Ballet

On this installment of ST, we speak with Jennifer Alden, the co-founder and co-director of the Tulsa-based dance company, Portico Dans Theatre. Aldren tells us about this company's latest production, which, per the Portico Dans Theatre website, "combines the drama of an opera ('Pagliacci') and the physicality of aerial dance in 'Pagliacci Project.' The production employs youth and adult dancers on aerial silks, lyra, trapeze, and the Spanish web.

"Carmina Burana," the work that launched Tulsa Ballet's Resident Choreographer Ma Cong's career, premiered in 2006 to rave reviews and overwhelming popular acclaim. It was glowingly re-staged in 2010 -- and now comes an another encore of Ma Cong's masterpiece. Tulsa Ballet will collaborate with members of Tulsa Opera, Tulsa Oratorio Chorus, and the Tulsa Symphony Orchestra in a monumental production of "Carmina Burana" on October 31st, November 1st, and November 2nd at the Tulsa PAC.

The lasting and widespread influence that choreographer Martha Graham (1894-1991) had on the world of dance has been likened to the impact that Pablo Picasso had on painting, or that Aaron Copland had on music, or that Frank Lloyd Wright had on architecture. In other words, it's an influence that clearly continues to this day; Graham is commonly seen as a visionary who all but created what we now call modern dance, and who shaped the ideas and careers of countless dancers who came after her.

Our guest on this edition of ST is Marcello Angelini, the Artistic Director of Tulsa Ballet, who's now celebrating his twentieth season at the helm of the company. That Tulsa Ballet has both grown and thrived under Angelini's impressive leadership is a given in this community, and on today's show we are focusing on one flourishing aspect of the company that was created during Angelini's tenure: Tulsa Ballet II, which is the second or "pre-professional" company of Tulsa Ballet.

On this edition of ST, we learn about the highly regarded, Vancouver-based dance company, Kidd Pivot. As is noted of this small but accomplished collective at the company's website: "Integrating movement, original music, text, and rich visual design, Kidd Pivot's performance work is assembled with recklessness and rigor, balancing sharp exactitude with irreverence and risk.

On this edition of ST, we meet Ari Christopher, the Executive Director and Choreographer of Tulsa Modern Movement (or TuMM). Initiated in 2011, TuMM, per its website, "invigorates modern dance in Oklahoma by creating and performing new choreography, promoting life-long learning in the art of dance, and collaborating across disciplines." Christopher studied at the Martha Graham Center for Contemporary Dance and attended the Modern Dance BFA program at Marymount Manhattan College in New York City.

The Osage ballet, "Wahzhazhe," had its premiere last summer here in Oklahoma; it was first conceived of about four years ago, and was originally inspired by a suite of music by Lou Brock, an Osage composer. This contemporary ballet brings together certain special qualities of Osage history and culture: a reverence for classical ballet (which was, of course, the legacy of two famous Osage ballerinas, Maria and Marjorie Tallchief) and a deep respect also for the richness of Osage traditional music, dance, and textile arts.