Thursday, December 29, 2011


Her Majesty Elizabeth I is pictured at a recent Shakespeare in the Park
fundraising, which showed the costumes of Robert Pittengen.
Her Majesty paused upon leaving, saying, "Your Queen loves you,"
as indeed she does, and does Lynn Adams, executive director
of the Oklahoma Children's Theatre,
who portrayed Her Majesty.
  Photo by Nancy Condit

By Nancy Condit

With the year's end comes the opportunity to donate to Oklahoma City's smaller
arts and community organizations, including the ones discussed in this blog.    All of the groups listed are 501 (c) 3 s.

While dance normally comes first to mind for this blogger, BLAC, Inc. (Black Liberated Arts Center) was hit particulaarly hard this year when the touring gospel group Mary Mary was forced to cancel the their tour just as they were coming to Douglass High School.  This was BLAC, INC.'s major fund-raiser for the season.  For more information, go to  Donation information is not available until after the first of the year.  This writer encourages you to be creative.

Dance comes first to mind for this blog writer.  All of these groups are 501 (c) 3 s.
Perpetual Motion Modern Dance is currently raising money to support their 2012 season at Dance Company is currently raising money for a space of their own where they can offer classes.  Their next performance is in February.  For donations, go to, and to follow their performance schedule, go to  Hartel Dance Group's website notes that "Donor contributions make performances possible."  They are also raising money to turn the fifth floor of the Magnolia Building an alternative performance space that will benefit the Oklahoma City performance community as well as young artists looking for an affordable space to present their work to the public. Go to for more information.

Theatre UponaStarDanceSwan involves children in the spontaneous dance of the annual midsummer Fairy Ball, The Magic Lantern, held around Halloween, and other events that are open to all young people. Donations to present events that put flowers in children's hair and give them the paper to make costumes can be made at and clicking on the "Become a Fairy Godmother" link on the righthand, lime,  side of the website.

In the visual arts, both IAO, Individual Artists of Oklahoma,, and [Artspace] at Untitled, could use support. 

In theater, Oklahoma Shakespeare in the Park is in the middle of their fund drive.
Contact the 27 year old theater at

In music, Brightmusic has presented chamber music since 2003.  Their artists include members of the OKC Philharmonic and teachers of music at Oklahoma City's surrounding universities.  For more information, go to

Two community services are in continual need of support.  The Guild of St. George assists the poor, working poor and homeless with utility bills, prescriptions, picture IDs and birth certificates.  It is located in St. Paul's Cathedral in downtown Oklahoma City.   can be reached at your check for the Guild.
Infant Crisis Services provides emergency supplies and referral services to children from birth to six years old.  Contact them at


Saturday, December 17, 2011


Photo provided
By Nancy Condit

The buzz is that local channel KSBI, Cox channel 7, is
broadcasting Oklahoma City University's annual Broadway
revue style dance program "Home for the Holidays" Sunday,
December 18 at 6:30 p.m. 

The information on their website is a little conflicting, but,
you push a button, and you takes your chances, as they say.

If you've never seen the Radio City Music Hall
Christmas program in New York City with the Rockettes,
or have wondered what the dance program at OCU is
like, turn on the television tomorrow evening.

Friday, December 16, 2011


Photo by Brett Weston provided by JRB Art Gallery at the Elms

2011 marks the 100th anniversary of famed photographer Brett Weston’s birth. To celebrate this event, Julie Maguire, the New York-based Curator of the Brett Weston Archives, in conjunction with JRB Art at The Elms, has selected some of Weston's most iconic images for a special exhibition at JRB Art Gallery.

Maguire, whose career includes art advisory and acquisition positions for both the United Bank of Switzerland and Citibank, will be presenting a free gallery talk on Saturday, December 17, 2011 at JRB Art at the Elms. This is a unique opportunity to learn more about Weston’s techniques and subject matter. The gallery talk is free of charge and open to the public. The exhibit will run through December 31st, 2011.
The JRB Art Gallery is located at 2810 N. Walker.  For more information, call 528.6336.

Sunday, December 11, 2011


Photo provided

By Nancy Condit

Every once in a while, this viewer will get new insight from an annual tradition. This was true last night at the Civic Center during the Oklahoma City Ballet's "The Nutcracker," with the Oklahoma City Philharmonic, directed by Joel Levine.
The understanding was this, Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, through his music of a procession, and artistic director Robert Mills, following the choreography of Les Ivanov and Marius Petipas, through his dance, transformed an ordinary Christmas party in an upper middle class Victorian home into an occurrence of majesty. With the orchestral announcement of the procession of the benevolent rulers, the adults took the floor for their dance and moved in grand rows toward the audience. The families gathered had the importance of any other court.
The newest part of the ballet, that also keeps it refreshed for the adult audience, was the addition of a young crush for the 12 or 13 year old Clara, Hans, in the character of Hans, Drosselmyer's apprentice.  In Clara's dream he appears as the Nutcracker and accompanies her to the Land of Sweets.  Mills added two pas de deux for the adult dancers, both of which were pleasing, but still, especially in the first one, tread a thin choreographic line between accomplished adult members of the company, on that night Callye McCollum and Tye Love, dancing as half grown people
It was pleasant to see that much of the Waltz of the Flowers was kept while McCollum and Love danced the pas de deux.  Seeing them dance more full out as adults was also a relief, perhaps a foreshadowing of their relationship as adults. Seeing how the dance is polished in subsequent productions is anticipated.

