Saturday, May 5, 2012


Miguel Terekhov is his portrayal of the Baron in Leonide Massine’s Gaîté Parisienne with  Ballet Russe  de Monte Carlo  during the 1950s. Photo furnished

The University of Oklahoma School of Dance will host a memorial celebration on May 6 at 3:00 p.m. in Historic Holmberg Hall, part of the Reynolds Performing Arts Center on the OU campus to honor Miguel Terekhov who, with his wife Yvonne Chouteu, founded the initial program in dance here in 1963.  Following decades of service to dance and to the university, Terekhov passed away on January 3. He was eighty-three.

“What Terekhov accomplished was true artistic pioneering,” observed Mary Margaret Holt, director of the School of Dance.  “His dedication to classicism – especially the highest standards of training in ballet – and his sheer love of dance enabled him to carve out and nourish a niche for this art form on campus.  He created and fed a curriculum that made it possible for a dancer to begin the first stages toward professionalism.  His were the first fine arts classes to require meetings five days each week.”  Like some other classical artists of his generation, Terekhov was in the vanguard of those who planted seeds from the Diaghilev tradition in the Americas.

As principal dancers with Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, and Terekhov with Col. Wassily de Basil’s Original Ballet Russe. Earlier, he and Chouteau arrived in Oklahoma City in 1961 with two baby daughters to visit her parents.  C.E. Chouteau – Yvonne’s father – convinced OU President George Lynn Cross that ballet classes would be an excellent addition to current courses in physical education.  From such a modest beginning, Terekhov built the university’s program, which was established in 1963, as one of the first fully accredited curricula in dance in the U. S.

The memorial event will attempt to honor the many aspects of Terekhov’s life as a performer, choreographer and dedicated teacher.  A still photo montage will present details from his early career with Original Ballet Russe and Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo.  Video clips will show him rehearsing pas de deux with Chouteau.  Live excerpts from some of his ballets such as Firebird, Verdi Divertimento and the “Osage Variation” from The Four Moons will be danced.  A section from Mary Margaret Holt’s Balletudes will demonstrate the admirable technical strength of the program he and Chouteau built.  Contemporary Dance Oklahoma will show work addressing Terekhov’s reinforcement of modern dance with his invitation to Ko Yukihiro to found roots of the current curriculum. Speakers will include Holt, Director of the School of Dance since 1998, and Marcelo Angelini, Artistic Director of  the Tulsa Ballet.  A reception will follow in the School of Dance Gallery, Room 3040 in the Donald W. Reynolds Performing Arts Center.

Tickets are $20 and may be purchased through the Fine Arts Box Office in the Catlett Music Center at 500 West Boyd Street or by telephoning 405-325-4101.  All proceeds from the performance benefit the Chouteau-Terekhov Scholarship Fund established by the Terekhov family.   Those who are unable to attend, but wish to make a contribution either to the Chouteau-Terekhov Scholarship Fund or to the School of Dance Ballets Russes Archive,  may send  checks made payable  to the OU Foundation and mailed to the School of Dance, 560  Parrington Oval, Norman, OK 73019.

Terekhov is survived by his wife Yvonne Chouteau; daughter Christie Conway, her husband Kevin and their sons Sean and Ryan; and daughter Elizabeth Impallomeni.


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