NORMAN— Energetic and extraordinary modern dance works will delight audiences at the University of Oklahoma. The University Theatre and School of Dance present Contemporary Dance Oklahoma, a mixed repertoire production featuring the choreographic vision and individual voices of highly talented choreographers from the School of Dance and distinguished guests.
The production opens at 8 p.m. Friday, April 29 in the Reynolds Performing Arts Center, 550 Parrington Oval on the OU Norman campus. Additional performances are set for 8 p.m. April 30, May 5, 6 and 3 p.m. May 1 and 7.
Two distinguished guest artists, Raimondo Rebeck and Sonia Dawkins, choreographed exciting new dance works for the OU production.
Rebeck is the 2016 Susan E. Brackett Distinguished Visiting Artist Chair. As a guest of the School of Dance this spring, his piece Black Lights was set on Contemporary Dance Oklahoma dancers. Rebeck’s dance was inspired by interviews with blind people and how they perceive light with a guiding inner voice.
Rebeck, born in Berlin, studied at the Staatliche Ballettschule Berlin. He is the winner of many prestigious national and international ballet competitions and he worked as a principal dancer at the Deutsche Oper Berlin (1996-2004). His artistic work was honored with the 2002 “German Dance Critic Award.” For the 2004 World Exhibition, in Japan, he danced as a German representative of culture. During his career Rebeck served as First Ballet Master and Associate Artistic Director at the Aalto Ballett Theater Essen/ Germany; the international artistic director of the Essen Theatre-Ballet Gala in Wiesbaden/Germany; and he has worked as an international guest ballet master around the world. Rebeck choreographed for the Staatsballet Berlin, Bayrisches Staatsballett Münich, ABT 2 New York, Ballett Dortmund, Ballett Karlsruhe und Tanzakademie Zürich. Some of his most significant work was with Maurice Béjart and Rudolf Nureyev. Béjart created and worked with him on many leading roles in his ballets including Sheherazade, Sonate a Trois, Nacht / Verklärte Nacht, The Wonderful Mandarin and Ring um den Ring. With Nureyev, he studied and worked on title roles such as the Prince in Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker and Swan Lake. Nureyev also danced in Rebeck’s production of Raymonda.
Sonia Dawkins’ dance piece Love Letter demonstrates that each person relates to love in a unique way.
Dawkins is the CEO, Founder and Artistic Director of SD|Prism Dance Theatre, PRISM LOFT, LLC, and SD Prism Foundation. A choreographer in high demand, her credits include: Seattle Repertory Theatre- Pullman Porter Blues; Brother Size;Three Musketeers; THE BREACH; The Village Theatre -My Heart Is The Drum; and Seattle Children’s Theatre –Mwindo; Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre School. She has also choreographed for the Mexico International Festival; Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival; Broadway Bound -13 The Musical; Bye Bye Birdie; the Democratic Party Extravaganza 2015 and many more. Dawkins received the Gypsy Rose Lee Award in 2011 and is a recipient of the “New Directors Choreography Lab Award” from Alvin Ailey American Dance Foundation.
School of Dance faculty Austin Hartel and Ilya Kozadayev choreographed several pieces for this year’s CDO production.
Hartel’s newly created work Time’s Edge is inspired by his love of theoretical physics and Stephen Hawking’s book “A Brief History of Time.” His premiere workBach is a happy and lighthearted piece with live music by cellist Erin Yeaman. Hartel presents a third work, The Man Who Fell From the Moon, which premiered in 1991 and was commissioned for Carlos Acosta by the Ballet Teatro Nuovo de Torino.
Hartel’s extensive experience includes 17 years as the Artistic Director of Dalton-Hartel Dance. Prior to this, Hartel danced for five years as a soloist and co-choreographer with Pilobolus Dance Theater, making appearances worldwide and on television. He danced with The Frank Holder Dance Company, Dendy Dance and Theater, Dances We Dance, Valley Forge Dance Theater, The Opera Company of Philadelphia, The Charlotte Opera Company, among others. As a guest artist and master teacher Mr. Hartel has conducted master classes throughout the world.
Kozadayev premieres his work Lucid, a glimpse into dreams, built on CDO dancers’ perspectives. He received his dance training from Vaganova Ballet Academy in St. Petersburg, Russia, The School of American Ballet (New York City), and John Cranko Ballet Academy in Stuttgart, Germany. Kozadayev performed with numerous ballet companies in the United States including Boston Ballet, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, Colorado Ballet, Columbia Classical Ballet and Houston Ballet. He has performed works by such choreographers as Marius Petipa, George Balanchine, Alvin Ailey, Jerome Robbins, Kenneth McMillan, Fredrik Ashton, Agnes de Mille, Twyla Tharp, Stanton Welch, Mark Morris, Ben Stevenson and many others. Kozadayev was a winner in the New York International Ballet Competition in 2000 and has choreographed original work for various ballet companies in the United States.
The OU dance program was founded in 1963 by Yvonne Chouteau and Miguel Terekhov, former principal dancers with Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. The department became the School of Dance in 1998 with Holt as director. Undergraduate and graduate dance majors, along with general education students, total approximately 1000 students in dance classes per semester. The School of Dance’s state-of-the-art facility in the Donald W. Reynolds Performing Art Center was completed in 2005.
Advance purchase tickets for Contemporary Dance Oklahoma are $25 for adults, $20 senior adults, OU employees and military, and $10 for students. Tickets at the door are $35 for adults and $15 for students, cash or check only. Tickets may be purchased at theatre.ou.edu, by calling (405) 325-4101 or visiting the OU Fine Arts Box Office located at 500 W. Boyd St., Catlett Music Center, Norman. For accommodations on the basis of disability, call the OU Fine Arts Box Office at (405) 325-4101.