Wednesday, February 20, 2013


Marian Wright Edelman.
Photo courtesy of OCU

Marian Wright Edelman, a children’s advocate and legal advisor to Martin Luther King Jr., will give a presentation at 7:30 p.m. March 6 as part of Oklahoma City University’s Distinguished Speakers series. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. The event is free to the public and will be held in the Henry J. Freede Wellness and Activity Center at N.W. 27th Street and Florida Avenue.
Edelman has focused her career on helping disadvantaged Americans. She is the founder and president of the Children’s Defense Fund, which for 40 years has provided an influential voice on matters affecting children and families.
In the 1960s, as a young lawyer and the first black woman admitted to the Mississippi Bar, she directed the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund before becoming counsel to civil rights leader King’s Poor People’s Campaign. She founded the Washington Research Project and was director of Harvard’s Center for Law and Education.
The recipient of more than 100 honorary degrees, Edelman has earned many awards including the MacArthur Fellowship, the Albert Schweitzer Prize for Humanitarianism and the United States’ highest civilian prize, the Presidential Medal of Freedom. She is the first woman elected by alumni as a member of the Yale University Corporation.
For more information about the Distinguished Speakers series call (405) 208-4956 or visit


Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble at Douglass High School
Black Liberated Arts Center, Inc. will present the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble  on Saturday, February 23rd at 8:00 p.m. at the Frederick A. Douglass High School Auditorium, 900 N. Martin L. King, Jr.  The 40 year old Denver based company, in the middle of its Spring tour, will travel to Crested Butte, Colorado and Seattle, Washington before the Oklahoma City appearance.

Christopher Frazier, the Oklahoma City native who graduated as Valedictorian of the Southeast High School Class of 2008, was selected by Alvin Ailey Dance Company of and Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble after graduating from OU in 2012. He was featured on the cover and in a two page article in the March 2, 2012 of the Norman Transcript etc., a guide to the arts & entertainment, in a special edition, “A Dancer’s Life – Behind the scenes of Contemporary Dance Oklahoma." After talking with his mother, he decided to join the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble.

Led by its founder, executive director and choreographer Cleo Parker Robinson, the company has performed in Iceland, Singapore, Hawaii, Nassau, Belize, Israel, Egypt, Turkey and throughout Europe and Africa.  Parker Robinson holds an Honorary Doctorate Degree from Denver University (1991), an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Colorado College (2003) and an Honorary Doctorate of Public Service from Regis University, Denver (2008).

In 1998, President Clinton named Ms. Parker Robinson as one of two artists to be appointed to the National Council on the Arts in Washington, D. C. where she served until 2005.  She received a Kennedy Center Medal of Honor during the Center’s “Master of African American Choreographers” series.

The Dance Ensemble will arrive on February 20th and will work with Oklahoma City 4th, 5th and 6th graders from several area schools.  Selected students will perform a Welcome Dance at Douglass on the same stage as the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble. 

This performance is made possible by the MetLife Community Connections Fund of the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project.  Major support for the National Dance Project is also provided by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation with additional support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.  Local support is provided by the Oklahoma Arts Council and the Ad Astra Foundation.

Tickets for the performance are on sale at Learning Tree Toys, Charlie’s Jazz, Rhythm & Blues Store and Hopkins HairCare at $20 general admission.  VIP tickets that include reserved seats and a reception are $50 and can be purchased at BLAC, Inc. offices using MasterCard, Visa, checks or cash.  Discount tickets are offered at BLAC, Inc.  For more information, call (405)524-3800.

From the press releases

CENTER 21st AND 22nd

Harriet Tubman. Photo from the Library of Congress from the web.

The Oklahoma History Center offers a Living History performance celebrating
Black History month that will bring to life one of the most revered heroines in
American history on February 21st and 22nd. A reenactor as Harriet Tubman
will discuss her escape to freedom, her work on the Underground Railroad, service
as a scout and nurse for the Union Army, and her work as a Spy.

The museum will host special student programs at 10:30 each day and
registration is required. Thursday evening, Feb. 21st,  the museum will open
its doors at 6:00 p.m. for a family friendly program with the performance
beginning at 7:00 p.m.. Friday afternoon, Feb. 22nd, the museum will offer a
matinee at 2:00 p.m. Seating for both programs is limited and available on a
first come basis. This program is made possible through the support of
SONIC, America's Drive-In, and the Oklahoma Humanities Council. Admission to
Harriet Tubman Live! Programs are free!

For information about the Harriet Tubman programs please contact Jason
Harris at or by phone at 405-522-0785.
From the press release

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Paul Taylor Dance Company
From the web
By Nancy Condit

Today, February 14th, Valentine's Day, is the world wide day to raise awareness that
ONE in THREE WOMEN WORLD WIDE will be RAPED or ABUSED in their lifetime
[stats from the 2003 UNIFEM report entitled "Not A Minute More: Ending Violence Against Women," or 2008, the UNITE To End Violence Against Women Campaign, initiated by UN Secretary-General's Office].

