Tulsa Ballet announces the most significant collaboration with local dance companies in decades

Apr 11, 2012 in 11-12 Season Releases


TULSA, Okla. –April 9, 2012
– As part of the Off the Floor: Creations in Studio K performances, Tulsa Ballet will feature five local dance organizations half hour prior to select performances in an effort to champion and promote the growth of the field in the city and the entire state of Oklahoma. Companies include Bell House Arts, Jennifer Mellor Dance Project, Living Water, Portico Dance Theater and TuMM.

In an interview with Artistic Director Marcello Angelini, he shared his thoughts about this project: “During the past few years, I noticed a number of modern dance companies emerging, or growing in reach and scope, in our community. This situation makes me very happy as it seems like dance is enjoying a second resurgence in Tulsa. I am also pleased that these organizations are proposing truly leading-edge works and that they are developing an audience for this kind of dance.”

Tulsa Ballet covers a vast span of programming, yet there is space for truly modern dance performances in the city. Angelini added, “Still, the wider the dance scene in any given city the richer the cultural landscape for that community will be. I feel we are at a pivotal point in Tulsa, a point where dance can become more than ever an integral part of the fabric of our community.”

Tulsa Ballet, being an internationally recognized institution, feels a sense of responsibility to foster the growth of other dance companies in the area. Angelini continued: “Our supporters champion us because they love the art form, they appreciate the quality of art we bring to the city and value what we do for the cultural landscape of Tulsa. I know they will appreciate our efforts to raise the bar for our field in our community.”

About Tulsa Ballet’s Studio K

Tulsa Ballet’s performance space, Studio K, opened in the heart of Brookside at the end of April 2008. Since then, it has become one of Tulsa’s most unique performance venues. With only 295 seats and a full sized stage, Studio K provides the opportunity for Tulsans to witness the power and athleticism of professional dancers up close and personal. A state-of-the-art sound system and comfortable stadium seating add to the entire experience.

Studio K was designed for the purpose of creating new ballet works in Tulsa to be shared with the world. Each season, Tulsa Ballet enlists the talents of rising choreographers to present premiere performances that will go on to be presented by other ballet companies all over the globe. Not only does this provide a truly unique experience for local audiences, but it helps put Tulsa on the map as an international leader in the world of professional dance. Thus, Tulsa Ballet also plays an active role in shaping the future of ballet and an art form and the next generation of dance enthusiasts.

Local Companies Performing in Tulsa Ballet’s Off the Floor: Creations in Studio K

Jennifer Mellor Dance Project
Performance Date: May 3
Title: Les Muses
Choreographer: Jennifer Mellor
Music: Sakamoto, Stravinsky, Saygun, Chopin, and Dvořák

About Jennifer Mellor Dance Project:
Jennifer Mellor Dance Project believes that dance as an art form reminds us we are alive, vibrant, creative, and beautiful. We aim to connect with people through dance, transcend the daily experience, bridge the east and west coasts, and bring a high level of professionalism and excellence to contemporary dance performance. Using a movement vocabulary both modern and neo-classical, Jennifer Mellor creates dances tending towards concepts that ultimately explore beauty and the personal journey in its various forms. Jennifer draws on her interdisciplinary interests in the cerebral realms of logic, algorithms, and interweaving patterns, as well as the physicality of rhythm, fluidity, and weight, to create honest, richly layered movement on small groups of dancers. The company enjoys collaborating with musicians, poets, dancers, and other artists both in the process of creating and in live performance.

About Les Muses:
A playful series of duets, based in part on a French Impressionist artist’s reinterpretation of the classic mythological muses said to be the forces behind the creation of literature and the arts and sciences, Les Muses is a light, contemporary exploration of artistic inspiration and tousled femininity. Starting with a male/female duet leading into a dance for two women, the dancers move together through moments of beauty and strength. Support for Les Muses by the Resident Artist Workshop at The Garage, San Francisco.

Portico Dance Theater
Performance Date: May 4
Title: Stoicheion
Choreographer: Jennifer Alden, Valeria Cordero and Michael J. Lopez
Music: Debussy, Muse, Dianna Burrup and Imogene Heap

About Portico Dance Theater:
In 2008, Founding Artistic Directors Jennifer Alden and Valeria Cordero were united in a mutual vision to see contemporary dance thrive in the city of Tulsa. The name “Portico” (meaning “doorway” or “open structure”) is an apt representation for the philosophy of our company. We aspire to maintain an open door towards innovation and collaboration through the incorporation of different dance styles and artistic mediums. The mission of PDT is to promote the growth of contemporary dance in the city of Tulsa through collaborative performances and educational opportunities for the community.