The Christmas treat more than lived up to expectations, with children as young as six dancing as little angels and pages, and a little white mouse.  Older children tumbled, literally, from under the skirts of Mother Ginger,
and were the heart of the Christmas party.
The best of the performances were the two pas de deux between the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier, danced by new company members Sarah Chun and Yui Sato.  In their opening pas de deux, Sato had a variation in which he leapt, landed on one foot, and elegantly touched the stage with just the toe of his straight back leg.  In the final grand pas de deux, they were perfect partners, as Chun executed an almost endless series of pirouettes, circling Sato, while he kept her steady, and caught her as she leapt to sit on his shoulder.  In the final catch, he caught her as she plunged toward the floor.  Both of them kept wonderful lines.

The exquisite and delicate dancing of the second act, in the Land of Sweets, came to a high point of spun sugar fantasy in the Marzipan dance with Ellany Abbott, accompanied by Alyssa Daly and Amber Feeney.  Abbott was exquisite.  Also enjoyable were the Snowflakes, scattering hands full of snow over the stage, the humorous Spanish Chocolate divertissement with David Barocio, Carissa Churchil and Anna Doss, the sinuous Arabian Coffee divertissement with Darli Iakovleva and Anton Iakolev, the Russian Cossack dance with Joshua Crespo and Ryan Piper, and the excellent corps.
Dale Hall's set and lighting design, especially in the Snowflakes with the translucent blue backdrop, was very good, as were the costumes, especially on the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier, by Michael Jones, Suzanne Hobbs, and Marcus Ford.
The one disappointing note is that the garlands of lights on the boxes that rise to the ceiling in the auditorium
are shut off as soon as the production is over.  It dampens the festivity.
The performances run today, December 22 at 2 p.m., and December 16 - 18, including a 7 p.m. Friday performance, a 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. performance on Saturday and a 2 p.m. performance on Sunday.
Individual ticket prices range from $10 to $52. Online ticketing is available at, by phone at 405.848.TOES, or at the Civic Center Box Office.


Friday, December 9, 2011


By Nancy Condit

March of the Toy Soldiers, choreographed by Diana Brooks.
Photo provided

What's new this year at the American Spirit Dance Company's "Home for the Holidays" dance performance is a higher level of dancing, especially in the tap and high kick numbers.  Equally visible are the markedly increased number of men, who complement the wonderful women in a company that is chosen by audition from the dance majors at Oklahoma City University.  The performance took place Thursday night in the Kirkpatrick Fine Arts Auditorium, and runs through Sunday, December 11.
Diana Brooks' choreography of the rapid tap number of "March of the Toy Soldiers," new this year, was the best of the show with its precision tapping and loose challenge dances by the toy officers. Their tapping was on the money.  They rotated in small groups, and came back together again, tapping rapidly all the time, reflecting the Busby Berkeley style of the previous  "Parade of the Wooden Soldiers," choreographed by Page Porter and restaged by Kari Shaw. 
For "Parade" a long line of soldiers wore red satin shirts crossed by impossibly glittery bands of silver with black pants also striped in silver.  The costumes were designed by Melanie Shelley.  The soldiers were straight legged and oval mouthed during the entire number, as they changed from three lines of tapping soldiers into one, and rotated through Berkeley style patterns.  The only thing missing was the camera shot from above to show the dancing patterns.
The opening number to Jerry Herman's "We Need a Little Christmas," choreographed by Jo Rowan, show director and chair of the School of Music, was another big number that started as the curtains opened to "a bevy of beautiful gals that go on forever," Rowan wrote for the press, with a felt rope of holly.  The women crossed the stage back and forth four lines deep, two alternating lines dancing in one direction and two dancing in the other, settled into high kicks, and ended up forming a Christmas tree that filled the stage.

"Mr. Snow Miser," new this year, and choreographed by Patricia Oplotnick, featured tap dancers in a traditional routine, until one gangly tapper appeared to throw himself all over the stage in a completely shaggy fringed white costume, dropped to a one-legged squat and circled the floor with the other.  The tappers celebrated winter with a some break dancing, too. 
Tall reindeer with high antlers danced with their '50 clad drivers to choreographer Alana Martin's "Jingle Bells," and dancers swirled in a lyrical ballet "Song for a Winter's Night," choreographed by Kari Shaw.

Other good numbers include choreographer Oplotnick's "How Lucky Can You Get" done by tap dancing men of the streets.  A ritzy lady -- we know by her fur coat, falls one of the guys, disappears to change her coat to one of cloth, and the group taps in great syncopation.  "Zat You Santa Claus?" has good Fosse, very jazzy feel to Brian Marcum's choreography, as they're joined by a gingerbread man, Uncle Sam, and a horse.

The lovely costumes were designed by Melanie Shelley, and the lighting and set designs, particularly effective in "Mr. Snow Miser" and "Hot Chocolate," by Steve Estes, with the caveat that the decorative lights on the front of the stage floor cut off the dancers' feet.  Pavoratti's singing of "Adeste Fideles" gave chills during the adoration of the Christ child.  The sound was good for the first act, but needed more bass in the second.
All in all, it was quite a show.
Remaining show times are 8 p.m. Dec. 9 and 10, and 2 p.m. Dec. 10 and 11.The show is recommended for audience members ages 6 and up.
All seats are reserved and cost $28 each, with group rates available. For tickets or more information, call (405) 208-5227 or visit

c. by Nancy Condit

See my article at magazine.


Thursday, December 8, 2011


Join the Oklahoma Council of Garden Clubs as they present their "Nature Tree," Saturday, December 10 from 1:00 - 3:00 p.m.

The Nature Tree is a collective project of Garden Club members, who each made an ornament made out of natural materials. The tree reflects nature in unique and creative ways.
At the viewing, participants can enjoy refreshments courtesy of the individual Garden Clubs. Children can also make their own ornament made of natural materials, which they can hang on the tree, or take home.

