance,” she says. That’s why she became a season ticket holder with friends. At some point in the 80s, she needed a date and James stepped up and the pair have been attending ever since. 

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James also grew up with a connection to ballet. His older sister took ballet lessons from Kansas City Ballet Founder Miss Tania. “I remember watching her [Miss Tania] in the studio as she tapped her cane. I was very little, but she made quite an impression,” he recalls. 

Years later, their daughter took lessons. Former Kansas City Ballet Dancer Alicia Good Boresow  was one of her teachers. 

It was important to the couple to introduce their family to the Ballet, to share their enthusiasm. Colette says, “We’ve taken our kids to performances over the years. Our daughter loves to go, and our son enjoys it as well.  Now we are excited to introduce our grandchildren to the ballet.” 

The Majerles have their hearts set on taking their grandchildren to experience The Nutcracker soon. 

Supporting the Moving into the Future Campaign 

For the Majerles, supporting the arts as well as education are vital to their family. They have chosen to contribute to Kansas City Ballet’s Moving into the Future Campaign. These funds will grow and continue to provide support for the Ballet’s programs. 

When asked why they give, James had this to say: “During my professional career, I learned it was important for individuals and businesses to set an example and to show that the more people contribute, the more people will contribute.” 

Just how do you deepen your relationship to an art form? James has some thoughts: “With any performing arts, you have to make an investment of time to the art form to increase your appreciation. That’s why having season tickets is really important, to acquire a knowledge and appreciation of the art form.” 

With all the many ballets we have attended, we have been fortunate to observe many dancers throughout their entire careers. “It is very rewarding to follow an apprentice as they advance, develop and assume increasingly leading roles in the company.” 

Colette gives an example, “We were privileged to watch Sean Duus early in his career. He developed and matured into an incredible Pas de Deux performer.  We have also watched beautiful performances by Alicia Good Boresow.  Later, she taught ballet to our daughter. These artists are just amazing!” 

Hope for the Future 

Over the years, Colette and James have witnessed so much change and growth of the company, from dancers, leadership, and performance venues.  The couple has persisted in their commitment and love of the art form.  

James shares: “Seeing the ballet at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts with a packed house after many years attending in theaters not created for dance, is amazing. We now have a world class dance venue.  As a lifelong Kansas Citian, I’m so proud.” 

“I want Kansas City to be recognized as a top cultural city,” Colette says. “We have a top facility and a fantastic ballet company, I want the world to know about our cultural gem: Kansas City Ballet.” 

Asked for one of their favorite memories, the Majerles agree: “Swan Lake was so beautiful! It was the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen the ballet do,” James remembers. Colette says, “The first time we saw the Kansas City Ballet perform Swan Lake, my heart just felt bigger.” 

 

“Our hope is for the audience to continue to grow and recognize the treasure they have in KC Ballet. Performances are a big part of our lives, personally. We are looking forward to attending events this fall.”

—Dick Fagerberg, KCB Supporter

Dick and Sue Ann Fagerberg

Sue Ann and Dick Fagerberg have a long history with Kansas City Ballet. It was the 80s when Sue Ann joined the Kansas City Ballet Guild.

Sue Ann Fagerberg grew up loving dance. “For me, like many little girls, ballet was always an interest. When I was in 1st or 2nd grade my mother signed me up for lessons. I took lessons until my senior year of high school,” Sue Ann remembers. “I lived in Paola, just south of Kansas City, and took lessons there and in Olathe. I was enthralled by every bit of it. 

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Dick had some high school experience with the arts through musical theatre at Shawnee Mission East, but his real interest in ballet began when he met Sue Ann.  

Getting Involved with the Ballet 

The couple moved to Kansas City in the mid-70s. Sue Ann’s interest in the Kansas City Ballet began when Todd Bolender became artistic director in 1981. “The availability of a live performances with professional dancers was so exciting,” she says. Her participation in the Ballet Guild at that time, brought her to performances and soon enough Dick joined her. Once there, they were hooked.  “Ballet, in particular, stimulates many senses of the imagination,“ Sue Ann says. “We had the rare privilege to get to know Todd. Those are special memories,” she adds.

“Today, watching ballet is like night and day from what I did,” she chuckles. “But it enhanced my appreciation of what I see now. I enjoy the artistic talent and the escape from everyday life. I’ve watched the recent New Moves episodes, all of them, and some more than once. I think it is a wonderful idea that I hope continues.”

True to his roots, Dick appreciates the story ballets like Tom Sawyer-a ballet in 3 actsThe Wizard of Oz Cinderella, and more. 

A Plan for Support 

The Fagerbergs believe in using a balanced approach to their philanthropy by supporting the arts as well as, education, human needs, and historic preservation. “Life needs all of these,” Sue Ann says. “Every year we volunteer to work the Guild’s Boutique at performances of The Nutcracker. It is such a thrill to see the really young kids dressed up and smiling with joy at what they have just seen on stage,“ Dick says.

The pair are particularly grateful for live music at performances so they made an endowment gift to Kansas City Ballet to preserve live music at performances in the future.     

Hopes for the Future of KC Ballet 

“Our hope is that there is continuity and growth for the organization, including more productions,” Dick states. They would also like to see more invitations for the Company to tour. The last tour was in 2017 when KC Ballet was invited to perform Devon Carney’s Nutcracker at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

Closer to home, Dick says he hopes the Ballet continues to provide enriching experiences for all—a break from everyday life issues. He believes enjoying a performance of great beauty, art, music, and athleticism energizes the soul.

