The Norman Transcript

Entertainment

April 16, 2012

The First Dance

NORMAN — Narrating the development of a living world full of countless elements and beings, the story of the creation within the Old Testament has been retold countless times.

Now, a group of Norman artists are collaborating to illustrate the ageless story through music, word and dance.

The Norman Philharmonic, in conjunction with University of Oklahoma Choirs and members of the Oklahoma Festival Ballet, will perform Franz Joseph Haydn’s “The Creation” with ballet for the first time in America.

Though Haydn’s symphonic music has been played the world over, Norman Philharmonic Artistic Director Richard Zielinski said setting it to dance is a new concept.

“I’ve done this piece before. I’ve done it several times. But when I look at it, it’s like a new creation for me,” he said, on the fresh take on Haydn’s piece.

The idea to collaborate on the piece began a year and a half ago, Zielinski said, but rehearsals did not commence until February.

The ballet was choreographed from scratch by Mary Margaret Holt, director and choreographer, with choreographer Steve Brule for the Oklahoma Festival Ballet. Teaching the 19 dancers on a time crunch has been a challenge, she said.

Holt said the cast of dancers — including principals Jammie Walker, Nicole Reehorst, Melanie Jensen, Zeek Wright, Brett Young and Nathan Young — anticipate creating a moving and entertaining show for the audience.

“Although the music is exceptional and certainly stands on its own, the addition of dance adds an emotional and expressive element not usually found in presentations of ‘The Creation,’” Holt said. “We hope the audience will be carried away by the musicians, singers and dancers combining their talents to bring Haydn’s work to our stage.”

Dancers will perform to the Norman Philharmonic’s live music, alongside performances from soloists soprano Donna Mitchell-Cox, tenor Bradley Williams and bass-baritone Todd Donovan, as well as OU Combined Choirs.

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