OU summer dancers pointing their best feet forward

Dancers rehearse in Holmberg Hall for the OU School of Dance’s SummerDance! showcase.

(Photo Provided)

The University of Oklahoma School of Dance’s summer classes are culminating in two showcases this weekend.

Over the past few weeks, both the summer intensive and college dancers have prepared for their performances Friday at 6:30 p.m. and Saturday at 1:30 p.m. in Holmberg Hall at 500 W. Boyd St.

“It’s going to be a very interesting performance, because we’re going to have not only different levels and different students from all around the country, but we also are combining the summer intensive with the summer session,” summer intensive coordinator Boyko Dossev said.

While some of OU’s ballet and modern majors have been taking June dance courses to stay in shape and get ahead on their credits, the school also held its three-week summer intensive.

The summer intensive is open to 13 to 25 year olds and includes many young students hoping to dance at OU one day themselves.

“As someone who really wants to come here and be part of the dance school, being put in a level with the college students was really big,” summer intensive student Glenne Harvell said. “It was great to actually get to experience what the program is like day to day.”

The showcase will allow parents to see their dancers’ progress, but the diverse show will also be a treat for the public.

“I think it’s going to be great. It’s a very diverse program with different choreographers and different teachers,” Dossev said. “I wish we had another week to work on the details and make it more precise … but at the same time … it’s about the experience the dancers will get.”

The performance will include classical ballet, modern and traditional Chinese dance pieces.

The ballet pieces are excerpts of beloved classics, such as Swan Lake, Giselle and Paquita that have been staged by the intensive faculty, which included many guest instructors.

“During the year, we do have some guest teachers, but not as often,” sophomore Isaac Hileman said. “It’s been good to take class from them and learn from different people.”

Guest faculty members have included, Dance Theatre of Harlem artistic director Virginia Johnson, Boston Ballet School instructor Pavel Gurevich and Oklahoma City Ballet instructor Alexa Fioroni among others.

“I liked the guest teachers that came, like Virginia Johnson” sophomore Stephanie Eggers said. “Oh my gosh, being coached by her is amazing. She’s just so insightful and brings a new perspective to each piece she coaches.”

OU modern professors Roxanne Lyst and Leslie Kraus and guest faculty member from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia Elisa Clark also choreographed for the showcase.

“Where most students come from, the teacher plans it out step by step and tells you what to do, but with Roxanne’s and Leslie’s pieces, it’s very collaborative,” Harvell said. “Sometimes you mess up, and she’s like, ‘I like that, let’s keep it.’”

Bai Xuejing, a visiting teacher from Beijing Normal University, exposed the dancers to traditional Chinese dance. The students will perform a Chinese Dan Dance, Chinese Mongolian Dance and Sword and Sleeve Rhapsody.

“I think the Chinese pieces are very interesting,” Dossev said. “You’re going to be able to see the detail and how much work and how much precision goes into those dances.”

In past years, the summer intensive and university students have been given separate classes, but Dossev believes combining them has allowed the dancers to inspire each other.

“I’m really excited for our students to work with current OU students, because it really elevates the whole group,” intensive resident adviser and school of dance alumni Brittany Bonefas said.

Visit https://bit.ly/2xaU1iL or call 405-325-4101 for tickets. Tickets are $15 for students and $25 for adults.