Friday, October 17, 2014


Time and technology being what they are, please flip the images.

Commentary: Dress rehearsal for Cinderella

Please see the corrected commentary
dated April 19, 2015


 By Nancy Condit

 Dress rehearsal for Oklahoma City Ballet's world premiere Cinderella, choreographed by Jacob Sparso, company ballet master, Thursday night at the Civic Center Music Hall, was a promising rehearsal of the coming performances, October 17-19.

Cinderella is a very pleasant, pretty ballet, with lush music by Sergei Prokofiev, premiered in 1945, with a much gentler scenario than earlier European ones of the popular fairy tale. Nobody died, for a change. No one deserved punishment for a change. Well, maybe a little.

Of particular note were the dances of the fairies and their cavaliers, with their attendants of the four seasons: Spring, Amanda Herd-Popejoy and Walker Martin; Summer, Amy Potter and Daniel Handman; Autumn, DaYoung Jung and Gerald Pines; and Winter, Jeppe Jakobsen - the fairy, and Ryan Piper. The dancing and the choreography was very nice.

The Ugly Stepsisters are more comic or mad as characters danced by Robert Mills and Ronnie Underwood. These roles are traditionally played by men. It was to be wished that Mills cheated a little more, turning to the audience so that his outraged, screaming, wide open mouth could be appreciated by more of the audience.

Dress rehearsal is where you find out that a sprinkling of snow can accidentally become of blizzard, leaving the lead Winter dancers to lose their footing -- without injury.

Among other ballets, Sparso choreographed The Wizard of Oz and The Phantom of the Opera for the OKC Ballet. 

Guest conductor Kermit Poling directed the Oklahoma City Philharmonic, bringing live music to all performances. He also composed the scores for Beauty and the Beast, and Phantom of the Opera

Costume and scenic designer Alun Jones' early 19th century costumes and scenic designs were lovely, especially the added touch of a painted ceiling during the ball. The sets and costumes were courtesy of Louisville Ballet, with additional costumes courtesy of Nashville Ballet.

Tickets start at $25, and are available through OKC Ballet at 405.848.TOES (8637), by going online at, by going to the ballet office at 7421 North Classen, open Monday - Friday from 9 to 5, and at the Civic Center Box Office,  405.297.2264, Monday-Friday  9 a.m.-5:00 and two hours before every show start time, or online at

Thursday, October 16, 2014


University Theatre presents Contemporary Dance Oklahoma opening at 8 p.m. Oct. 24 with additional performances at 8 p.m. Oct. 25, 31, Nov. 1 and two matinees at 3 p.m. Oct. 26 and Nov. 2 in the Reynolds Performing Arts Center, Holmberg Hall, in Norman. The program features dance works from renowned American modern dance choreographers José Limón and Alvin Ailey, and OU School of Dance faculty Austin Hartel and Derrick Minter.
Limón’s masterwork Suite from There is a Time is an iconic work from 1956, with inspiration from Chapter 3 of Ecclesiastes: “To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven.”  The score for this work, commissioned by the Juilliard Music Foundation for the 1956 Festival of American Music, is Norman Dello Joio’s “Meditations on Ecclesiastes,” which won a 1957 Pulitzer Prize.  Carla Maxwell, this year’s School of Dance Brackett Distinguished Visiting Artist Chair, taught Limón technique and set the choreographer’s piece on the OU dance majors. 
Limón (1908-1972) was a crucial figure in the development of modern dance. His powerful dancing shifted perceptions of the male dancer, while his choreography continues to bring a dramatic vision of dance to audiences around the world. Limón’s choreographic works were quickly recognized, as masterpieces and the Limón Dance Company itself became a landmark of American dance. Many of his dances—There is a Time, Missa Brevis, Psalm, and The Winged—are considered classics of modern dance.
Carla Maxwell trained at New York’s Juilliard School by such luminaries as Martha Hill, José Limón and Antony Tudor. Upon graduating in 1965, Ms. Maxwell joined the Limón ensemble and worked closely with the choreographer, becoming a principal dancer under Limón’s direction.  In 1978, she was appointed Artistic Director. Maxwell received the 1995 Dance Magazine Award and a 1998 New York Dance and Performance (Bessie) Award for “finding a creative present in the context of a revered past, and thereby offering choreographic opportunity to multiple generations of artists; and for her inspired leadership and artistic accomplishment.”
In a tribute to the life and legacy of Alvin Ailey, Contemporary Dance Oklahoma presents Escapades, originally choreographed by Ailey for the AterballettoCentro Regionale della Danza of Italy in 1983.  This production, restaged by associate artistic director Derrick Minter, a former rehearsal director of Ailey II, tells a love story through a fluid combination of modern, jazz and ballet techniques set to a musical score by jazz legend Max Roach.
In 1958, Ailey founded the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater to carry out his vision of a company dedicated to enriching the American modern dance heritage and preserving the uniqueness of the African-American cultural experience. Throughout his lifetime, he was awarded numerous honorary doctoral degrees, NAACP’s Springarn Medal, the United National Peace Medal, the Dance Magazine Award, the Capezio Award, the Samuel Scripps American Dance Festival Award and in 1988, he received the Kennedy Center Honor in recognition of his extraordinary contribution to American culture.
Minter presents his newly created work Stitches, a lively dance that explores the innocence, vulnerability, passion, and energy of our talented dancers with music by Alexandre Desplat and Des’ree.  The choreography is inspired by the sculpture “A Dance of Life,” by Marsha Gertenbach and the strength of many women whose lives inspired him.  Minter will also premiere The Birth of Emotions, A Dialogue of Inner Purpose, a duet that brings passion and athleticism to an open dialogue between the ego and a search for purpose.
Hartel’s dance Ashes Ashes… explores the power of human tenacity in the face of adversity. The work is an abstract exploration of the power of the human spirit to persevere.  Adding seasonal flair, Hartel presents his haunting dance, Curse of the Wilis, in which the beautiful and dangerous spirits of young women who died of broken hearts take revenge by killing men who wander into their graveyard at night.
The University of Oklahoma’s program in dance was founded in 1963 by Yvonne Chouteau and Miguel Terekhov, former principal dancers with Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. What had been a department became the School of Dance in 1998 with Mary Margaret Holt as Director. Undergraduate and graduate dance majors, along with general education students, total approximately 1000 enrollees in dance classes per semester. The School of Dance’s state-of-the-art facility in the Donald W. Reynolds Performing Art Center was completed in 2005.
For more information or to schedule an interview call the OU School of Dance at (405) 325-4051.

