OCU'S "HOME FOR THE
YET NEW BROADWAY
By Nancy Condit
Oklahoma City University's dancers heated up the stage in their annual holiday show "Home for the Holidays: A Gift of Dance" at last Saturday's matinee. The audience started out half-full, I'm sure because of the icy weather, but was filled at the show's end. The rousing Broadway-style show, with the American Spirit Dancers and directed by Jo Rowan, included tap, demi-pointe ballet for lyrical and liturgical dance, jazz, and harmony with good choreography.
"I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm," choreographed by Brian Marcum to Irving Berlin's song, was a funny role reversal with a very tall jazz female dancer, in a very short red with white fur trimmed costume, spinning a much shorter tap dancing male in a tux. She spun him and supported him in a side lift as they proved that a woman could be as strong as a man, and a man could be as agile as a woman.
In something new for the American Spirit Dancers, Marcum choreographed and Brian Hamilton was the vocal coach in the singing and dancing a cappella "That's What Christmas Is All About (Doo Woop)" by M. Rutherford. The half a dozen guys in Lawrence Welk show style blazers and pants were mobbed and joined by six fans '50's costumes girls, as the guys leaned far into the mike, and far away, with cross your legs and turn moves as they sang. The Ann Lacy School of Dance also prepares the students for musical theater.
Two of the best dances were the military Rockettes style "Parade of the Wooden Soldiers," choreographed by Paige Porter, and restaged by Kari Shaw and Diana Brooks, music by L. Jessel, arranged by Gould, with women in blue uniforms with brilliantly spangled belts, and "March of the Toy Soldiers," choreographed by Diana Brooks, with music after Victor Herbert's "March of the Toys" from Babes in Toyland, with half a dozen men tap dancing in black similar costumes. The women danced in a soft shoe tap in a Busby Berkely
type of lines of dancers joining hands in the center and dancing as rotating wheel spokes. At the end they were in a close formation line as they fell sequentially into side splits. The men tapped both in unison and individually, leaping onto their hands or performing backwards spread eagled jumps.
Also notable was the new "String of Pearls," choreographed by Diana Brooks to M. Gray and E. Delange's music. The women dancers entered holding glowing balls, which turned into a graduated necklace of pearls.
"Snowfall," choreographed by Rowan and Veronica Wilcox, was a lovely dance with women in crystalline blue and white tulle as snow fell. The full suited characters Frosty the Snowman and Kitty Cat were very agile, especially Frosty who had to take Japanese geta shoe tiny steps without arms for balance.
Sound designer John Bedford, who with Rowan came up with the idea for the long-running annual show,
did some excellent remixing, including including combining classics with more contemporary pieces, and using recordings of singers like Pavoretti singing "Adeste Fideles," and "You've Got Talent" competitor Jackie Evancho during the last four lyrical pageant and nativity enactment dances of the evening, choreographed by basically the whole department. The sound quality was also very good this year. Perhaps a new sound system?
c. Nancy Condit