FREE to the public!

The event takes place at:
Will Rogers Garden Exhibition Center
3400 NW 36th Street
Oklahoma City

For more information, call 943-0827.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


Artistic director Robert Mills and company dancer Tye Love in rehearsal for the party scene in
The Nutcracker.  Photo by and c. by Nancy Condit

By Nancy Condit

In case you haven't heard, the Oklahoma City Ballet is presenting The Nutcracker at the Civic Center
Music Hall December 9 - 11 and December 16 - 18.  Each week end includes a 7 p.m. Friday performance, a 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. performance on Saturday and a 2 p.m. performance on Sunday.

The Oklahoma City Philharmonic will perform for each show.

Artistic director Robert Mills’ choreography of the ballet is after the original choreography by Marius Petipa.  “Portions of Petipa’s choreography is seen almost intact during the variations of the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier and also in their Grand pas de deux within Act II,” he wrote in an email interview.

Mills cast Clara with members from the company “because I have some ladies in the professional company who are very strong dancers and so petite that they could easily portray a young person like Clara ... With that change, the role of Clara has been made a much more difficult dancing role   Hans, an apprentice toymaker to Drosselmyer, is a new role I added this year to be a ‘love interest’ of Clara’s. Clara and Hans meet for the first time at the holiday party and develop crushes on one another.  When Clara begins to dream after the party, she dreams that Hans is The Nutcracker, and they dance a pas de deux leading into the land of snow, and a second one during the waltz of the flowers.”

The matinee performances feature family activities beginning at 1 p.m.  They include ornament decorating and  drawings for  very special Nutcrackers. the story of the Nutcracker with Mrs. Claus at 1.30 p.m., and a Braum’s Milk & Cookies reception with the dancers after the ballet.

Individual ticket prices range from $10 to $52. Online ticketing is available at, by phone at 405.848.TOES, or at the Civic Center Box Office.

c. Nancy Condit 

For more of the story behind The Nutcracker, see magazine, due out this weekend
or next week.


Gospel duo group Mary Mary. Photo provided

From the press release

Gospel group Mary Mary, scheduled to appear December 11th as part of Black Liberated Arts Center, Inc.'s fall schedule, cancelled their tour yesterday because of medical concerns over Erica Campbel's pregnancy.  She is due in February.  The gospel duo had been on their first "Have a Mary Mary Christmas Tour," and was in the middle of television tapings and award shows.

Anita Arnold, Executive Director of BLAC, Inc., said that buyers of Mary Mary tickets should take their tickets to the place where they were purchased to claim their refund.  Online purchases, mail and telephone credit card purchases will be refunded through BLAC, Inc.  Call (405)524-3800 for specific instructions on refunds.

"An announcement of the full season of performing arts will be made after the first of the year.  The organization, also, wishes a happy and blessed holiday season to all," wrote Anita Arnold, executive director of BLAC, Inc.
Thirteen year old Kara Troester plays Clara, and
OU dance major Austin Lintner plays her Nutcracker prince in 
OU's Festival Ballet production.  Photos provided.

By Nancy Condit

Once every four years the University of Oklahoma's Festival Ballet students have the chance to perform in
Marius Petipa's choreographed The Nutcracker to Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's music.  This is one of those years. Remaining performances are in the Rupel J. Jones Theatre at December 8-10, and at on December 10 and 11.
The Festival Ballet presents dancers about to start their professional careers, and is known for its high production standards. 
School of Dance chair Mary Margaret Holt is delighted to place this year's ballet in Victorian dress, the time in which it was written.  She feels that the shapes and movements of the clothes compliment the dance.
The lighting designer, Jerry Lewis, likes to present new ideas each year, and Holt tells audience members to watch for an extremely effective one in this ballet.
Tickets are $14 for students, $22 for adults and $18 for seniors and faculty.  They may be purchased by calling the box office at 405.325.4101.

Read my story in the archives of magazine. 

Photos provided. 
By Nancy Condit

The American Spirit Dance Company will bring the American style of dance to the OCU Kirkpatrick stage in their Broadway style American dance revue.  The "Home for the Holidays" shows, including 150 dancers in the double cast show,  perform tap, jazz, theater dance, and lyrical ballet.
The production includes rocking swing numbers, exciting country music cloggers, the high-kicking enthusiasm of a chorus line of 50 Santa’s helpers and a Nativity of Christ’s birth.  During the reverent Nativity, the double cast show fills the stage and audience with candles and candlelight. 
Vibrant costumes are an integral part of the show.
Show times are 8 p.m. Dec. 8, 9 and 10, and 2 p.m. Dec. 10 and 11.The show is recommended for audience members ages 6 and up.
All seats are reserved and cost $28 each, with group rates available. For tickets or more information, call (405) 208-5227 or visit

Read my story on


Thursday, December 1, 2011



From the web. Copyright may apply.
Oklahoma Shakespeare in the Park’s holiday fundraiser, Christmas Tea and revelry with the Queen and her courtiers, will be presented in the Wanda L. Bass Music Center Atrium at Oklahoma City University on Saturday, December 3 from 2 to 4 pm.  High tea with the Queen will be served while guests enjoy a fashion show featuring historic costumes by OSP designer Robert A. Pittenridge.  There will also be a silent auction of gift packages and works of art as well as free giveaways for guests of Her Majesty.  Tickets are $20 per person and may be purchased
by visiting or calling 405.235.3700.


