By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
Norman, OK – The University of Oklahoma Board of Regents has named Michael Bearden as the new director of its School of Dance. Founded in 1963 by Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo dancers Miguel Terekhov and Yvonne Chouteau, Bearden is only the third director in the school’s 54-year history.
Bearden’s appointment will begin on July 15. Prior to coming to OU, Bearden was the Artistic Director of Ballet Arkansas and an Assistant Professor of Ballet at the University of Utah. Before beginning his work teaching and in administration, Bearden was a principal dancer with Ballet West in Salt Lake City and performed leading roles in works by some of the world’s greatest choreographers including George Balanchine, Frederick Ashton, Antony Tudor, William Forsythe, Ben Stevenson, Stanton Welch, Ulysses Dove, Glen Tetley, Twyla Tharp, Jiri Kylian and Christopher Bruce.
Bearden’s work as a choreographer includes creating or staging his ballets for Ballet West, at the University of Utah, Brigham Young University, the University of Cincinnati, Belhaven University, Texas Christian University and Bucknell University.
“The School of Dance at the University of Oklahoma has a reputation as one of the strongest in the nation,” Bearden said “It will be an honor to work alongside the excellent students, faculty and staff of the School as we move the program forward into the current renaissance that our art form is experiencing. I am excited to see how we will continue to contribute to the growth of dance in the future.”
Current director of the School of Dance, Mary Margaret Holt, who is now dean of the Weitzenhoffer Family College of Fine Arts at OU stated, “We are delighted to welcome Michael Bearden to the position of director of the University of Oklahoma School of Dance.
“Michael’s unique combination of professional, academic and administrative experience impressed the search committee along with his perceptive and thoughtful approach to the application and interview process,” Holt added. “I am convinced he is highly qualified to provide new leadership for the school, and I greatly look forward to working with Michael. We are most fortunate that he will join us in July!”
The University of Oklahoma’s program in dance was founded in 1963 by Yvonne Chouteau and Miguel Terekhov, former principal dancers with Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. In recognition of its growth in national stature and rankings, the Department of Dance became the School of Dance in 1998 with Mary Margaret Holt as Director.
The school is comprised of two active performing companies. Oklahoma Festival ballet, which has a repertoire of over 50 ballets, and Contemporary Dance Oklahoma, which performs a variety of original works. Both companies perform works from the national repertoire
Undergraduate and graduate dance majors, along with general education students, total approximately 1000 enrollees in dance classes each semester.
The OU School of Dance will present SummerDance! Dance & Dessert on Friday and Saturday, June 30 and July 1 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, July 2 at 3 p.m. Performances will take place at the Donald W. Reynolds Performing Arts Center, Studio 3002 on the Norman campus at 560 Parrington Oval. Audiences will enjoy this performance in the intimate setting of an informal dance performance space equipped with a full stage lighting system.
For performance tickets, contact the box office at 405-325-4101, Monday through Friday 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tickets can also be purchased at theatre.ou.edu.
For more information, contact the OU School of Dance at 405-325-4051 or [email protected].