The Norman Transcript

N-town stories

April 11, 2014

Expect the unexpected with OU’s Contemporary Dance Oklahoma

NORMAN — A guarantee with every ballet and musical production is the story that is sure to be told, with its beginning, middle and end. A guarantee with every contemporary show is just the opposite in expecting the unexpected, just as the University of Oklahoma Weitzenhoffer School of Dance’s upcoming production is sure to deliver.

Contemporary Dance Oklahoma, a mix of works and new choreography from the CDO collection, hits the stage 8 p.m. April 25-26, 30, May 1-3 and 3 p.m. April 27 in the Rupel J. Jones Theatre, 563 Elm St.

“There will be something in the program that everyone will enjoy,” Director and Choreographer Austin Hartel said. “We are going from classical music to very contemporary music, it is a wide variety of different elements.”

The production includes Hartel’s emotional piece “Tears for Maria,” featuring four female soloists. Hartel said each solo depicts a different emotional state, capturing moments in life that strike as conflicting and contemplating.

“The choreography takes you on a journey,” Hartel said.

OU modern performance dance junior Skye Cornwell, one of the soloists in Hartel’s piece, said she has taken it to heart to be selected as a soloist in “Tears for Maria.”

“This piece is very sentimental to him,” Cornwell said. “It means a lot to me as a dancer that he put it into my hands and trusts me with it.”

The dancer is giving her thanks to Hartel by working hard and giving her all to the solo and production.

Hartel will have a second piece in Contemporary Dance Oklahoma, showing off his latest choreography titled “Nework.” The inspiration for his new piece came from different composers and working off the design elements. “Nework” is a physically enduring piece, the dancers even performing aerial work.

“You want all of your dancers to grow,” Hartel said. “As much as we can rehearse and practice in the studio, you can only really judge their growth until they perform.”

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