The Memorial Road Mennonite Brethren Church, 4201 East Memorial Road in Edmond is the site of handmade, fair trade and global goods this Friday and Saturday from 9:30 am to 6:00 pm.  "Shop our gifts, decor, art pieces and accessories handcrafted by fairly paid artisans around the world.  Itms are eclectic to exquisite, and are created from natural, recycled and sustainable materials."  The church is one mile east of I-35 on Memorial Road, with a phone number of 478.1652.  They take cash or check only.

Compiled by Nancy Condit

Friday, November 25, 2011

Sunday, November 13, 2011


By Nancy Condit

Felicia Boswell, who played Felicia on Broadway, sings one of the songs in the finale of "Memphis."
Photo provided

The musical "
Memphis" opened an eight performance run Tuesday night to an enthusiastic, almost full house at the Civic Center Music Hall Tuesday night. The singing was terrific, and the dancing excellent to David Bryan, Bon Jovi's founding member and keyboardist, and Joe DiPietro's, I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change, new score about love, music and the beginnings of rock and roll in 1950"s Memphis.

Live music accompanied the show in the form a juke joint/orchestra nine piece The Memphis Band, with two keyboards, drums, a guitar, bass, trumpet, trombone, and two reeds.

Felicia Boxwell, who played the female lead of Felicia on Broadway, was excellent, as the show explored the roots of rock and roll from gospel to the blues to jazz to ballads to a song with a touch of opera.  Bryan Fenkart as Huey, the male lead, sang well, and played the role of one the passionate people who discovered negro music -- "
Memphis shows me how this life has to be.  Memphis lives in me.  Listen to the beat, to your soul" he sings at the show's end, after the love he and Felicia falls apart because the times won't allow it.

The standout of the second act was Julie Johnson, who belted out "Change Don't Come Easy" as she testified after going to a black church for the first time in her life.  Huey's mama, who was so appalled with his being with a dark girl, had herself changed.

Technically notable are the scenic design by Tony® Award winner David Gallo’s and
lighting design by Tony® Award winner Joe Dipietro.  Gallo’s two level box set allows action to take place on the stage and on the second level. 

Memphis" has more humor than other musicals, like "Hairspray," about integration, and, for that reason alone, it's is a better show, or perhaps it may show that peoples get on with life.  I leave it to audience members to make that decision.

Note: The
Civic Center ushers, who are volunteers, and extremely courteous and conscientious.

Memphis,”presented by Celebrity Attractions, runs through November 13th.  Tickets may be purchased via phone (800) 869-1451, (405) 297-2264, in person at the Civic Center Music Hall Box Office or online at

Remaining shows in Celebrity Attractions 2011-2012 Broadway Season includes THE ADDAMS FAMILY, STOMP, FIDDLER ON THE ROOF, the add-on productions of MAMMA MIA! and the
Tulsa engagement of JERSEY BOYS.

c. Nancy Condit

Photo from the ACLU Oklahoma website

The death of Michael Sky Camfield this week is noted with sadness by Arts, Dance & OKC.

The American Civil Liberties of Oklahoma said on its website it lost a former co-worker, great advocate, and dear friend Michael Sky Camfield. Michael worked for the ACLU of Oklahoma from 1993-2009. For much of that time, Michael was half of the two member staff along with former Executive Director Joann Bell. During his time at the ACLU he was a powerful advocate for many Oklahomans.

Michael began working for the ACLU of Oklahoma in 1993. While he served many roles, the majority of his energy was devoted to finding unique ways to grow the membership and to develop an impressive and consistent fundraising base.

Perhaps the incident that received the most publicity in Michael's time with the ACLU of Oklahoma was with the video of "The Tin Drum."

In 1997, an Oklahoma resident complained that the academy award-winning German movie contained child pornography and therefore violated Oklahoma law. After a local judge viewed the movie and agreed with the complainant, the police subsequently went to neighborhood video stores and removed all copies, and obtained, without a warrant, the names of those who were currently renting it. One copy had been rented by Michael who got wind of the impending seizure and wanted to see if the movie was really objectionable. Police came to Michael’s house and asked for the cassette, which he handed over after some discussion of “the artistic merits of the movie.”

The ACLU of Oklahoma filed suit, and the court found that the city violated Michael’s rights by obtaining his rental records without a court order or warrant. The court awarded Michael the statutory minimum of $2500, but more importantly, a victory for civil liberties.  (From the ACLU of Oklahoma website.)

Michael began working for the ACLU of Oklahoma in 1993. While he served many roles, the majority of his energy was devoted to finding unique ways to grow the membership and to develop an impressive and consistent fundraising base.
 "Michael loved everything the ACLU stands for and he especially subscribed to the “Molly Ivins” idea of defending Civil Liberties and having a ball while doing it," former executive director Joanne Bell wrote the on Oklahoma American Civil Liberities Union webpage.

"He was devoted to the ACLU," Marjorie Ramana, member of the board of directors, said to Dance, Art & OKC.

Services will be 10:00 A.M. Tuesday, November 15, 2011, at the Asa Smith Memorial Chapel, Harrah, OK. Services are under the direction of Smith~Parks Funeral Service in Harrah, OK.

Compiled by Nancy Condit

Saturday, November 12, 2011


Saturday, Nov. 12th, 10 am to 4 pm
Civic Center Music Hall – “Hall of Mirrors”
Admission Free

The 25th annual Peace Festival will be a holiday shopping bazaar, featuring tables of more than 50 social justice groups and local crafts vendors. It will take place on Saturday, Nov. 12th, from 10 am to 4 pm, in the Civic Center Hall of Mirrors, in downtown Oklahoma City. Admission is free.
“Live entertainment by local musicians and colorful fair trade goods on sale make this a popular event for supporters of human rights, social justice, environmental sustainability, and peace,” said Conna Wilkinson, Director of the Peace Education Institute, cosponsor of the event. All groups provide informative materials, in addition to crafts and goods for sale. Food items at many tables and refreshments will also be available for visitors.

