OU YOUNG CHOREOGRAPHERS
SHOWCASE: Thurs. Jan 23 - Sun. Jan 26
University Theatre will present a production of engaging, original dance works created by select student choreographers from the University of Oklahoma School of Dance in Young Choreographers’ Showcase. The production is scheduled to open at 8 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 23.
Always an audience favorite, Young Choreographers’ Showcase presents talent, imagination and energy in an innovative production of choreographic premieres. The dance production will take place in the Elsie C. Brackett Theatre, 563 Elm Ave., on the OU Norman campus. Additional performances are set for 8 p.m. Jan. 24 through 25 and at 3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 26. This production is suitable for all audiences.
The School of Dance welcomes students from the Talulah Centro Integral de Danza to Young Choreographers’ Showcase, as they present two dance works. OU School of Dance alumna Vanessa Villaneuva is the director of Talulah Centro Integral de Danza, Cancun, Mexico. This dance company unites their dance styles and build on their strengths to elevate the spirit of dance.
"Each year our students amaze and inspire audiences with their creativity and risk taking,” said Michael Bearden, director of OU School of Dance. “This year’s program will not disappoint as the students in the School of Dance have channeled their talents in order to speak powerfully with their youthful artistic voices.”
OU School of Dance faculty adjudicated students’ choreography to showcase 10 exceptional dance works for the production. This year’s choreographers are Keeleigh Everett, Tessa Fungo,J’aime Griffith, Joni Keaton, Noah Klarck, Greta Nuñez, Caroline Preskitt, Justin Rainey, Christa St. John and Cameron Terry. These dance works are created in collaboration with Helmerich School of Drama student lighting designers. They are Harrison Best, Lydia Brinkmann, Cassi Crain, Ian Evans, Logan Roscoe, Colby Smith, Anna Steele and Logan Wynn.
A brief description of each work highlights a mix of aesthetics and perspectives by the choreographers.
Keeleigh Everett is a modern dance performance sophomore from Garland, Texas. Her piece titled, Joke No More, is about the idea that the happiest people can be the saddest people as well. The piece features the mental state of a clown who puts on a happy face for others, but by the end we learn how he truly feels.
Tessa Fungo is a modern dance performance sophomore from La Cañada Flintridge, California. Her dance work Sighs of the Depths plays with the idea of nothingness… lacking narrative and existing in a void. The title of the song being used is Suspirium, which translates to “sigh,” functioning as a homophone to play with the idea of how large nothingness can be.
J’aime Griffith is a first-year master of fine arts in modern dance candidate from New Orleans. Griffith choreographed Am I There Yet?—a piece about the journey of self-discovery onward, upward and forward.
Joni Keaton is a ballet performance and international area studies senior from Rockville, Maryland. Her dance work titled She Was a Planet, delves into the physicality of embodying a “new skin,” as the dancers use movement to push the boundaries of curiosity that we feel about ourselves and the limits of our abilities.
Noah Klarck is a ballet performance junior from Collierville, Tennessee. His piece, Salvation, explores a relationship between two people and how they interact with one another under stressful circumstances.
Greta Nuñez is a first-year master of fine arts in dance candidate in dance from Mexicali, Baja California, Mexico. Her piece SWITCH is about how people react differently to big changes in life. The way one was raised determines how one confronts life in hard situations, such as being alone and away from your family and friends.
Caroline Preskitt is a ballet performance and neurochemistry senior from Denver, CO. Her piece Interitus, stems from the Latin word for ruin. The dance is about the ability of humankind to destroy as well as its ability to change for better. It features a collaboration with OU students Alex Leasau, sound designer, and Montserrat Ruffin, visual artist from the OU School of Visual Arts.
Justin Rainey is a ballet pedagogy senior from Fayetteville, Arkansas. His piece is titled One Day at a Time.
Christa St. John is a second-year master of fine arts candidate in the OU School of Dance. Her piece, Nocturne, is an excerpt from the ballet Divertimento created in collaboration with composer and Baker Professor of Music Brian St. John. The work is a fusion of electronic music, animation and ballet.
Cameron Terry is a modern dance performance junior from Atlanta, Georgia. His piece, That 70s Shuffle, explores the idea of blending classical ballet and modern dance to 70s music by African American musicians. With classical ballet considered historically a white art form, it creates a sense of irony and juxtaposition with the music and allows the dance to be educational for dancers and audience alike. The work demonstrates that different types of music can be used to create bold and innovative ballets and that there isn't one set type of music to which ballet must be performed.
The production staff consists of Bearden, artistic director; Boyko Dossev and Leslie Kraus, OU School of Dance faculty coordinators; Charlotte McGaughy and Tatum Smith, stage managers; Jeff Baldwin, technical director; Kasey Allee-Foremen, associate producer; and Mary Margaret Holt, producer.