Dance by yourself, dance in your home, with another, with others in your office, or outside on this
lovely 62 degree day. The UN will be outside on the plaza dancing with you. UCO has an event scheduled at 2 pm.

For more information, go to

Thanks to actress Anne Hathaway on the Jay Leno Show for bringing this to my attention.

Monday, February 11, 2013


Artistic director Robert Mills and ballet master Jacob Sparso before the performance.
Photo by Nancy Condit

By Nancy Condit

Oklahoma City Ballet's Paris Rouge concert of three ballets was a varied, strong presentation Saturday night, February 9, at the Civic Center. They danced an older ballet, Bournonville's l842 "Napoli Divertissements," then what artistic director Robert Mills referred to as the "palette cleanser" contemporary work "Pushing Pennies," and an end of the 19th century ballet "Gaite Parisienne."

The "Napoli Divertissements" dances are all that remain of the ballet "Napoli" that Danish dancer and choreographer August Bournonville choreographed in l842. Ballet master Jacob Sparso, who received training at the Royal Danish Ballet from ten until his graduation, when he danced one of the leads, staged the dances. Bournonville used a lot of technique from the waist down, with rapid foot steps and bouncing leaps -- not involving the arms, which was difficult for some of the dancers, who were used to the Marius Petipas style of grand leaps and lifts. In the pre-program talk Sparso said that dancers were not allowed leeway in changing steps. "That is like putting touches on the Mona Lisa. Some of the dancers try, but that's what I'm here for. 'No, no, no, you can't do that,'" he said with a smile after the talk. Sparso grew up seeing this work time after time, as well as performing it. Sparso also set the dances on the Royal Ballet of Flanders in Belgium.

The light, quick steps were lovely and technically demanding in the lovely festival dances that ended the happy resolution of the ballet, placed in sunny Italy. Ellany Abbott was particularly notable as she stood still repeatedly on one pointe, with the other leg tucked under her waltz length tutu, or occasionally extended. Tremendous. The group of 16 dancers danced together best in the "Tarantella."

The women have always been strong in the company, but, as noted at the beginning of the season, the men, with three new members, are much improved in their leaps.

"Pushing Pennies," choreographed by Mills, remains an exciting contemporary ballet danced the way you would dance if you could to Philip Glass' "Violin Concerto #2" and "Mishima" from his "String Quartet." The contemporary ballet, performed on pointe, is an "experiment in controlled randomness with the dancers' entrances, exits and where they dance on stage...(which) were manipulated depended on where the number they drew told them to go" [program notes].

Miki Kawamura's and Yui Sato's fluid isolations in the first and second solos were lovely. In their duet, Stephanie Foraker Pitts and Josh Crespo struggled and then came together, with the copper costumes, especially the flat tutu worn by Pitts, contributing to the dance.

The piece was marked by strong musicality throughout, with the final section filled with about 15 dancers fluidly crossing the stage, building different heights as solos, couples, and, finally, a multiple of five dancers. However, the stage was too dark for the dancers to be seen clearly.

The terrific copper colored leotards, with flat tutus on the women, were designed by Mills and Michael Jones.

"Paris Rouge," choreographed and directed by Mills, with selections of music from Jacques Offenbach"s "Gaite Parisienne" and "Orpheus in the Underworld,," was a boisterous, enthusiastic, touching and well danced portrayal of an evening of 1900 nightlife at "the" Paris cabaret. "Paris Rouge" is full of color, amour, and people out on the town.  "There are definite references to Massine's choreography in my version but, for the most part it is very different. I think the most similarity would be in the can can, since it is a style of dance that was actually invented in Parisianne nightclubs during that era. You can't alter the can can!" Mills replied from his iPhone to my question about the reminiscence to Masine's "Gaite Parisenne," choreographed in 1938 to Offenbach's mid 19th century composition.

Of particular note were Ezlimar Dortolina as Louise, the star with the beautiful legs, on Saturday night,
Tye Love as the nerdy, just off the boat Peruvian, who jumped and moved his legs from side to side in his excitement throughout the piece, Miki Kawamura as an heiress in a dignified classic solo while wearing an enormous period hat, and Callye McCollum as the aspiring performer on Saturday -- she's a Can can Girl on Sunday, Yui Sato, who was particularly impressive as the dancing master of the Can can girls, as he performed his solo and supported the leaps and handstands with splits of each of his dancers, and threw in a forward handstand somersault, and the Can can girls with the handling of their skirts in traditional leg lifts and showing off frilly underthings.

"Swan Lake," with the Oklahoma City Philharmonic, is the final performance of the season at 8 p.m. April 19th and 20th, and at 2 p.m. on April 21st at the Civic Center Music Hall. Guest artists from the Houston Ballet Nao Kusuzaki and Christopher Coomer will perform on the 20th and 21st.

The annual fund raising Black & White Ball Gala will take place March 30th at 6 p.m. in the Devon Tower Rotunda with an auction, dinner and dancing. There will be special performances by the OKC Ballet, and live music by Squadlive.  Individual tickets are $250, or $2,250 for a table of ten. Call Leslie Thomas at 843.9898 for more information.