A Children’s Activity Room will be supervised by adults during the event.

Fair trade goods available will include coffee, pottery, carving and weaving from Central America, Africa, and Asia, fabrics and clothing items. Environmental group Sierra Club will offer calendars, books, and other eco-friendly items. The Oklahoma Vegetarian Society will provide homemade snacks, egg rolls and recipes teaching visitors nourishment without meat

Peace House Director Nathaniel Batchelder said, “The Peace Festival celebrates and makes visible many nonprofit and volunteer groups working behind the scenes all year on issues concerning human rights, social justice and the environment in Oklahoma.” The Peace Festival is a time of public connection and support for these groups, he said.

From the Peace House website

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Performer and collaborator with fellow composer Francis Poulenc, UCO pianist David Forbat plays to choreographer Robyn Pasternack's contemporary ballet "Sincerely Beatrice."  Photo provided.

By Nancy Condit

Don Betz, president of the University of Central Oklahoma, led off the Kaleidoscope Dance Company Fall Concert with the High School Dance Festival last Saturday night.  "The arts are absolutely essential to our heart and our soul," he said from the stage of Mitchell Hall on UCO's campus.  The program also included guest artists fiddler Kyle Dillingham, UCO artist in residence, and UCO pianist David Forbat to "Sincerely

The concert opened with choreographer Tina Kambour's funny and then lyrical modern dance "Se je vous embrasse," to music composed and performed by fiddler Kyle Dillingham, with vocalist Emily Weeks.  Dancers in a restaurant gave a new meaning to table hopping as they circled from one table to another, and then walked on chairs and tables to talk to each other. Dillingham's jazzy music even included honkey tonk rhythms, to Weeks' lovely voice.

Dillingham played two solos.  He began the first with classical music, improvising to a French song -- UCO's country to be emphasized this year is France, and ending with classical music.  In his second solo, he played what must be his version of "The Orange Blossom Special" -- fast, fiery, with incredibly quick and long, anticipatory bowing.  Both selections were really well done.

Guest choreographer Chip Abbott's musical theater "Derrierre le Dos" (Behind the Back), to music by Larrons en foire by Raphael Beau from the Micmacs soundtrack, was a polished barefoot '40's style dance of a woman and two men against the background of seven dancers in beige short dresses or pants.  The men competed for the woman, while she enticed both of them until she made her choice.  The signature move of the dance was the slight mannered lifting of their skirts or pants as a punctuation of events in the musical theater dance.

Three high school dance programs performed with the college company.  In order of appearance they were Classen School of Advanced Studies, Bishop McGuinness Catholic High School, and Harding Fine Arts Academy.  Classen's "Happy Feet:," choreographed by Nancy Trait-Lira and dancers, featured the troupe in bright red leotards half-way down the thighs, white cuffs and slicked back hair to a 20's sounding dance to a contemporary French piece by Vial/Delaporte/Payen/Tilleke, moving as a troupe in funny stylized sophisticated moves as a troupe.  McGuinness' "It Sparks a Fire," choreographed by Brandi Gable to music "Blue Cassette" by Friendly Fires, was high energy jazz.  Harding's "Terra Firma," choreographed by Karen Voyles to music by Phoenix, was a mid-century style modern dance in long dresses of muted earth tones.

Choreographer Michelle Dexter's meditative "Bushido" with music by Dead Can Dance, opened to a capella chanting, and moved into rousing drumming.  The dancers, clad in Chinese style costumes, moved in simple patterns and progressed to more complex ones, moving within the beats of the drums.  All of the moves were controlled in spite of a very frenetic piece of music.  The piece closed with dancers collapsing one by one into supporting dancers' arms.

For sheer attention getting, choreographer Emily South's "My Lullaby" to music by Counting Bodies Like Sheep to the Rhythm of the War Drums was one of the standouts, with hip hop jazz dancing zombies. And lots and lots of hair.

Choreographer Hui Cha Poos' energetic "Can Can" to "Always Can Can" by the Joann Strauss Orchestra sounded a lot like Offenbach.  The traditional costumes were worn by dancers with legs stretched high, heels held in their hands, ruffled skirts, and kick lines.

Guest choreographer Leah Roman's hip hop jazz "Do It Like This," to music by "I'm in the House," "Do It Like This," "Took the Night," and "She Wants to Move," was full of moves people wish they could do, but don't, including one of the men ending the dance by barking twice at the full auditorium.  In the program notes
she is quoted as saying she hopes to share the happiness of dance with as many people as she can.

c. Nancy Condit

Saturday, November 5, 2011



With an extra hour in Sunday, November 6, downtown offers the following two events, ripped off the ethernet:
The Oklahoma City Museum of Art continues its exhibits of Poodles and Pastries, new paintings by Franco Mondini-Ruiz, and Faded Elegance: Photographs of Havana by Michael Eastman. 

Family day runs from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., and also includes art making activities, face painting, and international dancing from a dance studio.