Advance purchase tickets for Contemporary Dance Oklahoma are $25 for adult, $20 for senior adult, OU employee, military, and $15 for student. Tickets at the door are $35 adult, $20 student.  To purchase tickets online go to THEATRE.OU.EDU, call or visit the OU Fine Arts Box Office at (405) 325-4101, located at 500 W. Boyd St., Catlett Music Center, Norman.  The University of Oklahoma is an equal opportunity institution, For accommodations on the basis of disability, please call the OU Fine Arts Box Office at (405) 325-4101. 


From staff reports


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Thhhhhhhhhursday, October 16th, at Noon:  Just when you thought it was safe to go Downtown:  The Sisters of Swing at Leadership Square.   Umh-hummmm.

Haaaaaaalloooooweeeeeeen Night!  October 31st, we’re at Zannotti’s in Stillwater.  Yes!  8:00 to 11:00.  

And on the First Saturday of November, that being the First, we’re back at Full Circle.

Looking ahead, the Sisters Christmas shows have been set:  Sunday, December 14th, the Norman show at Performing Arts Studio, 7:30 pm.  And the Christmas Benefit, Saturday, December 20th, Saint John’s Episcopal Church, 2:00 & 7:00 pm. 

And, Miss Brown will appear at Opening Night this year, at City Hall.  


From the press note



Friday, October 17, 2014 - Thursday, October 23, 2014
Written by OklahomansRudderless is a musical drama about the power of a parent’s love. When a grieving father in a downward spiral stumbles across a box of his deceased son’s original music, he forms a band hoping to find peace in the wake of his tragic loss. Rudderless is the directorial debut of William H. Macy and stars Billy Crudup and Anton Yelchin. The film was shot in Oklahoma City, Guthrie and Edmond utilizing the Oklahoma Film Enhancement Rebate Program.
Tulsa, Circle Cinema, 10 S. Lewis Ave., 918-585-3456, multiple showtimes, $7-$9
More information:  

There is a reception tonight, Thursday, October 16. Tickets are $9. Call the above
number for more info.
Friday, October 17, 2014
Spooky Premiere on Film Row
The Film Row District will transform into a spooky playground filled with ghouls and ghosts at October’s Spooky Premiere on Film Row. This month, performances by Judith, Idabel, Bowlsey, The Chad Todd Band and The Max Ridgeway Trio will take place throughout the evening in addition to an outdoor screening of Beetlejuice. Food will be available for purchase from local vendors, and guests may dress in costume.
Oklahoma City, Film Row, 706 W. Sheridan Ave., 405-235-3500, 7:00 p.m., FREE!
More information:

Saturday, October 18, 2014
The Rocky Horror Picture Show and Shock Treatment
OKC Horrorfest presents a Rocky Horror Double Feature. The Rocky Horror Picture Show has become a Halloween cult classic but its little-seen companion piece, Shock Treatment, is another musical comedy about contestants in a game show gone wrong. Movie-goers may dress in costume.
Oklahoma City, District House, 1755 NW 16th St., 405-633-1775, 8:00 p.m., FREE!
More information:

From the press release

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Artistic director Keller and dancer Patrick Wilson
prepare for the Magic Lantern.

