Heidi Kyser

Journalist, writer

Archive for the ‘Recent articles published’ Category

Blvds Spotlight Is a Timely Reminder

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Kim Schaefer, managing editor of Blvds Las Vegas Magazine, gave me the honor of writing the Spotlight for the current issue.

Blvds LV Dec.-Jan. issue

I wouldn’t normally say getting an assignment is an honor. Not only is it simply my job (an equivalent would be a plumber saying it’s an honor to fix your leaky faucet), but also profiles are not the part of my job that I love best. They seem at the same time too easy and too difficult — too easy because they’re usually about one well-known overachiever on whom there is a wealth of readily available information; too difficult because it’s hard to tell a successful person’s story without falling into sycophancy.

But this was profile was exceptional. I’ll leave it to you to read the article and determine whether you agree and why.

In the meantime, I’ll say that speaking to the subject, Shannon West, came at an opportune time for me. A New Year was approaching, ending one fraught with challenges for my family and community. On top of all the usual stock-taking and resolve-making that Jan. 1 provokes, I was weighing serious questions about my own future. Against that backdrop, West offered  a poignant reminder of what gives life meaning.

This, of course, is different for everyone. I identified with West in that her work and relationships apparently define her. (A point driven home by her saying she’d resolved not to let her cancer define her.) Like her, I don’t place a high value on material possessions or praise; making a measurable positive difference in people’s lives through my actions is how I score personal points.

I’ve spent the first few work days of the New Year at my desk, plowing toward that goal, setbacks and side-tracks be damned. It helps me to think of Shannon West, and some things she said in our interview.

I believe it would also help our neighborhoods, city and state to focus this year on what defines us, or what should. After all, we’re fighting for our survival too, aren’t we?

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Written by Heidi Kyser

January 5, 2011 at 12:19 pm

Nevada Ballet Theater Gets Graceful Gregory

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When Desert Companion editor Andrew Kiraly asked me to find out why Cynthia Gregory was such a great get for the Nevada Ballet Theater, I figured the answer would have something to do with her high-powered fundraising skills. Come to find out, it has a lot more to do with her high-powered legs and the roles they landed her in over the course of her three-decades-long career working with virtually every big name in ballet. Read more about that here.

The addition of Gregory to the Nevada Ballet Theater as artistic advisor and coach is a rich treat in an otherwise Spartan landscape, not just the Las Vegas dance scene, but the arts here in general.

In my interview with James Canfield, Nevada Ballet Theater’s artistic director, he talked about the austerity measures taken over the last two years to keep the company healthy. (See Kristen Peterson’s March 2009 article in the Las Vegas Sun about revenue declines, and resulting layoffs and show cancellations.)

Although it wasn’t easy to make cutbacks, Canfield told me, he believes it laid the groundwork for Nevada Ballet Theater to make a leap as soon as the economy allows for more business and consumer spending on the arts. Ten trainees have joined the company, and steps like adding Gregory as coach will help ensure a strong future pool of talented dancers who understand the company culture, Canfield hopes.

In the meantime, everyone I talked to who has met or worked with Gregory is pulling for her to pull off her (and Nevada Ballet Theater CEO Beth Barbre’s) dream of cultivating a coaching center that draws top-notch dancers from far and wide in search of one-on-one training with a master.

If it works, it won’t just be boon for the Nevada Ballet Theater. Las Vegas will get a much-needed boost in its arts cred, and Gregory will get to stop roaming the world as a means of passing on her canonical knowledge of classical ballet – doing it instead right here at home.

Could be a good get all around.

Written by Heidi Kyser

December 10, 2010 at 9:00 am

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