OU School of Dance Teaching Dance for Parkinson’s
The University of Oklahoma School of Dance has begun offering dance classes for people with Parkinson’s Disease and their care partners. These classes are free and offered in the state-of-the-art dance studios in the Reynolds Performing Arts Center on OU’s Norman campus from 1 to 2 p.m. on Thursdays.
In multiple peer-reviewed studies, people with Parkinson’s who dance have shown improvements in balance, walking, cognition and in the overall quality of their lives. OU’s Dance for Parkinson’s classes give participants an opportunity to experience the benefits and joy of dance in a friendly, social atmosphere surrounded by the beauty of the OU campus.
Kathleen Redwine, School of Dance faculty member and coordinator of the Dance for Parkinson’s program, said, “I truly believe dance is for everyone, and sharing my love of dance in our Dance for Parkinson’s class is one of the highlights of my week. We laugh, dance and even create some of our own movement. While these classes are designed with Parkinson’s in mind, people with other movement disorders are welcome, too.”
The director of the School of Dance, Michael Bearden, said, "Offering services such as our dance classes for people with Parkinson's disease is a vital part of what we do in the OU School of Dance. It is important that we give back to the community through this life-enhancing program and at the same time it creates a wonderful educational opportunity for our students."
Beijing Dance Company to Perform With OU Dance
NORMAN, Okla.—The Beijing Normal University Experimental Dance Company and the University of Oklahoma School of Dance will perform “East Meets West: An Evening of Chinese and American Dance” at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 3, in the Elsie C. Brackett Theatre on OU’s Norman campus.
The Beijing-based company will perform Artistic Director Xiao Xiangrong’s “The Wall,” Chang Xiaoni’s “Suddenly Gukong” and classical Chinese and Mongolian solo dances. OU dance majors will perform David Hochoy’s “Skinwalkers” and Amy Hall Garner’s “I Rise.” Ten BNU dancers and 10 OU dance majors will perform together in a world premiere by Xiangrong.
Vocal, cello, and erhu music also will be performed.
“Skinwalkers” had its OU premiere last April, and “I Rise” will have its world premiere Sept. 21 by Oklahoma Festival Ballet.
The Oct. 3 performance will be the U.S. premiere of “The Wall” and “Suddenly Gukong.”
The performance is cosponsored by the OU Confucius Institute, which sparked the partnership in September 2017 when Roxanne Lyst, OU assistant professor of modern dance, and six modern dance majors attended the Beijing International Dance Conference.
“OU dancers and BNU dancers blended and bonded during our trip through their common love for dance,” Lyst said of the conference.
From Sept. 30 to Oct. 2, dancers from both schools will take ballet and modern dance classes taught by OU professors and Chinese dance workshops taught by BNU professors.
“I’m excited that the exchange will continue with this collaboration,” Lyst said.
“East Meets West” will be at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 3, in the Elsie C. Brackett Theatre on OU’s Norman campus. Tickets may be bought online at finearts.ou.edu, by phone at 405-325-4101 or in person at the Fine Arts box office in Catlett Music Center, 500 W. Boyd St.
OU School of Dance and OKC Ballet Announce Collaboration
NORMAN, Oklahoma August 23, 2018 – The University of Oklahoma School of Dance and Oklahoma City Ballet are pleased to announce a new cooperative venture with the opportunity for OU dance majors to work with Oklahoma City Ballet as trainees. Two ballet majors from OU, juniors Micah Bullard and Caroline Young, have been named as Trainees with Oklahoma City Ballet. They will continue their education at OU while concurrently dancing with OKC Ballet as Trainees.
“Since both OU’s dance program and OKC Ballet trace their roots back to Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo dancers Miguel Terekhov and Yvonne Chouteau, it is only natural that the two entities collaborate and work together. I am happy to begin this joint training program with the OU School of Dance and look forward to working with their students in the coming years,” said Robert Mills, artistic director of OKC Ballet.
Michael Bearden, director of the OU School of Dance, remarked, “Mr. Mills and I both desire to strengthen the bond between our sister organizations for the benefit of our students and community, so this joint trainee program seems like a wonderful step in that direction.”
The University of Oklahoma’s dance program was founded in 1963 by Yvonne Chouteau and Miguel Terekhov, former principal dancers with Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. What had been a department became the School of Dance in 1998, with Mary Margaret Holt as director. In July 2017, the School of Dance welcomed Michael Bearden as the school’s third director in the program’s 54-year history. Undergraduate and graduate dance majors, along with general education students, total approximately 1000 enrollees in dance classes per semester. The School of Dance's state-of-the-art facility in the Donald W. Reynolds Performing Arts Center was completed in 2005.
Ballet majors Micah Bullard and Caroline Young are the first OU students to be trainees with OKC Ballet as they continue their education and training at the university.
Contemporary Dance Oklahoma Visits Beijing
Last month, members of OU's Contemporary Dance Oklahoma company woke up around 5 a.m. to eat traditional Chinese breakfasts of rice and vegetables with other dance companies from around the world. They were in Beijing taking part in the International Creative Dance Seminar while also learning that dance extends beyond cultural barriers.
Artistic Director of Dance Kaleidoscope Visits OU School of Dance
On October 23, the University of Oklahoma School of Dance will welcome international dance teacher and choreographer, David Hochoy. Hochoy will be at OU for one week to teach and talk to students as the 2017 Susan E. Brackett Distinguished Visiting Artist Chair. During this time he will also choreograph a new work to be performed next spring by Contemporary Dance Oklahoma, OU’s modern dance company.
Born in Trinidad, Hochoy discovered dance at age 20. After studying dance with Alvin Ailey and Martha Graham, he joined the Martha Graham Company in 1980 and performed all over the world. In 1982, he joined the faculty of the Martha Graham School and since then has taught both in the U.S. and internationally. As the artistic director for Dance Kaleidoscope in Indianapolis, IN, he has choreographed 70 dances for the company in his 27 years there. Hochoy won the prestigious Choo-San Goh Award for choreography in 2006 and most recently received the TAIG Award for Excellence in the Arts from Penn State Thespians in 2017.
Three OU School of Dance graduates, Marie Kuhns, Manuel Valdes and Emily Dyson, are currently members of Dance Kaleidoscope. Dyson will be coming back to OU working with Hochoy as his choreographic assistant.
School of Dance Director Michael Bearden said, “We are so fortunate to have Mr. Hochoy join us for this residency. Our students will benefit greatly from his experience and insight into our art form and I can’t wait to see them dance in his work next semester as part of our Contemporary Dance Oklahoma production.”