Children dance in the maze on the Paseo
during StarDanceSwan's Magic Lantern.
Previous event. Photos by Nancy Condit.

Children can jump into their own imaginations and have fun doing it at the Magic Lantern Celebration on Paseo on Sunday, October 26 from 3:00 to 7:30 pm.

Paseo artists open their doors to the creativity of children with an afternoon offering a new twist to the Halloween tradition. Children of all ages are invited to descend upon the streets of the Paseo Arts District to celebrate a time of light instead of fright. In doing so, they can become part of a unique event of their own making. Community artists offer children and parents hands-on costume-making activities from 3:00 to 6:15 pm. A "Spin and Sparkle Parade" finishes the celebration when children dance in the costumes they made. 

Date: Sunday, October 26th, 2014
Place: 30th and Dewey in the Paseo
Times: Magic Lantern starts at 3:00 pm and ends at 7:30 pm

Activities include:
  • Paper costumes and hats!
  • Pumpkin decoration!
  • Costume parade on the Jack o' Lantern Labyrinth!
  • Live music and dance performance!
Magic Lantern is a free event made possible by the support of the
Oklahoma Arts Council, Paseo Arts Association, and Theatre Upon a StarDanceSwan. 
Paseo Arts Association
(405) 525-2688


Scroll down to see dancers' head shots. Hover your cursor over the photo for the name.

Oklahoma City Ballet Artistic Director Robert Mills announced three new company artists, eight new apprentices and four promotions within the ranks the OKCB company for the 2014-15 Season.  These additions take the company to its largest size in the organization’s history.

“I saw so many talented dancers around the country at our open auditions and during our 6 week Summer Intensive.   I am excited to welcome these new dancers to Oklahoma City Ballet.  I am also pleased to acknowledge the beauty and artistry of three of our returning dancers by promoting them to the rank of soloist and my continued focus on hiring our apprentices into the company.” 
- Artistic Director, Robert Mills.

At one of last year's pre-performance talks, Mills noted that "Ballet dancers are traded like athletes." If you notice some missing favorites, many of them have stayed with OKC Ballet, like Stephanie Pitts, who is now
school administrator.

New dancers include JeppeJakobsen, Amy Potter and Richard Walters.  Promotions within the ranks of OKC Ballet include EzlimarDortolina, DaYoung Jung, and Alvin Tovstogray, who have all been given the rank of soloist, and apprentice DainaGingras, who has been promoted to full company member.  

JeppeJakobsen (New Dancer) is from Ellerup, Fyn, Denmark, and comes to Oklahoma City Ballet from the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago where he spent the past year as a trainee.  He began his training in his native Denmark before moving on to train at the Central School of Ballet in London and eventually the Joffrey.  He has performed with the Vienna Festival Ballet, The London Ballet Company and the Joffrey Ballet.

Richard Walters (New Dancer) is originally from upstate New York.  He began his training with local studios there including the Lockport City Ballet.  He then went on to train at North Carolina School of the Arts where he studied with Warren Conover, Ethan Stiefel and Nina Danilova among others.  Richard spent the past season dancing with Hubbard Street 2 in Chicago.  He has danced in works by Alejandro Cerrudo, Norbert De La Cruz III, Merce Cunningham and James Kudelka.

Amy Potter (New Dancer) was born in Roanoke, Virginia, and is joining the company having spent the past three years dancing with Ballet West in Salt Lake City.  She received the majority of her training from Nutmeg Conservatory of the Arts, Boston Ballet School and the Houston Ballet Academy.  Her repertoire spans the classical and contemporary with works from Sir Frederick Ashton, Sir Kenneth MacMillan, George Balanchine, Ben Stevenson and August Bournonville, in addition to Stanton Welch, Helen Pickett and Jodie Gates. 

