Monday, July 18, 2011


Photo provided

By Nancy Condit

            R.A.C.E. Dance Company’s annual performance and fundraiser was a pulsing, enjoyable evening of jazz, hip-hip and popular dances with aimed at commercial dance at the Lyric Theater June 24th.  Led by Hui Cha Poos, head of R.A.C.E., the only professional jazz company in Oklahoma continues to present exciting dancers in programs that live up to its mission statement bringing “about social awareness and change through dance performances and education.”
            This year’s performance was a spoof of and comment on TV’s reality shows – “The Amazing R.A.C.E….When Reality Meets Dance.”  It showed a physically and emotionally strong company that danced well under the artistic direction of Poos, and co-directors Emily South and Jennifer Stevenson.   
            Two of the best dances for timing were “Chopped,” choreographed by Hui Cha-Poos, as dancers Brandi Gable, Rachel Parks, and Hui Cha-Poos chopped knives, pans, lids, smiled for the camera, and one cut another’s throat with a spatula, and the highly imaginative  “Tap Chef,” choreographed by James Grigsby, as dancers Amanda Beard, Ilivia Graeff, and Rachel Parks took the sounds of the great clog type tap dance and incorporated clapping hands and leg slaps into the rousing dance.
            Another standout was the urban African bush dance performed to choreographer Emily South’s “Survivor.”  Dancers from the RACE and Junior RACE troupes combined in this thrilling dance full of the joy of dance and the juice of life.  The dancers were Hayden Bingaman, Rachael Dickson, Olivia Graeff, Allison High, Alli Paige Hill, Reid Lunnon, Jenni Rader, Haley Southard and Kaitlin Speer.
            “Toddlers and Tiaras,” choreographed by Jennifer Martinez Stevenson, was well danced, appropriately disturbing, and funny as the dancers from Junior Race dance group showed that toddlers can try to walk the runway, but end up pushing and shoving each other for the tiara as it was carried back and forth across the set on a pillow.
            America’s Got Talent Frankie Morgan,” choreographed by Kristin McQuaid, solo by Frankie Morgan, was an energetic, imaginative dance performed by a strong dancer.      
            Oklahoma’s Best Dance Crew #2 TABS, choreographed by John Ariete, with pushing and shoving over a guy, was a performed by a good dance group and showed the strength of the company’s talent.
            Emoly West, a former Miss Oklahoma, performed a good lyrical dance in “America’s Got Talent Emoly West” choreographed by Mia Davis.
            Oklahoma’s Best Dance Crew #4 JROCK” was a hip-hop number choreographed by Poos.  The dancers led with their heads and the rest of their bodies followed.  Adding more fun was the one supposedly out of synch dancer, in dress as well as dance, who finally fit in with the dance, and they with him, leading to part of RACE’s mission statement by Poos, “I also feel a need to use dance as an outlet for the message of inclusion.”
            Also of note were the well danced “The Bachelor,” choreographed by Christina Woodard and danced by the company, the funny “Dancing with the Local Stars with Count Gregor,” choreographed by Shelly Rothell Jafar, and danced by Jafar and John Ferguson, the sexy music video “Search for the Next Pussy Cat Doll,” choreographed by  Poos, the pleasing modern  “Oklahoma’s Got Talent Kelli Clark,” choreographed and danced by Clark, and the eye-catching “Scare Tactics,” choreographed by Kim Loveridge, with metallic masked dancers moving in angular geometric patterns.
            Company dancers were Poos, South, Stevenson, Amanda Beard, Carmen Downey, Brandi Gable, Olivia Graeff, Allison High, Tasha Hinex Rachel Park and Kattelyn Wren.  Guest performers included Amanda Herd, Sami Kropp, Frankie Morgan and Stephanie Foraker-Pitts.  Junior RACE dancers included Hayden Bingaman, Rachael Dickson, Alli Paige Hill, Reid Lunnon, Jenni Rader, Hayley Southard and Kaitlin Speer.
            Watch for the Oklahoma Contemporary Dance Festival, at , August 5 and 6 in the evening at Oklahoma City Community College.  Choreographers are Michelle Dexter (Perpetual Motion), Austin Hartel (Hartel Dance Group), Kim Kieffer-Williams (Perpetual Motion), Robert Mills (Oklahoma City Ballet) and Hui Cha Poos (RACE Dance).  Two works each will be performed by Perpetual Motion, Hartel Dance Group and RACE Dance. The directors are choreographing one work.  Master classes are also available by checking .
            RACE will be holding auditions for RACE and Jr. RACE on August 13 and 14.  More information is coming on the website at

No comments:

Post a Comment