When Marcello Angelini, artistic director of the Tulsa Ballet, moved to Tulsa 16 years ago he did not plan to stick around very long.
"My intention was to spend a few years with this organization, learn how to run an organization and then move on to bigger and better things," he said.
Now, more than a decade later, Angelini is still in Tulsa and is largely responsible for the high quality performances and dancers that make the Tulsa Ballet one of the top 10 dance companies in the United States.
"My goal was to build a repertory for the company that would comprise all the major dance makers of the past two centuries," Angelini said.
The Tulsa Ballet's next performance, Exceptional Synergy, is a tribute to the development of dance over the last 50 years. Exceptional Synergy will be presented Friday and Saturday, March 25 and 26 at 8pm and Sunday, March 27 at 3pm.
Exceptional Synergy is a compilation of three separate pieces: "Elite Syncopation," "Slice to Sharp" and "Push Comes to Shove," each the creation of a highly celebrated choreographer. While the three performances vary in style and execution, they each are constructed of enough talented dancing, and energetic choreography to make the evening exceptional.
"Elite Syncopation," by Sir Kenneth MacMillan, is humorous, outrageously colorful and over the top performance. During his career, MacMillan worked as the Principal Choreographer for the Royal Ballet in London where he created a significant body of work. He is most renowned for his dramatic ballets such as Manon, Romeo and Juliet and Winter Dreams. Elite Syncopation is a complete change of pace from the dramatic dances of which MacMillan has built his reputation.
"If a chocolate cake would be representative of a humorous ballet, 'Elite' is a triple-chocolate peanut butter cake," MacMillian said.
"Slice to Sharp," by Jorma Elo, is a difficult mélange of technically precise classical ballet with the fluid body movements of contemporary dance. Originally created for the New York City Ballet, the piece is "an outrageously difficult and extremely exciting piece of dance art," MacMillan said. Elo trained at the Finnish National Ballet School and the Kirov Ballet School in Leningrad before dancing for the Netherland Dance Theater under the direction of highly celebrated choreographer, Jiri Kylian.
Twyla Tharp, choreographer of "Push Comes to Shove," is acknowledged as one of today's most versatile choreographers.
Dance Party. Exceptional Synergy is a compilation of three separate pieces:
“Elite Syncopation,” “Slice to Sharp” and “Push Comes to Shove,” each the creation
of a highly celebrated choreographer.
"She is the epitome of the American choreographer of the last 30 years," MacMillan said. "Push comes to Shove" is a fun and sensual piece, acknowledged as Tharp's most renowned work and responsible for launching the celebrated dance maker into stardom.
"People that choose to spend an evening in a theater deserve to have as much fun as you can have in a public place with your socks on," MacMillan said. Consequently, Exceptional Synergy is an extremely approachable performance, even for those with little knowledge of ballet.
For information and tickets visit tulsaballet.org or call 918-749-6006.
Just Some Good Ol' Boys at the Nightingale Theater
Never one to shy away from the strange or outrageous, the Nightingale Theater, 1416 E. 4th St., presents Just Some Good Ol' Boys, Friday and Saturday March 25-26 and April 1-2 at 8pm. Written by Joseph Gomez, Good Ol' Boys is a psychedelic revisit to the hit television series, The Dukes of Hazzard. The play opens with an interview between Waylon Jennings, musician and writer of The Duke's of Hazzard's theme song, "Just Some Good Ol' Boys," and PBS's veteran journalist, Bill Moyers.
In the play, Jennings is not only a musician, but also a mythological scholar. Through the course of the interview Jennings explains to Moyers how the Dukes of Hazzard brims with mythological elements and connections. Moyers is more than skeptical of Jennings' convictions and tensions arise between the two that carry the conflict of the performance.
Scenes from their interview come and go as Jennings' convictions bleed into fictitious episodes of the Dukes of Hazzard. While the episodes reflect the original characters, quotes and clothing from the series, they are executed in a strange and alternate reality than the show would have originally dealt with. As the performance progresses, the tensions between Moyers and Jennings' increase as well as the surreal quality of the Duke's episodes.
Gomez wrote Good Ol' Boys six years ago for the Nightingale and since it's premier has made some changes and rewrites to the original script. His inspiration for the play stemmed from his own fondness of The Dukes of Hazzard and his desire to write a comedy that would feel at home amongst the Nightingale's repertoire of raucous and unpredictable comedies. Gomez writes exclusively for the Nightingale alongside other writers from Fifty Swaps, the Nightingale's writers collective.
"You don't need to have seen The Dukes of Hazzard to understand the play," Gomez said.
The nature and ambitions of the characters are made clear with the first episode leaving the audience free to experience this trippy investigation of the memorable television series.
For tickets and more information, visit nightingaletheater.org or call 918-633-8666.
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