The Norman Transcript

N-town stories

April 12, 2013

Contemporary Dance Oklahoma showcases OU dancers



Finally, excerpts of guest choreographer Donald McKayle’s “Songs of the Disinherited” will embody messages both devastating and gloriously invigorating as it celebrates songs of the Black diaspora in the Americas.

“I want to present something to connect younger audiences with generations of the past with Duke Ellington, bring back these treasured artists and help younger people understand why this is classic, while connecting with older audience members who remember the era of the music,” Minter said.

Prominent in CDO 2013’s various suites will be choreography showcasing the dual strength and delicate beauty of female dancers.

“I’ve always liked to choreograph dances that are really strong for women — you’ll see that in ‘Syncopated,’ the women are very powerful,” Hartel said.

Megan Storey, CDO performer and OU School of Dance senior, said this feminine focus coupled with the subject matter of the 2013 pieces has provided a singular experience of growth as a dancer and artist.

“CDO has directly affected my technical ability as a dancer but indirectly shaped how I approach new and difficult things, work ethic and growing knowledge of what it takes to be a professional dancer — how to persevere and be an agreeable and adaptable dancer for choreographers,” Storey said.

“I love performing all of the pieces but one of my favorites is ‘Angelitos Negros’ from ‘Songs of the Disinherited.’ It’s a female solo for a woman that embodies outrage against prejudice — the solo is strong, nurturing, protective, and loving, but simultaneously stern and powerful,” Storey said. “It is extremely beautiful, and the intention behind the movement has healing properties that have touched me in an indescribable way.”

Though much of CDO’s subject matter is complex and manifested in careful integration of music and symbolism, the overpowering emotion each piece will evoke will not require audience members to pick up on nuance.

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