Because of the Ballet, the two have developed numerous friendships over the years and have the chance to experience many behind-the-scenes and education events. Sue Ann says, “on the selfish side, it’s been a lot of fun.

Dick states, “Our hope is for the audience to continue to grow and recognize the treasure they have in KC Ballet. Performances are a big part of our lives, personally. We are looking forward to attending events this fall. 

“As I’ve gotten to know more about ballet, I’ve learned to really admire the dancers for their dedication. And I’ve been inspired to increase the amount I give each year so I can be in The Bolender Society.”

—Blair Bieser, KCB Supporter

Blair Bieser

Blair Bieser had no idea a too-good-to-pass-up deal on a ticket to Kansas City Ballet’s performance of Yuri Possokov’s The Firebird in 2009 would change his life. But it did. 

“I didn’t know anything about ballet,” Blair recalls. “And I was absolutely enthralled. It was so beautiful and such an amazing combination of artistry and athleticism.”

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“As I’ve gotten to know more about ballet, I’ve learned to really admire the dancers for their dedication. And I’ve been inspired to increase the amount I give each year so I can be in The Bolender Society.”

Showing Support for KC Ballet

Blair recently opened a Donor Advised Fund. By donating an appreciated asset (in this case, shares in a mutual fund), Blair was able to avoid capital gains taxes. He is able to pick what the fund invests in, and it grows tax-free. He then recommends grants to his favorite charities. That means he can make even more of a difference for Kansas City Ballet.

When asked about his favorite ballet memory, Blair shared this: “It was opening night of Lady of the Camellias, and there was a terrible snowstorm. We fought our way to get to the Kauffman Center, and there wasn’t much of a crowd. Since everyone had made such an effort to get there, we were all super motivated. Emily (Mistretta) and Lamin (Pereira) were an amazing Marguerite and Armand. And when Emily came out for her curtain call, everybody immediately stood up for her. That gave me goosebumps. It seemed like the whole audience was touched by her performance. I’m an usher at the Kauffman Center, and people still talk about that night.”

“We’re starting to see increasing numbers of our young dancers being recruited. The Ballet’s growth and continuing maturity as a company just leads to more success and an expanding support for ballet in our community.”

—Carolyn Parkerson, KCB Supporter

Bill and Carolyn Parkerson

When Bill and Carolyn Parkerson’s daughter Julia begged to take ballet classes, they had no idea what an impact ballet would have on their lives.

“She pestered me relentlessly for a year to take ballet classes. When I realized her passion for dance was not going anywhere, I enrolled her at Kansas City Ballet School. At first, she was a little sad and overwhelmed, believing the other girls were so far ahead of her at the very old age of seven that she would never catch up!” But time and perseverance paid off, and she did indeed catch up and excel.

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Dedication Begins

“That’s also when Julia and I started attending company performances as season subscribers,” Carolyn remembers. “As the youngest of four children, Sunday matinees were such a special opportunity for Julia to get one-on-one time with her mom,” Bill recalls. Both Bill and Carolyn are proud of their daughter and credit ballet with honing Julia’s self-discipline, something they’ve discovered many dance parents have noticed about their own children as well. Bill believes that discipline has helped her in other parts of her life, especially as a college student. Carolyn agrees. “Everyone who has dancers that go pretty far knows the kids have to have a fair amount of discipline and perseverance. The ballet brings that best out of them. They are an ambitious group of people.”

As a former college athlete, Bill admits he appreciates the athleticism of ballet dancers and loved watching that athleticism grow in his daughter. What was surprising to him about Julia’s experience was the degree to which her ballet background helped her get a job. “Every interview she had, they brought up ballet. I think employers recognize the hard work and discipline the pursuit of ballet takes and realize dancers take that work ethic into their next chapter.”

Committing to Community

In addition to Julia’s dance education, the Parkersons appreciate all that the Ballet has to offer not only to them but also to the community as a whole. So Carolyn jumped at the chance to join the Ballet’s Board of Directors. “It’s a real privilege and an honor to serve on the board,” she says. “I love the ballet. I really do. It’s a joy in my life that I don’t know how to describe. I just think it’s so important for our community to have a ballet. Art brings something unique to our lives. It speaks to our better, gentler, kinder, more cooperative selves. It’s a truly joyful experience. It helps us bond in the best of ways. I’m happy to be part of this organization and I’m committed to its mission.”

The pair focus their philanthropy on education and on the arts that are near and dear to their hearts. As a former teacher, education is certainly a passion for Carolyn. “I picked the Ballet School and opportunities there for student performances, like the Kansas City Youth Ballet (KCYB). That’s the specific thing that speaks to me the most,” Carolyn says of their philanthropic support. She hopes to see Kansas City Ballet School grow even more. “Ever since we’ve been here, it’s gotten more serious. We’re starting to see increasing numbers of our young dancers being recruited. The Ballet’s growth and continuing maturity as a company just leads to more success and an expanding support for ballet in our community.”

Passion Takes Root

The Parkersons continue to subscribe to Kansas City Ballet performances as well. “Julia wanted to sit in the first row when we started. I loved sitting with her because Julia sees so much more than I do. She likes to watch their footwork. All through the years this has been incredibly bonding because Julia teaches me how to look and see the dancers. She’s brought me to a level of ballet education that I can now help other people see and know more about it,” Carolyn says, “which is very rewarding for me! And we’ve experienced so many incredibly touching moments together.”

These days, Carolyn has multiple subscriptions and attends more than one night. And she and Bill attend together, along with friends. “You feel that emotion those dancers express through their movements, their faces. It’s an extraordinary feeling! I’m not sure how it happens, it just does.”

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