By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
The OU School of Dance (SOD) recently hosted a meeting and presentation for Dance Partners at the Donald W. Reynolds Performing Arts Center in Norman.
The event themed, “Fall for Dance” included a brief performance by Contemporary Dance Oklahoma and also featured history, facts, coaching sessions, and costume exhibitions from The Nutcracker in anticipation of Oklahoma Festival Ballet’s upcoming performances in December.
The Festival Ballet, the resident ballet company of the University of Oklahoma, is made up of 40 dancers.
SOD faculty, staff, students, and guests attended a champagne, Perrier, and dessert reception after the event.
“Our support group, Dance Partners, has been a vital and essential part of the School of Dance since it’s inception and we all deeply appreciate the support of our ‘Partners’,” said Mary Margaret Holt, interim Dean of Fine Arts.
“They are devoted to raising scholarships for our talented students and, as an OU alumni Affiliate, their scholarships are matched by the OU Alumni Association.
“Over $400,000 has been generated to date and we currently have over 300 Dance Partners,” Holt continued.
“In addition to raising scholarship funds, members serve as community hosts on our annual audition days, they provide food for our dancers and crew for post performance strikes, and they often volunteer to assist with school mailings and other special events.
Dance Partners was founded in 2003 by a group of dance patrons to support performances and fundraising efforts.
“Our Dance Partners inspire all of us with their commitment of time and resources and they are one of our most important assets,” Holt said. “We offer two Dance Partners events each year with our event topics suggested by the Partners themselves.
“Our most recent event focused on our upcoming production of The Nutcracker,” she said. “Students recounted humorous ‘fun facts’ about The Nutcracker and our newly created mouse heads were on display, as well as a preview of the Chinese divertissement and the Pas de Deux from Act II.
“Each event concludes with a champagne and dessert reception where we have the opportunity to meet our Dance Partners and thank them for their many contributions to the School of Dance.”
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. The state-of-the-art facility in the Donald W. Reynolds Performing Arts Center was completed in 2005.
Each semester approximately 1000 undergraduate and graduate dance majors as well as general education students enroll in dance classes.
On Thursday, November 5, the OU School of Dance will host an event themed, “Once Upon a Dream 22” at Oklahoma City Golf and Country Club. The evening will feature Oklahoma Festival Ballet and Contemporary Dance Oklahoma.
The event will include a dinner and live auction themed “When art Dances and the 20’s Roar.” Funds raised will help support the School of Dance’s scholarships and international touring programs. For details call 405-325-4051 or email [email protected].
The popular holiday classic The Nutcracker will be presented December 4-6 and 10-13, in the newly renovated Rupel Jones Theatre on the OU campus in Norman.
As the only School of Dance in Oklahoma, SOD’s mission is to provide professionally oriented students in classical ballet and modern dance with a base of artistic and academic programs.
Students will be trained for careers as performing artists, choreographers and teachers and to provide high quality dance performances locally, regionally, and internationally.
The OU SOD programs include Ballet Pedagogy, Ballet Performance, and Modern Dance Performance.