Young Choreographers' Showcase

The University Theatre's spring season will kick off with the Young Choreographers' Showcase at 8 p.m. on Jan. 24.

University Theatre will present a production of innovative, original dance works from the full spectrum of movement styles created by select student choreographers from the University of Oklahoma School of Dance in Young Choreographers’ Showcase, opening at 8 p.m. Jan. 24, on the OU Norman campus.

Additional performances are set for 8 p.m. Jan. 25 through 26 and at 3 p.m. Jan. 27 in the Reynolds Performing Arts Center, 560 Parrington Oval. This production is suitable for all audiences.

OU School of Dance faculty adjudicated students’ choreography to showcase 12 exceptional dance works for the production. These dance works are created in collaboration with Helmerich School of Drama student lighting designers Harrison Best, Lydia Brinkmann, Ian Evans, Natalie Shipley, Aaron Wade and Brandon Wade.

A brief description of each work highlights a mix of aesthetics and perspectives by the choreographers.

Alexandra Brewster is a modern dance performance sophomore from Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Her piece, Exploration, is about investigating the internal and asking the dancers to create choreography that satisfies their feelings when they hear the music. She wants those watching the piece, to feel the satisfaction without moving a muscle.

Micah Bullard is a ballet performance junior from Houston, Texas. His dance, Shoulders, explores the different sides of one woman’s personality. The dancers contrast sensuality, strictness and youthfulness and the woman must choose who and what she really wants to be.

Daniela Carvalho is a modern dance third-year master of fine arts degree candidate from Resende, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. Her piece, The Same Old Place, describes how any trip you want to take often leads you to the same place.

A modern dance performance and public relations junior from Duncanville, Texas, Alma Cienski, has choreographed Magic Mountain, which explores change, and the frustration and joy that inevitably comes along with it. Cienski was inspired by the following quote, “Change is the law of life, and those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future,” by John F. Kennedy.”

Elena Damiani is a ballet performance junior from Westfield, Indiana. Her dance, Forza #4, follows the idea of dance for dance’s sake, showcasing the strength, musculature and intensity of a dancer. Her goal is to have a high-energy piece that energizes the audience and promotes respect for the art.

Hannah Knorr is a ballet performance and minor in health and exercise science student from Dayton, Ohio. Her dance work, Relinquish, is inspired by the poem “A Ballerina Caught in a Dance with Destiny” and the music and her study abroad in Spain. The feeling she wants her choreography to portray is inspiration. Hannah is a junior.

Alexis Leffel is a ballet performance senior from Seattle. Her dance, Lonlon, was inspired principally by the music and her study abroad experience in Spain. The feeling she wants the audience and dancers to get from watching her choreography is one of empowerment.

Laura Pratt is a third-year master of fine arts dance degree candidate from Edmond, Oklahoma. Her dance, (un)Silenced, tells of the feeling of being silenced or censored and the resistance to censorship. “As a woman, 2018 has been an emotionally difficult year to live in, as people in power consciously choose to ignore women’s rights, stories and lives,” Pratt explains.

A modern dance performance and psychology junior from Oklahoma City, Irandy Reyes has choreographed a piece titled, Nescio. This dance work is an abstract look into New York’s commuters and the upbeat lifestyle of the city. Cameron Terry is a modern dance performance sophomore from Atlanta. His dance work, Salvaminmondo, is about acknowledging the sorrow and pain that life can bring, yet finding the strength to fight for your dreams and to persevere. Claire Willcutt is a modern dance performance senior from Denver. In her dance work, Aureate, she explores the strength and femininity of women.

The production staff consists of Michael Bearden, artistic director; Brea Clemons and Tatum Smith, stage managers; Jeff Baldwin, technical director; Kasey Allee-Foremen, associate producer; and Mary Margaret Holt, producer.

Always an audience favorite, Young Choreographers’ Showcase presents talent, imagination and energy in an innovative production of choreographic premieres.

OU’s dance program was founded in 1963 by Yvonne Chouteau and Miguel Terekhov, former principal dancers with Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. The department became the School of Dance in 1998 with Mary Margaret Holt as director. Michael Bearden was appointed the third director of the school in 2017. Undergraduate and graduate dance majors, along with general education students, total approximately 1000 in dance classes per semester. The School of Dance’s state-of-the-art facility in the Donald W. Reynolds Performing Art Center was completed in 2005.

For more information or to schedule an interview call the OU School of Dance office 405-325-4051.

Advance purchase tickets for Young Choreographers’ Showcase are $25 for adult; $20 for senior adult, OU employee and military; and $10 for student, plus handling fee. Tickets at the door are $35 for adult and $15 for student, cash or check only. Tickets also may be purchased online at, by calling 405-325-4101 or by visiting the OU Fine Arts Box Office in the Catlett Music Center, 500 W. Boyd St. For accommodations, please call the box office at 405-325-4101.

Caleb Slinkard was hired as the editor of the Norman Transcript in August of 2015. He is a graduate of Texas A&M University-Commerce and previously was in charge of several newspapers in northeast Texas.