Wednesday, June 22, 2011

                                                                        Photo provided

By Nancy Condit

RACE, the only professional jazz dance company in Oklahoma, will perform “The Amazing Race…when reality meets dance!” this weekend.  It underscores RACE’s mission statement, to bring “about social awareness and change through dance performances and dance education.”  The performances at , June 23rd and 24th at the Plaza Theater, will offer jazz, hip hop and popular dances with a commercial emphasis.
"The show will feature RACE dancers as well as three local celebrities -- Ms. Oklahoma, Count Gregor and a surprise, for “Dancing with the Local Stars." The audience will be able to connect with their favorites as we offer an entertaining, yet thought provoking look at the impact reality shows have on our society," writes Hui Cha Poos, head of RACE, and the Jazz Department at the University of Central Oklahoma in an interview and her press release.
Poos started RACE because "I saw a need for professional dance in OKC...having watched so many wonderful dancers (some I taught, some I didn't), quit dancing or move away because there was nothing here for them to do.  Owning a studio and teaching are great alternatives but don't fill that void of (not) performing.   There are a plethora of incredible performers in this state.  I am aware of a couple of companies but not one that specializes in more commercial dance like we do.

“I also feel a need to use dance as an outlet for the message of inclusion.  We need more social awareness and exposure so we can grow as a community.”  RACE stands for the Radical Application of Creative Energy."
Company members are Amanda Beard, Carmen Downey, Brandi Gable, Olivia Graeff, Allison High, Tasha Hinex, Rachel Parks, and Katelyn Wren.
Guest performers are Stephanie Foraker, Sami Kropp, Amanda Herd, and Frankie Morgan
The Jr. RACE company rehearses, takes class with and performs with Race, and are from the ages of 15-18. Jr. RACE members are Hayden Bingaman, Rachel Dickson, Alli Paige Hill, Reid Lunnon, Jenny Rader, Hayley Southard, and Kaitlin Speer
Their Fall Show will be Oklahoma City's first "Hip Hop Nutcracker."  "This is a new and exciting look at an old classic and we hope to commission Hip Hop and Contemporary dancers for roles and will be searching the community for corps dancers. Also slated for the upcoming season, the ever popular Race Fashion Show, Race through the Ages and Westside Storiez!
Tickets are available at and at the door.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


Photo by Russell Patton

By Nancy Condit

The Water Garden Society of Oklahoma will hold its annual tour of some of the most lovely and interesting water gardens in central Oklahoma this weekend, June 25th and 26th, from 9 a. to 6 p. The water garden builders will be there to talk about the gardens, and tell how they did it.

Photo by Russell Patton

Some gardens are shaded.  Some are not.  Some are beginning gardens.  Others are advanced, and,
occasionally, one has a 21' sailboat -- I haven't seen it, but it's in the description in the map book,
available at the sites listed on the website.  They are $3.  The tour itself is free.

Two gardens in the book caught my eye: the small geometric water gardens at 11228 Springhollow Court on page 22, and the three multilevel ponds at 3516 NW 52nd Street on page 23.

Gardens are in Edmond, Bethany, northwest OKC, Choctaw, Midwest City, south OKC, Noble, and Yukon.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Photo by Gary Thomas


By Nancy Condit

            Perpetual Motion’s Floored! was an edgy, energetic performance of aerial dance and modern dance last Friday night. They played to a full house.         
            While the evening featured three aerial pieces, including a lovely new piece using silks that focused on the lyrical, much of the evening was aggressive, and confronted being pushed around.
            .  It was good to see the professional modern dance company back at the Plaza Theater with its lighting and other technical supports.
            This performance drew on company’s dancers strengths as choreographers.      Artistic director Michelle Dexter’s “Girls Gone Wild West” took place in a bar as three dancers tried to get over being scorned, angrily dancing at angles but powerfully extending themselves to show the extent of their rage.  The music was composed by the Reverend Stan Horton and the Pixies.
            The visual center of the evening was the peaceful new aerial dance “Tryquad” danced in white aerial silks.  It opened with two slowly spinning silks spread like cocoon slings, each holding a horizontal dancer.  The third silk was used to suspend the other two dancers, one at a time, under the arms.  The dancers/choreographers Emily Dawson, Kayla Jenkins, Stephanie Letendre and Leslie Connor also worked and partnered on the floor.  The music was by Dustin O’Halloran and DeVotchka.
            Aerial director Kim Kieffer-Williams’s “Stillness at the Center,” performed in and around a rotating open metal cube that she built, was also visually arresting with four flourescent red clad dancers in tank tops and long dance shorts against a black background.  The meditative piece is based on the Sufi mystics’ practice of twirling to “find the meditative stillness at the center, the God,” she said.
            Guest experimental choreographer Jordan Fuchs, from Texas Women’s University, and one of Dance New Amsterdam’s 2011 New Performance Artists, choreographed a fairly revolting bit of mime opening “The Fives” as two dancers first took out one’s entrails and wrapped them around her neck, and then the other flayed her from the waist up and over her head.  It’s funnier in words than on the stage, probably because the dancers are so convincing.  It should be noted that he “sourced from the dancers” as well as himself.  The piece that purposely started with bad mime went on to a vocabulary of current dance -- social dancing, modern dance, dance theater and partnering.
            Guest choreographer Stephanie Thibault, from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, choreographed “Covetous, Our Bond Endures,” as four dancers explore the ties that hold them together in spite of forces that pit them against each other. Thibault used partnering well in this piece, both to keep people together, and apart. The jade green dresses that came just below the knee were lovely.
            PM2, the teen troupe, performed “Il M’aime…Non” was sprightly and charming.  Dancers Lauren Carter, Alexis Elrod, Kaitlyn Hunter, Nattie Marshall and Amanda  Tipton decided whether he loved them or he loved them not to music by Rupa & the April Fishes.  Their orange poppy covered white balloon skirted strapless dresses almost stole the show, but the dancers and their dance vocabulary, with choreography by Amy Nevius, kept the focus on them.
            It was good to see enjoyable dances by other troupe members, including Leslie Conner’s “Anticipation,” Emily Dawson’s “Truth to Hold Me In,” Kayla Jenkins’ “It’s Complicated…” and Leah Watson’s “Through the Fire.”  Kieffer-Williams’ fall from the trapeze in “Trip the Dark Fantastic” she told me it was planned, and her “A Lovely Bunch of Coconuts” proves that modern dancers do a great kick line, with a terrific fan kick.
            Comparing this show to their one three years ago at the Plaza, Perpetual Motion does not seem to be concentrating as much on lighting as it did before.  The lighting for each dance was enjoyable, but did not create “sets” as fully as three years ago, and was somewhat repetitive.  However, lighting technician Jacob Langthorn’s work was appreciated.
LOOKING FORWARD: Perpetual Motion’s Oklahoma Contemporary Dance Festival will perform choreography by Oklahoma City company directors Michelle Dexter (Perpetual Motion), Austin Hartel (Hartel Dance Group), Kim Kieffer-Williams (Perpetual Motion, Robert Mills (Oklahoma City Ballet) and Hau Cha Poos (RACE Dance).  Perpetual Motion, Hartel Dance Group and RACE Dance will perform two works each.  The directors are choreographing one work each.
            The performances are tentatively scheduled August 3rd and 4th at City Arts Center.  Check the company’s website for tickets:

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


Catch Perpetual Motion Modern Dance Company's cutting edge dance  at
the Plaza Theater at 8 p.m. this Friday, June 3, and Saturday, June 4.  Buy
tickets online at perpetual, or at the door before the performance.