Since its inception, PDT has progressed exponentially. The company has grown from only two dancers in 2008 to 18 dancers in 2012, and currently performs six to ten pieces annually, including full-length productions. PDT’s past full-length productions have been: Project Alice [‘09,’10], and Super Suite [‘11]. PDT is currently in production for BorN [Summer ‘12]. www.porticodanstheatre.org

About Stoicheion:
Stoicheion is a new collaborative work between Jennifer Alden, Valeria Cordero, Michael J. Lopez, and the dancers of Portico Dans Theatre (PDT). The entire work includes 4 sections, which represent our interpretation of the elements (air, water, fire, and earth) as theorized by Greek philosophers, Plato and Aristotle. Stoicheion brings both whimsy and reality to the elements of air, earth, water, and fire as they are depicted out of their natural habitat and realize their connection to each other and suffer their ultimate demise. While the four pieces of Stoicheion have been performed individually, the entire piece has never been performed in its entirety. The piece contains an additional component of aerial silk, with which the dancers perform aerial dance. Dancers include Jennifer Alden, Jamie Beller, Julie Brakey, Laura Cash, Alicia Chesser, Linda Clark, Cassie Hampton, Michael J. Lopez, Brie Matlach, Katherine Feiock McCall, Sam Mellor, Hillary Pane, Emily Smith, Maria Tate Reed, Kimberly Wall and Jolianna Wright. Featuring musician Dianna Burrup.

Living Water
Performance Date: May 5, matinee
Title: Let Justice Roll Down
Choreographer: Amy Roark-McIntosh
Music: Olafur Arnalds and Feed Me

About Living Water:
Living Water Dance Company seeks to connect the artist and the soul, through work that is ORGANIC, working collaboratively with artists, organizations, and residents to dialogue about and create art that embraces community; FLOW, engaging audiences in conversation, process, and experience to breakdown barriers; and SPACE, sharing dance and improvisation in traditional and creative venues. www.livingwaterdance.org

About Let Justice Roll Down:
Let Justice Roll Down grew out of McIntosh’s struggle with oppression, injustice, and misplaced power within our communities, along with a pivotal book written by John M. Perkins. After having lived in Jackson, MS for five years, McIntosh moved back home to Tulsa in 2006, and soon after was given a copy of Perkins’ book, “Let Justice Roll Down.” Perkins, a native of Mississippi, now 81, writes of his journey out of racial injustice into renewal, as he discovers his role in pioneering a new way of living in community. Perkins has devoted his life to developing communities where reconciliation and transformation thrive, and where the walls of power are broken down. McIntosh’s work explores power as it seeks to devastate, devour, and deteriorate the very fabric of humanity. Dancers: Missye Campbell, Rachel Bruce Johnson, Brie Matlach, Amy Roark-McIntosh, Noelle Mossman, Robbee Stafford, Stephanie Tallent, Jessica Vokoun and Christina Woodrow.

Bell House Arts
Performance Date: May 5, evening
Title: Avelut
Choreographer: Rachel Bruce Johnson
Music: Philip Glass

About The Bell House:
The Bell House is a collaborative dance and art cooperative dedicated to creating opportunity for artistic exchange. Whether in dancefilm, across the globe via the Internet, or in the choreographic form, BELL HOUSE work is informed by a diverse training in dance, visual art, and music of the artists that visit us. As in a prism, these various perspectives on the visual and the kinesthetic refract and overlap revealing and creating new possibilities in art making.

It is a simple philosophy here at THE BELL HOUSE; make connections by bringing people together through art and education. It is my belief that it isn’t enough to just make dance for dance sake but that it is the connective power of people that makes art worth engaging. We do that by taking our interests and talents and finding ways to connect them to something tangible in life. It is through these connections and tangibilities that we see the true power of art and dance manifest back to relationships with and through people. In my view, all that matters is people; the place and the time take care of themselves.

About Avelut:
Based on Jewish philosophies of grieving, two women support and comfort a mourner as they simply sit with one another. The dancers shift, spar, plummet, and wade through the myriad of emotions that can accompany the process. Dancers include Rachel Bruce Johnson, Amy McIntosh and Robbee Stafford.

Performance Date: May 6
Title: Between Us
Choreographer: Nina Madsen
Music: Vitamin String Quartet - The Grudge; Gideon Freudmann - Denmark (performed by the Portland Cello Project)

About TuMM:
Tulsa Modern Movement (TuMM) began with a chance meeting in 2009 between Nina Madsen and Ari Christopher, both New York City-trained dancers transplanted to Tulsa. Nina and Ari started collaborating and soon began to attract the participation of some of Tulsa’s most accomplished artists. TuMM officially launched in June 2011 with “Suchness,” a site-specific performance on the Arkansas River. In January 2012, local dancer and writer Alicia Chesser joined the team as co-Artistic Director. TuMM's commitment to technical excellence and fully embodied, honest movement will be evident as our first season comes to a close in June with 'Confessions', by Nina Madsen. Look for TuMM to collaborate with artists across multiple disciplines, in traditional and experimental venues, and expand the reach of Tulsa dance throughout the region and beyond.

About Between Us:
Between Us investigates a predicament of the human condition: that we are always simultaneously unique individuals and members of a group. The dance explores that doubleness, where the truth about who we are often exists in what is unsaid, in what is held secret in the space between one person and another. Dancers: Jen Alden, Jamie Beller, Alicia Chesser, Ari Christopher, Cassie Hampton, Mona Hatter, Nina Madsen and Jessica Vokoun.