EzlimarDortolina (Promoted to Soloist) started her ballet studies in the Classical Ballet School in Venezuela, where she graduated in 1996. She became an apprentice with the Classical Ballet of Camara at the age of 13. In 1996, she participated in the International Ballet Competition in Varna, Bulgaria. After this competition, Ezlimar obtained a scholarship in order to continue her ballet studies at the Kirov Academy of Ballet in Washington, D.C. She received a full scholarship from the UNESCO to study ballet at the EcoleSuperieure de Danse Rosella Hightower in Cannes, France. She has worked as a soloist in Ballet Clasico de Camara, Ballet Teresa Carre, Ballet Contemporaneo de Caracas, as a guest artist in Ballet Concierto de Puerto Rico to perform Mercedes in Don Quixote, and was a member of Tulsa Ballet. In 2006, Ezlimar participated in the Jackson International Ballet Competition. Ezlimar also danced with the Colombian Classical Ballet, State Street Ballet, and Charleston Ballet Theatre, where she danced principal and soloist roles in ballets by Bill Soleau, Danny Pelzig, Jill Bahr and George Balanchine. This is Ezlimar’s third season with Oklahoma City Ballet.

DaYoung Jung (Promoted to Soloist) is in her third season with Oklahoma City Ballet, DaYoung trained for five years at Moscow’s Bolshoi Ballet Academy before returning to her native Korea to dance as a guest artist with Jung Yoo Young Ballet Company. She came to the United States to dance with the Atlantic City Ballet where she danced principal roles including the Snow Queen in The Nutcracker and Lucy inDracula. In 2006, she was a semi finalist in the Serge Lifar International Ballet Competition held in Donetsk, Ukraine. Last season, Da Young enjoyed dancing the roles of Sugar Plum Fairy, Arabian and Clara in Robert Mills’ The Nutcracker, a soloist in NapoliDivertissements, pas de trios in Swan Lake, and roles in Robert Mills’ Paris Rouge and Pushing Pennies.

Alvin Tovstogray (Promoted to Soloist) was born in Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine. He began his training at the age of eight and in 2008 graduated from Dnipropetrovsk State Choreographic School under ViacheslavVolkov. From 2008 to 2010, Mr. Tovstogray studied at San Francisco Ballet School under Parrish Maynard and Jorge Esquel. He then spent two seasons with The Washington Ballet’s Studio Company. Alvin’s repertoire includes SeptimeWebre’s Romeo and JulietThe Nutcracker,CarmenThe Great Gatsby, and Alice in Wonderland, Lucy Bowen McCauley’s Before the Fall, Anthony Tudor’s Lilac Garden, Margo Sappington’s Cobras in the Moonlight, the pas de trios from Swan Lake and Robert Mills’ The Nutcracker and Paris Rouge. Mr. Tovstogray has recieved multiple awards at International Ballet competitions including 3rd place at the Istanbul International Ballet Competition (2010), Bronze medal at World Ballet Competition Orlando (2011), and Gold medal at Tanzolymp (2012). This is Mr. Tovstogray’s third season with the company.

DainaGingras (Promoted to company artist) began her early training in her hometown of Rutland, VT at Adams School of Dance. She later moved to Vermont Ballet Theater School in Essex, VT before attending the prestigious Harid Conservatory of Boca Raton, FL for four years. Daina then studied on scholarship under Ethan Steifel and Susan Jaffe at North Carolina School of the Arts. While there, she performed principal roles in Ethan Steifel’s The NutcrackerPaquita, Act II of Swan Lake, and Balanchine’s La Source. Daina also had the opportunity to perform soloist roles in contemporary works by James Kudeka and Susan Jaffe.

Our 8 new apprentices come from all over the country and the world:

Paige Brown (Kansas), Devin Larson (Utah), Monet Mende (Florida), Laura Pratt (Oklahoma) Alexander Stuart (Australia), Zane Terry (Michigan) Rika Tharme (London), Jessica Ramm (Texas).

These fourteen dancers join returning principal dancers Miki Kawamura, Yui Sato and Ronnie Underwood, returning company artistsSeth Bradley, Carissa Churchill, Sarah Jane Crespo, Callye Crespo, Daniel Hardman, Amanda Herd-Popejoy, Leonid Khrapunsky, Autumn Sicking Klein, Arianna Lawson, Walker Martin, Gerald Pines, Ryan Piper, and returning apprentice Allegra Holland.

About Oklahoma City Ballet:  Founded in 1972 by Ballet Russe dancers Yvonne Chouteau and Miguel Terekhov, Oklahoma City Ballet has been the city’s professional ballet Company for over 40 years. It is the resident dance Company of the Civic Center Music Hall and currently boasts 32 dancers from around the world. Led by Artistic Director Robert Mills, the Company produces 4 main stage productions per season in Oklahoma City and tours across Oklahoma and the surrounding states. It is the only ballet Company of its size to regularly debut world premiere story ballets with original commissioned scores and also commission’s new works from the industry’s leading choreographers.

From staff reports