New moves 

For almost a year, Michelle Dexter has been planning the sixth annual Oklahoma Contemporary Dance Festival, showcasing the work of five Sooner State-based dance companies and 38 dancers.

“I start planning as soon as the year before is over,” said Dexter, artistic director of the Perpetual Motion Dance troupe.

She begins scouting for choreographers so they can begin early in preparing dancers to audition to be part of the festival.

As part of this year’s three-day event, two Oklahoma City companies, Perpetual Motion and RACE Dance, will perform alongside two Tulsa companies, Living Water Dance and Portico Dans Theatre.

“We haven’t ever done it like this before, so it’s a little bit of an experiment,” Dexter said.

With 38 dancers cast for the first two nights, audience members will have the opportunity to see a range of skilled dancers perform works specifically choreographed for this event.

“The choreographers like to work with things in a really new way,” Dexter said. “They use vocabulary that sometimes has a traditional background, so if people know much about dance, they can see the history of modern dance in this framework.”

The festival, which begins Thursday, is funded by a grant from the Oklahoma City Arts Council.

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