Saturday, February 2, 2013


By Nancy Condit

"Paris Rouge," from OKC Ballet.

Three ballets make up the 8 p.m. Saturday, February 9th, and 2 p.m. Sunday, February 10th performances of the Oklahoma City Ballet : artistic director Robert Mills' rechoreographed
Paris Rouge of Parisian night life, the romance era  Napoli Divertisements, and Mills'
contemporary ballet Pushing Pennies at the Civic Center. Of particular interest is the 7 p.m. talk on Saturday evening in the Civic Center's south lobby with Mills and ballet master Jacob Sparso, who performed in Napoli Divertisements while he was with the Royal Danish Ballet.

"I love to put together triple bill evenings that show a diverse mix of choreographic styles, costuming and music... The result is a fast paced evening with something for every taste," Mills wrote to

The order of the dances is opening with Napoli Divertisements, an intermission, continuing to Pushing Pennies, another intermission, and finishing with Paris Rouge.

"Paris Rouge," from OKC Ballet

Mills has rechoreographed his own Paris Rouge, his original adaptation of Gaite Parisienne  to Jacques Offenbach's music choreographed by Leonide Massine in 1938. The rousing view of Paris nightlife, including the can can, has elements from two Moulin Rouge movies, emphasizing the 2001 musical starring  Nicole Kidman, and the 1952 film. The ballet's leading role of Louise, that echoes Kidman's role of Satine, is alternatively danced by new company member Ezlimer Dortolina from Caracas, Venezela, and veteran company dancer Stephanie Foraker Pitts. The poet who secures her love is danced in turn by Ryan Piper and Josh Crespo.

Napoli Divertisements, a series of dances, is taken from August Bournonville's full-length ballet "Napoli (The Fisherman and his Bride)," which premiered with the Royal Danish Ballet in l842. The dance is "a classic, pure dance piece from one of the greatest influences of the romantic era," says Mills in the press release.

Pushing Pennies is choreographed by Mills to music by Philip Glass. Mills describes it as an experiment in controlled randomness. "The dancers' entrances, exits and where they dance on stage were selected by drawing a number from 1-20, each number represented a quadrant onstage or a wing leading offstage.  Their movement phrases were then manipulated depending on where the number they drew told them to go" [from the press release].

Asked whether he was familiar with the late dance pioneer Merce Cunningham's similar style of work, Mills wrote to this blog: "Although I am aware of the work in which Merce Cunningham used a similar technique as I did in Pushing Pennies, I have never seen that particular work. 

"My inspiration in using the 'controlled randomness' method I used in creating Pushing Pennies was a way to challenge myself as an artist and a choreographer to create something outside of my comfort zone.  Regardless of the artistic medium (be it visual art, music composition, etc.) artists can fall into familiar patterns in creating new work.  This is why you can sometimes hear music and know exactly who the composer is or you can see choreography and witness certain signature movements that hint to a particular choreographer's work.  I like to work in different ways each time I create a new piece. In using this method with Pushing Pennies I was able to come up with a ballet that I wouldn't have thought of having used a more conventional method to develop the patterns and steps."

One .25 carat diamond solitaire necklace will be given away to one audience member during intermission at both the Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon performances, and all attendees can get free photos with their date at the interactive Paris Rouge-themed photo booth in the lobby prior to both shows.

Individual ticket prices range from $33 to $55. Online ticketing is available at, by phone at 405.848.TOES (8637) or at the Civic Center Box Office. Check the website and Facebook pages for special packages.

Friday, February 1, 2013


Saturday, June 29 at 7:30PM
Chesapeake Energy Arena  

Even though the New Year has just begun, New Kids on the Block fans already know they have a lot to look forward to in the coming months! As announced today on their total takeover of The View, NKOTB revealed plans of a 2013 summer headlining tour. Very special guests multi-platinum selling artists 98 Degrees and Grammy Award winning Boyz II Men, the best-selling R&B group of all time, will be opening for NKOTB on their tour, aptly titled THE PACKAGE TOUR.  This is the first tour for 98 Degrees in over 12 years! NKOTB surprised The View audience with a special reveal of 98 Degrees and Boyz II Men, giving fans a taste of THE PACKAGE TOUR when all bands performed a capella, sending the audience into a frenzy. The tour comes to Oklahoma City on Saturday, June 29th and tickets can be purchased Saturday, February 2.

You are invited to purchase your tickets during a special venue presale on Friday, February 1st! Get your tickets before they go on sale to the general public!

Presale Begins: Friday, February 1 at 10:00AM
Presale Ends: Friday, February 1 at 10:00PM
Passcode: TOUGH
 *Live Nation/Venue presale box will be visible on the ticket link on Friday morning at 10AM.  Enter
   the passcode in the "Live Nation/Venue Presale" area.

Find Tickets 
Tickets go on sale to the general public at 10:00AM on Saturday, February 2. A lottery system may be used to determine who will be first in line to purchase tickets on Saturday, February 2 at the Chesapeake Energy Arena box office.