Should your mood carry you to the Pacific,

Visit the Downtown Library tomorrow for a Hawaiian program, or one of these other libraries later:               
  • Monday, November 7 at 1:00p.m. – Warr Acres Library, 5901 N.W. 63rd Street
  • Monday, November 7 at 7:00p.m. – Midwest City Library, 8143 E. Reno
  • Tuesday, November 8 at 1:00p.m. – Edmond Library, 10 S. Boulevard
  • Tuesday, November 8 at 7:00p.m. – Bethany Library, 3510 N. Mueller
  • Wednesday, November 9 at 10:00a.m. – Ralph Ellison Library, 2000 N.E. 23rd Street
  • Wednesday, November 9 at 2:00p.m. – Choctaw Library, 2525 Muzzy
  • Thursday, November 10 at 7:00p.m. – Belle Isle Library, 5501 N. Villa
  • Friday, November 11 at 10:00a.m. – The Village Library, 10307 N. Pennsylvania
  • Friday, November 11 at 2:00p.m. – Del City Library, 4509 S.E. 15th Street

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Photo provided

By Nancy Condit

The University of Central Oklahoma opens its fall Kaliedoscope Dance Company concerts tonight, November 3 at 7:30 at Mitchell Hall on the UCO campus.  They will also run Friday and Saturday night at 7:30. 

Guest artists are well known fiddler and UCO Ambassador in Residence Kyle Dillingham, playing a solo, and David Forbat, collaborator to composer Francis Poulenc, accompanying some of the dancers in the lovely classical "Sincerely Beatrice," choreographed by Robyn Pasternack.

Guest choreographers are musical theater choreographer and dancer Chip Abbott, who is based in New York City, Andrew Palermo, who is co-artistic director of company, conducts master classes, and works with special needs groups, including those who are autistic, and Leah Roman, a dancer from Phoenix, Arizona, who uses her passiion for dance to inspire others.

These concerts are held in conjunctiion with the 2nd High School Dance Festival, held with the concerts.
Participating in the festival of classes and some in a performance are Capital Hill High School. Norman North High School, Putnam City North High School, U.S. Grant High School, Bishop McGuinness Catholic High School, John Marshall High School, Tulsa Central Fine and Performing Arts High School, Millwood School, Classen School of Advanced Studies, and Harding Fine Arts Academy.

Tickets are $14 and down, and are available by calling the UCO Mitchell Hall Theatre Box Office at 974-3375.

See my article in 
c. Nancy Condit

Wednesday, November 2, 2011



On November 14-15, 2011, Brightmusic Chamber Music Ensemble will present two performances of its “Founders’ Concert.”  Brightmusic’s original artistic directors – Matthew Dane and Christina Jennings – will join Brightmusic’s current artistic directors – Chad Burrow and Amy I-Lin Cheng – in a long-awaited reunion concert. 

The works on the program are: (1) Claude Debussy’s “Prelude to The Afternoon of a Faun,” arranged by Rice University professor Michael Webster for flute, clarinet and piano; (2) Duo Concertante for Flute and Viola in C Minor by 18th Century French composer François Devienne; (3) 20th Century English composer Benjamin Britten’s “Lachrymae: Reflections on a Song of Dowland;” (4) “INBOX” composed for flute, viola and piano by Dr. Edward Knight, Professor of Music and Composer-in-Residence at Oklahoma City University; and (5) German Romantic composer Max Bruch’s “Eight Pieces” for viola, clarinet and piano. 

The musicians who will appear are: Matthew Dane (viola), Christina Jennings (flute), Chad Burrow (clarinet) and Amy I-Lin Cheng (piano).

The performances will take place: (1) on Monday, November 14th at 7:30 pm at Casady School, 9500 N. Pennsylvania Avenue at Britton Road and (2) on Tuesday, November 15th at 7:30 pm at St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral, 127 NW 7th Street at Robinson.  Admission is $10 per adult; students are free of charge.  A reception with the musicians will follow each performance. 

This concert is made possible by season grants from Chesapeake Energy Corporation, the Oklahoma Arts Council and the Ad Astra Foundation.                                                                                    
Guest Artists and Brightmusic Musicians Appearing:

Viola:  Dr. Matthew Dane, former principal violist, Oklahoma City Philharmonic Orchestra and associate professor of viola at the University of Oklahoma; currently principal violist with the River Oaks Chamber Orchestra (Houston), as well as a violist with the Baroque Chamber Orchestra of Colorado and the Boulder Piano Quartet; visiting faculty at the University of Colorado Boulder and adjunct faculty at Metropolitan State College in Denver; original Co-Artistic Director of Brightmusic.  For more information, see
Flute:  Christina Jennings, principal flutist with the River Oaks Chamber Orchestra (Houston); assistant professor of flute at the University of Colorado Boulder; original Co-Artistic Director of Brightmusic.  For more information, see
Clarinet:  Chad Burrow, former principal clarinetist, Oklahoma City Philharmonic Orchestra and associate professor of clarinet at Oklahoma City University; currently assistant professor of clarinet, University of Michigan School of Music; current Co-Artistic Director of Brightmusic.  For more information, see
Piano: Dr. Amy I-Lin Cheng, concert pianist and collaborative musician; former head of the piano department at Oklahoma City University; currently a member of the piano faculty of the Ann Arbor School for the Performing Arts and a collaborative pianist at the University of Michigan School of Music; current Co-Artistic Director of Brightmusic.

Musical Works To Be Performed:

Claude Debussy (arranged by Michael Webster), “Prelude to The Afternoon of a Faun” (flute, clarinet and piano):  The teachers of Claude Debussy (1862-1918) at the Paris Conservatory considered him insolent because he thought his own rules of composition were superior to theirs.  Another young nonconformist, Eric Satie, suggested to Debussy that they create their own music – and make it “without any sauerkraut.”  Debussy became the finest French composer of his time and, in doing so, created that new music.  He was a revolutionary whose style did not trigger musical warfare.  Prelude to The Afternoon of a Faun was his early orchestral triumph.  Premiered in 1894, its exotic, sensual sounds created a “dreamlike trance” that “set twentieth-century music on its way.”  [Schoenberg]  Debussy disliked the label impressionist, but the way he painted with his music certainly “enlarged music’s color wheel.”  [Dubal]  Prelude was a watershed composition, occupying “a place in musical history comparable to the Eroica Symphony.”  [Schoenberg]  The arrangement Brightmusic will play was written by clarinetist and Rice University music professor Michael Webster.

