Friday, June 14, 2013


By Nancy Condit

Perhaps the best thing about Dance United is bringing the four Oklahoma City area's professional dance companies together in a benefit. The groups are Hartel Dance Group's organic modern dance that seeks to connect with the audience on a visceral level,Oklahoma City Ballet's classical and contemporary ballet, Perpetual Motion's cutting edge modern dance, and RACE's jazz, contemporary and hip-hop that seeks "bringing about social awareness and change through dance performances and dance education."

Friday night's excellent dress rehearsal for the Saturday 8 pm gala performance and after party was especially meaningful because of the the people it seeks to help, and the people it empowers by giving and experiencing some catharsis.

The benefit performance, $25 admission, will be at Hudson Performance Hall, 2801 NW 27th Street.

Among the many good pieces was the outstanding "What's love got to do with it?" excerpt, choreographed by Austin Hartel from Hartel Dance Group, and performed by Maggie Boyett and Casey Coy to music by Apocalyptica. It opens with a woman sitting on a crouched man's shoulders facing backwards. As
he rises, their hands are still joined as she stands on his lower back, then sits astride his shoulder. The piece is full of levered and cantilevered holds as he supports her even upside down, requiring balance and great strength from the dancers.

One of the most famous dances in dance history was added to Oklahoma City Ballet's repertoire -- "The Dying Swan," choreographed by Michael Fokine on Anna Pavlova to music by Camille Saint-Saens, and performed with exquisitely fluid arms and good presence by Miki Kawamura. Playing for the dance were Valerie Tatge on the cello, and Peggy Payne from the Oklahoma City Philharmonic.

Perpetual Motion choreographer Michelle Moeller's "Water Won't Wait" was especially appropriate as the dancers were swept along by the water of long white silk. They were stopped by eddies, swept along, resisted the force, and one dance finally walked along peacefully as though along a stream bed. Music was by Jody Red Redhage, with a good film to be shown tomorrow night -- I saw it at their spring performance -- by K. Edward Osdal. Dancers were Emily Dawson, Maria Krey, Kim Kieffer and Leah Watson.

RACE's "We are all connected," choreographed by Jeremy Duvall to music played by Sweet Disposition, and composed by The Temper Trap, was danced by the company in white chemises with embroidered yokes, in bare feet, extending the company's range to contemporary/modern dance. Amanda Brown, Ashley Beard, Brandi Kelley, Ketelyn Perkins and Melissa Sluice performed the joyous piece.

 A reception will follow the performance at Packard's New American Kitchen. Located at 201 N.W. 10th Street Suite 100, Oklahoma City. Packard's is a new concept with a trendy atmosphere and eclectic menu. Packard's will be donating beer and wine on their beautiful rooftop bar. Donations are suggested and the post-performance event will start as soon as the Dance United performance is over. To enter, please bring your ticket. All donations will also be donated to the Central Oklahoma Chapter of the American Red Cross.

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