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Contemporary Dance Oklahoma

8 p.m. , Saturday April 26

The University of Oklahoma University Theatre and School of Dance presentContemporary Dance Oklahoma, an exciting mixed program of new choreography, works from the CDO repertory and guest choreographer Jessica Lang’s A Solo in Nine Parts.  Austin Hartel serves as artistic director, and Derrick Minter as associate artistic director.  The production opens at 8 p.m. Friday April 25, in the Rupel J. Jones Theatre, 563 Elm Ave., OU Norman campus.  Additional performances are scheduled at 8 p.m. April 26, 30, May 1-3, and at 3 p.m. April 27.

World-renowned contemporary choreographer Jessica Lang presents her ballet A Solo in Nine Partsset to the music of Antonio Vivaldi, which premiered in 2010 by Kansas City Ballet. Professor Minter stated, “Jessica Lang enjoys working with dancers who are musical and contribute to a positive, creative environment. It is an important opportunity to experience choreography from a gifted woman’s perspective.”  This ensemble piece will be one of the highlights in Contemporary Dance Oklahoma’s spring concert.

After graduating from The Julliard School, under the direction of Benjamin Harkarvy, Jessica Lang became a member of Twyla Tharp’s company THARP!. Lang has attained rare levels of success as a choreographer having created and staged over 80 works on companies including National Ballet of Japan, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, Kansas City Ballet, Cincinnati Ballet, Colorado Ballet, Ballet San Jose, Richmond Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet, Ailey II, ABT II, Hubbard Street 2 and New York City Ballet’s Choreographic Institute, among many others.


In addition to creating pieces for professional companies, Lang’s works have also been performed by The Julliard School, NYU Tisch School of the Arts, the Ailey/Fordham BFA Program, Marymount Manhattan College, SUNY Purchase College, Southern Methodist University, Princeton University, University of Richmond and Point Park University.  Currently, Lang is on the faculty of American Ballet Theatre’s Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School.

Tears For Maria is a work choreographed by Hartel and set to music by Apocalyptical. It was first performed in 2004 and is being restaged for the first time this year.  The work explores the 5 stages of grief.  While not necessarily following the order first proposed by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, M.D. in her 1969 book “On Death and Dying;” the work attempts to depict these stages with the soloists representing the calmer internal psychological aspects, while the chorus represents the rapid conflict and anger that accrue between the calm states of being.  

Nework 1, a new modern dance work choreographed by Hartel, is as much about process as it is product.  “I began by proposing that the choreography would be shaped around the ideas of the scenic, costume and lighting designers,” Hartel said.  “Through several meetings and brainstorming sessions the work began to emerge.  Loosely held together by a robotic love story the inhabitants of the space work together to find and create a partner for a lonely robot.  Set in the fanciful space created by scenic designer Dalyn Boyd with costumes designed by Chloe Mullin, and lighting created by Emily Maddox, the work has grown into a visual feast for the audience. The original music composed by school of music student Scott Bennett offers the finishing touches to this collaborative work.”

Antiphonal Dances, music composed by John Mackey and choreographed by Minter, had its premiere in fall 2013 with the Norman Philharmonic, under the direction of OU’s own Dr. Richard Zielinski. In this Contemporary Dance Oklahoma production Minter creates three unique sections with his own sophisticated artistry. Left to one’s own interpretation, the new production of Antiphonal Dances captures love, flirtation, and friendship. “I found the music to be free, euphoric, and the ending triumphant,” Minter said.

In its premiere being presented by Contemporary Dance Oklahoma, RADAR-Portraits In Motion is choreographed by Minter with OU’s sculpture/designer Sohail Shehada providing scenic design. Visually stunning with sculpted imagery of the male species, the work is sure to bring to the eye a soul transcending feeling from beginning to end. With complex partnering, this all male ensemble work creates an atmosphere of intense reverence for what it means to be deeply human and exquisite. On an astonishing set, RADAR brings the images of art and dance to a powerful celebration of motion.

The University of Oklahoma’s program in dance was founded in 1963 by Yvonne Choteau 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 Arts Center was completed in 2005.

Tickets for Contemporary Dance Oklahoma are $22 for adult, $18 senior adult, OU faculty and staff, and military, and $14 for students. Tickets may be purchased by phone or in person with the OU Fine Arts Box Office (405) 325-4101.  The box office hours are 11:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Monday-Friday. The University of Oklahoma is an equal opportunity institution. For tickets and accommodations on the basis of disability, please call the Fine Arts Box Office at (405) 325-4101

Where: University of Oklahoma
Phone: 325-0311
Address: 660 Parrington Oval

University of Oklahoma

660 Parrington Oval
Norman, OK
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