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Oklahoma City University’s Spring Show Celebrates Broadway, St. Patrick and Ralph Ellison


Staff Report

OKLAHOMA CITY — The American Spirit Dance Company, founded and directed by Professor Jo Rowan, will bring rapid-fire tap, jazz and musical theatre dance back to the Kirkpatrick Auditorium stage at Oklahoma City University March 14, 15 and 16.

The acclaimed company of dancers from Oklahoma City University’s Ann Lacy School of American Dance and Arts Management will celebrate an early Saint Patrick’s Day with Rowan’s emotionally compelling Irish Bitter Suite, a collection of six dances covering Irish immigration to America due to famine and political repression ending with an uplifting and hopeful performance of “God Bless America” as the Irish find freedom and opportunity as new Americans.

The American Spirit dancers will also celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of Oklahoma native and novelist Ralph Ellison with the Ellison Loves Ellington Suite, featuring dances to a trio of some of Duke Ellington’s most beloved music.
“This is the fast-paced show of the year,” said director Jo Rowan, noting that the audience will see dancers trained and skilled in multiple styles of American musical theatre dance, the foundation of all Broadway shows.

“The show presents dynamic entertainment that is perfect for the entire family, from grandpa to the grandkids,” Rowan stated. “There are high energy numbers and powerful tap numbers to keep the performers – and the audience – on their toes, along with beautiful and colorful costumes and computer controlled moving lights.”

The 140 member company, which has been a “seed bed” for professional performers all over the world, will take audience members to the beaches of Rio de Janeiro, flying around with a wacky pilot and beautiful stewardesses of the ‘60’s, and back to the “good ole days” of travel by train.
Show times are 8 p.m. March 14 and 15, and 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. March 16. Reserved seat tickets are $20 from the Oklahoma City University Performing Arts Ticket Office by calling (405) 208-5227 from noon to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, or online at

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