François Devienne, Duo Concertante for Flute and Viola in C Minor, op. 5., no. 3: 
François Devienne (1759-1803) was a French contemporary of Mozart – a composer, performer, teacher and scholar.  The youngest of 14 children, he moved to Paris at age 20, where he studied, taught and performed bassoon and flute with ensembles including the Paris Opera.  In 1793 he authored an important book about flute technique.  When the Paris Conservatory was chartered in 1795, he became one of its first flute professors.  Devienne composed 12 operas and approximately 300 other works.   Jean-Pierre Rampal’s performances of Devienne’s works revived his music for the concert-going public.  Devienne composed six duets for flute and viola, each in two movements.  They were unusual for their time because the composer assigned approximately equal importance to each instrument.
Benjamin Britten, “Lachrymae: Reflections on a Song of Dowland” (viola and piano):  Benjamin Britten (1913-1976) created a wide variety of music but marched to his own drummer.  He “made his mark before World War II and never substantially changed his style,” [Schoenberg] even though this “went against the grain of the postwar era.”  [Ross]  In Lachrymae  he “revives the Elizabethan world” of composer and lute player John Dowland (1563-1626).  Britten wrote Lachrymae to perform with violist William Primrose at the 1950 Aldeburgh Festival.  Britten’s “reflections” are ten short variations on Dowland’s song, “If My Complaint Could Passions Move.”  Typically, variation style states the theme first, followed by the variations.  Although Dowland’s song makes a brief appearance at the beginning of this work, Britten reveals Dowland’s song, as the Renaissance composer wrote it, only at the end.

Edward Knight, “INBOX” (flute, viola and piano):  Dr. Edward Knight (b. 1961) is a Professor of Music, Composer-in-Residence and Director of Composition at Oklahoma City University.  He has composed works for orchestra, symphonic band, percussion ensemble and piano trio, as well as a clarinet sonata, cabaret songs, two fanfares and two original, full-length romantic musical comedies.  The four movements of “INBOX” explore a world in which a flood of information awaits us each morning: “Do Not Delete” (the joy of spam and viruses), “Classmate Quest” (the connection of classmates now living in different worlds), “” (the romance of cyber dating), and “EBay Bid Wars” (the frenetic world of online auctions).  “INBOX” was commissioned and premiered in 2009 by Matthew Dane, Christina Jennings and Alexandra Nguyen.  Ed Knight serves as a member of the board of directors of Brightmusic.

Max Bruch, “Eight Pieces,” Op. 83 (clarinet, viola and piano): Max Bruch (1838-1920) was one of the most prominent practitioners of 19th-Century German Romanticism (probably one of the composers whose “sauerkraut” Debussy and Satie wanted to leave behind).  He composed instrumental and choral music for the concert hall, theater and church.  He was also a conductor and, from 1891-1910, a professor of composition at the Berlin Hochschule für Musik.  His music was, like Mendelssohn’s, conservative in form and harmony, but it reflected “deep thoughtfulness and melodic richness.”  [Dubal]  Bruch composed his autumnal “Eight Pieces” at age 72 for his clarinetist son.  Seven of the eight are in minor keys that “draw the mellowest sound possible” from the instruments.  [Reel]  “Eight Pieces” is a work of special meaning to Brightmusic:  It was performed at Brightmusic’s second concert on January 13, 2004, by the same four wonderful musicians who will perform it at this concert. 

Brightmusic is on the Web at
From the press release

Friday, October 28, 2011



MEMPHIS, the 2010 Tony® Award Winner for Best Musical. makes its Oklahoma City debut at the Civic Center Music Hall November 8-13 for an engagement of eight performances.

MEMPHIS takes place in the smoky halls and underground clubs of the segregated 50’s, where a young white DJ named Huey Calhoun falls in love with everything he shouldn’t:  rock and roll and an electrifying black singer.  MEMPHIS is an original story about the cultural revolution that erupted when his vision met her voice, and the music changed forever.  Come along on their incredible journey to the ends of the airwaves -- filled with laughter, emotion and rock 'n' roll.

Critically acclaimed MEMPHIS won four 2010 Tony® Awards including Best Musical, Best Original Score (David Bryan and Joe DiPietro), Best Book (Joe DiPietro), and Best Orchestrations (David Bryan and Daryl Waters  MEMPHIS has also won four Outer Critic Circle Awards including Outstanding Choreography (Sergio Trujillo).

The show features a brand new Tony® winning score with music by Bon Jovi’s founding member and keyboardist David Bryan and lyrics by Bryan and Joe DiPietro (I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change), who also pens the musical’s book. Bryan and DiPietro also collaborated on the award-winning off-Broadway hit, The Toxic Avenger. MEMPHIS is based on a concept by the late George W. George (producer of the Tony® nominated Bedroom Farce and the film My Dinner With Andre), with direction by Tony® nominee Christopher Ashley (Xanadu) and choreography by Sergio Trujillo, who is currently represented by three shows on Broadway (Memphis, Jersey Boys  and The Addams Family).
Charles Isherwood of the New York Times says, “David Bryan evokes the powerhouse funk of James Brown, the hot guitar riffs of Chuck Berry, the smooth harmonies of the Temptations, the silken, bouncy pop of the great girl groups of the period.”

