Monday, March 24, 2014


By Nancy Condit

Broadway classics and contemporary dances lit up the stage at Oklahoma City University the night of March 15, with 120 dancers -- two of them members of Actors' Equity Association. The American Spirit Dance Company performances were directed by Jo Rowan and produced by John Bedford.

Among the rapidly paced, high energy pieces were the especially memorable dances "Five Guys Named Moe," a high stepping full body back flipping tap number by five men in red suits choreographed by Kari Shaw; "Ay Mama Mia," a hot salsa dance performed in figure hugging red dresses with hip to knee red fringe, choreographed by Tiffani Warford; "2 Shots of Happy, 1 Shot of Sad," the well danced ballad of a man regretting his mistakes effectively staged in a bar by choreographer Kelli Stevens; "The Night They Invented Champagne," performed with 1920's dances and costumes -- a top hatted man and evening dressed woman with a bottle of champagne followed by women dressed in gossamer gold carrying light colored streamers of gold, choreographed by Tiffany van der Merwe; and "Letter to Sarah," beautifully  lyrically danced together by a Union soldier and his love, in full red Victorian dress, to his love letter to her -- his last letter, choreographed by Jo Rowan.

The evening was full of energy, full of fun -- "Transylvania Mania," from the classic turned musical "Young Frankenstein" -- and Frankenstein's monster, mummies, skeletons and distressed villagers, choreographed by Brian J. Marcum; smooth hand offs from one piece to another -- a flower passed from the end of "Everybody Needs a Best Friend," choreographed by Kelli Stevens, to the courting woman in "You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To," choreographed by Diana Brooks, as the woman decides to stay with her courting man and shares the flower with him; with a very enthusiastic, and plenty of ridiculously frizzed hair and prom dresses in the "Footloose" prom choreographed by van der Merwe, and a very well performed "Westside Story Medley" danced by seven men in a piece that looked contemporary after 50 years, choreographed by Brian Marcum.

This reviewer enjoyed seeing many of  the costumes slimmed down, putting many of numbers with women in pants or danceable everyday clothes -- along with the men, allowing for more of the dancing figure to show.
Kudos also to the lighting designer Steve Estes and costumer Melanie Shelley and assistant costumer Jessica Olson.  


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