Thursday, June 7, 2012


By Nancy Condit

Race Dance Company presented a varied and interesting performance last Friday night as it sought through “Race Ed – The Education of Race” to give “an understanding that race is only one aspect of who we are as humans. If we can look past it, we can see ourselves as we really are…spirits waiting to be released!” wrote producer director Hui Cha Poos in the program.

 The venue was the upstairs stage at the historic Oklahoma City Farmers’ Market. The performance was followed by a dance with the audience, cast and crew.  If the audience looked a little sparse, it could have been that Perpetual Motion was also performing that night. While Race is a relatively new company – and the only professional jazz company in Oklahoma, it usually plays to full houses at places like Mitchell Hall at UCO.

“After Hours,” choreographed by Missy Dray, with music by Elephant Gun, was one of the standouts of the evening.  The lyrical jazz dance incorporated mostly modern moves, with a few ballet steps by six dancers in yellow-lit knee length white dresses.

Tasha Hinex’ performance and Poos’ choreography of “Bang-Bang,” with music by Bang Bang, was a highlight of continuous slithering sinuous hip hop in skin tight black leather pants and a black bustier.

“Baby Blue,” choreographed by Poos with music by Ruby Blue, was a stylized 70’s jazz number, with dancers clasping hands, posing with knees turned in, and, always, dancing with a backward slant.

Allison High danced what seemed more a struggle than “With Thanks,” choreographed by Jennifer Martinez Stevenson to music by Alibi.  The modern dance was performed on the stage floor, with varied and flowing moves as she sought to be free..

Lighting designers Matt Avra and Art Whaley work was especially good in “After Hours” and “Baby Blue.”

Guest artists Kelly Forbes and Marti Rickman from Clips ‘n Hips performed a fusion of the paso doble and salsa calena – the Columbian salsa.  With the older Spanish music and Forbes’ partnering, Rickman looked exquisitely delicate.

Other guest artists included Erika Reyes dancing an enjoyable flamenco. Teaze Burlesque, performed a 50’s style burlesque with a feather boa and a long red skintight satin dress.  The unidentified dancers of two pieces took it off like a lady, and still had 50’s style undies on, so it was “audience appropriate.”  Tao Ling performed the Chinese Thai Tao Fan dance with one, then two fans putting a softer edge on her almost martial arts moves.

Jr. Race’s “Hip Hop,” choreographed by John Ariete with a mix of music by Nicki Minaj, Britney and LMFAO, had the metallic clad performers in an aggressive hip hop dance that they performed well.

Company dancers were Tasha Hines, Brandi Kelley, Allison High, Amanda Beard, Rachel Parks, Katelyn Wren, and Christine Soileau, with apprentices Jamie Crone, Chanel Roland and Chrintine Riesenweber.  Jr. Race dancers included Mina Chong, Kaitlyn Lutz, Kara Mickle, Makenzie Miller, and Kaitlin Speer.


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