MEMPHIS comes to Oklahoma City’s Civic Center Music Hall November 8-13 for eight performances.  Tickets may be purchased via phone (800) 869-1451, (405) 297-2264, in person at the Civic Center Music Hall Box Office or online at  Groups of 10 or more may call Celebrity Attractions at (800) 869-1451 ext. 220 for a discount.

Get social with Celebrity Attractions by becoming a fan on  Follow the Oklahoma City engagement of MEMPHIS on or with hashtag #MemphisOKC. 

MEMPHIS is presented by Celebrity Attractions and is part of Celebrity Attractions 2011-2012 Broadway Season which includes THE ADDAMS FAMILY, STOMP, FIDDLER ON THE ROOF, the add-on productions of MAMMA MIA! and the Tulsa engagement of JERSEY BOYS.

From the press release 

Sunday, October 23, 2011


Miki Kawamura as Swanhilda. Photo provided
By Nancy Condit

Oklahoma City Ballet dancers Miki Kawamura and Yui  Sato, and artistic director Robert Mills in a major character role led the 21 member company in a well performed, full evening of a classic comedy ballet last night at the Civic Center Music Hall.  The last performance is today at 2 p.m. at the Civic Center, with a doll parade of children's favorite dolls at 1:30 p.m.

One of the true pleasures and measures of the ballet's success was the laughter of children when Doctor Coppelius, Mills, chased Swanhilda, Kawamura, and her friends around his laboratory after drugging Franz, Sato.  The miming gestures of what each character wanted and the huge creeping steps of Doctor Coppelius after Swanhilda's huge steps toward the closet where the doll Coppelia was kept were  very effective in this last major ballet of the romantic period.

The familiar score is by Leo Delibes, and the original choreography and libretto are by Arthur Saint-Leon, with additional choreography by artistic director Robert Mills and ballet master Jacob Sparso.  The ballet is based on two stories by E. T. A. Hoffman, Der Sandmann (The Sandman), and Die Puppe (The Doll).  Hoffman also wrote The Nutcracker, the story of a nutcracker that came to life, and the next ballet that OKC Ballet will present.  The lovely costumes and scenery were courtesy of the Eugene Ballet Company of Eugene, Oregon.  Lighting was by Dale Hall.

Kawamura, cast in the role of a young woman, danced well, with quick and precise footwork.  Sato, in his first role with the company, hung in the air in a leap at the end of act one.  His solos were generally good.  Kawamura and Sato partnered excellently, especially in the third act when the groom lifted the bride onto his shoulder.

Swanhilda's friends delicacy was particularly apparent when Mills, clad in old fashioned very baggy knee britches, and wearing a tightly curled grey wig, clunkily chased them around and out of his laboratory. The friends were danced by Sarah Chun, Stephanie Foraker-Pitts, Amanda Herd, and Callye McCollum. They performed beautifully throughout the ballet. Grace Medaugh as Dawn and Darli Iakovleva as Prayer danced well in small roles in the grand finale.

The company, with eight new members, danced extremely well.  The czardas, a Hungarian folk dance, was particularly enjoyable. The women were fluid, more than capable, and lovely.  The men are much improved, with greater height, and overall danced well.

Coppelia as presented last night was a grand ballet, with village scenes and dances to attract young men and women to each other, an act in a mad scientist's laboratory where the dolls come alive, and a grand finale third act wedding scene filled with dancing and a cast supplemented by members from the Oklahoma City dance community, and completed with young women holding aloft hoops of flowers while white and red rose petals fill the air around the bride, groom and celebrants.

c. by Nancy Condit

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


By Nancy Condit

The Oklahoma City Ballet will open its 40th season this Saturday and Sunday, October 23rd and 24th,
in the Civic Center Music Hall with the classical comic ballet Coppelia.

"The company is dancing wonderfully and I am very proud of this production.  In addition, I am dancing the role of Dr. Coppelius!  Well, it’s a character role without much dancing, but I am having a great time!" wrote artistic director Robert Mills in an email. 

The full-length ballet, which premiered in 1870, is also identified as the last great ballet of the romantic ballet period by Jack Anderson, retired dance critic of the New York Times, in his book Ballet & Modern Dance, A Concise History, 2nd edition. 

The story is that of an inventor, Doctor Coppelius, who has made a life-sized doll.  It is so real that Franz, the village swain, is infatuated with it.  He drops Swanhilda for the doll, who takes the doll's place and pretends to come to life. Photo provided.

The score is by Leo Delibes, and the original choreography and libretto are by Arthur Saint-Leon, with additional choreography by artistic director Robert Mills and ballet master Jacob Sparso.  The ballet is based on two stories by E. T. A. Hoffman, Der Sandmann (The Sandman), and Die Puppe (The Doll).  Hoffman also wrote The Nutcracker, the story of a nutcracker which came to life.  The ballet is enjoyed by audiences of all ages.

Dancing the leading roles are Miki Kawarmura as Swanhilda, and new company dancer Yui Sato as Franz.
Artistic director Robert Mills is dancing the character role of Dr. Coppelius.

Coppelia will be performed at Saturday, October 22nd, and at on Sunday the 23rd.  Children are encouraged to bring their favorite dolls to the doll parade at before the Sunday matinee.   Saturday evening at , Camille Hardy, associate professor of dance history from the University of Oklahoma, will give a lecture on the history of Coppelia in the south lobby of the Civic Center.

Tickets for Coppelia range from $52 to $31 for adults, and $47 to $26 for seniors.  Four packs are available in the mezzanine for families of four for $50 by calling 843-9898.

For more information visit the website or call 843-9898.

 c. Nancy Condit
See my article with Robert Mills at