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.

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