Choregus Productions

Beginning today, and running through August 6th, the nonprofit Choregus Productions will present its second-annual Summer Heat International Dance Festival. The Festival starts with a Gala Performance (happening tonight, the 28th, at the Tulsa PAC, beginning 8pm) that will spotlight guest artists from leading dance companies from the United States, Canada, and Europe -- and this opener will be followed by a solid week of performances by the celebrated Ballet du Grand Théâtre de Genève, The Paul Taylor Dance Company, and Brian Brooks Moving Company.

On this installment of StudioTulsa, we speak with Ken Tracy, the founder and executive director of the non-profit Choregus Productions, which started offering performances of world-class music and contemporary dance to Tulsa audiences ten years ago. Tracy joins us to talk about a newly created dance festival from Choregus, which will kick off at the Tulsa PAC on Saturday night, the 30th, and which will present dance companies from the US, Israel, and France/Algeria.

On this edition of ST, we get to know the young piano virtuosos Yaron Kohlberg and Bishara Haroni, who are among the leading classical pianists of their generation in their respective homelands: Israel and Palestine. For the past few years, they have performed together as Duo Amal -- the word "amal" means "hope," by the way -- appearing pretty much all over the globe, from the Beijing Concert Hall to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Tonight, Tuesday the 29th, they will perform at the Williams Theater in the Tulsa PAC.

Tulsa Ballet gets its new season underway this evening at 8pm (Friday the 11th) with an all-new, three-part "Creations in Studio K" program. This show will feature world-premiere pieces from Jorma Elo (resident choreographer for Boston Ballet), Dwight Rhoden (artistic director of Complexions Contemporary Ballet), and Tulsa Ballet resident choreographer Ma Cong. Performances will happen September 11th through the 20th in Tulsa Ballet's 300-seat Studio K Theater.

On this edition of ST, we welcome Jeffrey Zeigler, the gifted cello player and composer who's best known for his eight-year tenure with the internationally known Kronos Quartet. Since leaving that collective about two years ago, Zeigler has embarked on an interesting (and decidedly multi-genre) solo career that's found him collaborating with a host of fascinating musicians -- such as singer/songwriter Norah Jones, avant-jazz guru John Zorn, pianist Vijay Iyer, composer Philip Glass, Wilco drummer Glenn Kotche, and so forth.

On Saturday the 24th, in a performance beginning at 8pm, the highly acclaimed Rastrelli Cello Quartet will return to Tulsa. The concert happens at the Williams Theatre in the Tulsa Performing Arts Center and is presented by Choregus Productions. Our guest is the founder and artistic director of this group, Kira Kraftzoff. As he explains, the Rastrelli has been deliberately focused on -- and enthusiastically passionate about -- what classical music buffs sometimes call "non-traditional programming" since its inception in 2002.

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.

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 installment of ST, we speak by phone with Frank Chaves, the artistic director of River North Dance Chicago, a critically acclaimed dance organization, founded in 1989, that continues to perform at leading venues around the world. This company is recognized for its skilled and emotive dancers, stimulating music, and bold choreography. Chaves, who's also the company's main choreographer (and who's been with the company for two decades now), tells us that River North Dance Chicago is especially dedicated to merging jazz, ballet, and contemporary styles of movement.

On this installment of StudioTulsa, we speak with Ken Tracy, the founder of (and programming director for) the Tulsa-based nonprofit arts organization known as Choregus Productions.