NORMAN — Selected students from a University of Oklahoma dance company are scheduled to perform at the 26th National Cultural Festival in Kyoto, Japan, from Oct. 26 through Nov. 3.
The Contemporary Dance Oklahoma members will perform for elementary and middle school audiences, participate in the festival’s opening parade Oct. 28 and dance in open venues during the first few days of the festival.
“International performances really benefit students because the experience shows them first-hand that dance is a universal language.” said Mary Margaret Holt, OU School of Dance director. “I know that all the dancers are going to grow from this opportunity as one that will benefit their futures as professional dancers.”
The Contemporary Dance Oklahoma members going to Kyoto are Elyse Andersen, Renee Beneteau, Maggie Boyett, Abby Fellman, Christopher Frazier, Molly Jackson, Diana Robertson and Clare Springer. They will be accompanied by Austin Hartel, the dance group’s artistic director.
The students will present Derrick Minter’s “Smile,” a tribute to the late Denise Jefferson that premiered in the fall 2010 CDO concert; “Sunrise on Hateras”, a piece created by Hartel for the summer 2011 concert; “Sweet in the Morning,” a new ballet by Minter; and Ko Yukihiro’s “Voices from the Sea,” a tribute to people who died in the Hiroshima atomic bombing. Yukihiro is a native of Japan, a Hiroshima resident and former faculty member at the OU School of Dance.
The National Cultural Festival brings together music, dance, theater and literary arts from around the world. Nearly 70 events are scheduled throughout the Kyoto Prefecture during the celebration. Musicians from the University of Central Oklahoma and a delegate from the Oklahoma Governor’s Office plan to attend alongside the OU dancers.
The prefecture government of Kyoto is a sister to five cities and/or states around the world, including Norman.