Wednesday, October 2, 2013


By Nancy Condit

Mowgli, The Jungle Book Ballet will open the 2013-2014 OKC Ballet season. Photo courtesy of Eugene Ballet

Oklahoma City Ballet will open its 2013-14 season, "From the Page to the Stage," with the Southwest Premiere of Mowgli, The Jungle Book Ballet. Based on Rudyard Kipling’s classic story The Jungle Book, this full-length ballet is sure to captivate fans of theater and dance of all ages. After its World Premiere in Eugene, Oregon this past April, OKC Ballet is proud to welcome this new innovative ballet to Oklahoma October 11-13 at the Civic Center Music Hall in downtown Oklahoma City.
Stephanie Foraker Pitts displays the costume of Mao the Peacock. Image provided.

"The choreography is innovative because of its use of classical East Indian dance combined with classical ballet. People may forget that the Jungle Book stories written by Kipling take place in the Jungle's of India. The choreographer, Toni Pimble, studied East Indian classical dance while she trained at England's Elmhurst Ballet School. She uses positions, hand gestures, head and eye positions and a very specific way of walking within some of the dances of the ballet. Much of the choreography, set and costume designs takes its inspiration from that," wrote Robert Mills, artistic director, to
Eugene Ballet Company artistic director Toni Pimble’s work has been performed by many ballet companies in the United States including the New York City Ballet, Atlanta Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Washington Ballet, Nevada Dance Theatre, Oregon Ballet Theater, and Kansas City Ballet. Her original choreography for Mowgli is set to a mingled compilation of East Indian and World Fusion music.

The dancers will be enveloped in an elaborate jungle created by Emmy award-winning set and puppet designer Gregory Crane of GRC Designs. Extravagant and embellished costumes designed by Jonna Hayden feature authentic Indian fabrics in a vibrant array of colors and textures. Many of the featured characters will wear intricate headpieces created by mask designer Lynn Bowers. There are two giant puppets designed by Crane, including Shere Khan the Tiger - requiring multiple dancers to maneuver them. Mowgli will be a visual feast for the eyes with dazzling special effects, and rhythmic music that recreates the many moods of jungle life.

Yui Sato dances the role of Mowgli in the season opener ballet bearing his character's name. Image provided.
Mowgli, The Jungle Book Ballet will be performed Friday, October 11 at 7:00 p.m., Saturday October 12 at 8:00 p.m., and Sunday, October 13 at 2:00 p.m. Children’s activities will include jungle animal mask coloring before all performances in the South Lobby. OKC Ballet’s lecture series will be hosted by Artistic Director Robert Mills and Mowgli choreographer Toni Pimble at 6:15 p.m. prior to Friday’s performance in the South Lobby. Dancer Meet and Greet with refreshments courtesy of Braum’s will occur in the main lobby following Sunday’s matinee. 

Tickets are now on sale and can be purchased in person at OKC Ballet offices, 7421 N. Classen Blvd., OKC, by phone at (405) 848-8637 or online at Season subscriptions are also available for the 2013-14 season “From the Page to the Stage.” Tickets may also be purchased at T.H.E. Box Office at Civic Center Music Hall, 201 N. Walker, OKC, (405) 297-2264. Single tickets range from $25 to $61.

Also from the press release. 

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