POSTED ON AUGUST 18, 2010:
Bathing in the Sun
New dance company debuts performance
Former Tulsa Ballet Soloist Megan McKown-Miller leads a new contemporary dance company in its debut performance, Song of the Swimming Sun, Saturday, Aug. 21, in the Tulsa Performing Arts Center’s Liddy Doenges Theatre, 110 E. 2nd St.
Miller, 37, was with TB for 16 years before retiring from the company in 2004. She’s now the artist director of Soluna performing Arts Group, which she founded about a year ago.
“There are a lot of (dancers) who want to perform and really there’s just not a place for them to do that without being in a bigger organization,” Miller said.
So she brought together a diverse group of dancers of all ages and genres to perform with Soluna.
“I also wanted to bridge the gap between the bigger companies and the community,” Miller said.
“Sometimes I don’t feel like people who see the bigger companies see the community companies, and people who go see the community companies don’t see the bigger ones.”
Song of the Swimming Sun is — and future Soluna performances will be — a collaboration of different types of artists. Its featured dancers are women Miller grew up dancing with — Margaret Leighty, Sherron Underwood, Alicia Chesser and Mona Hatter.
Miller choreographed the bulk of the show with the exception of a modern piece by Arien Christopher and a pas de deux by Tulsa Ballet principal dancer and choreographer Ma Cong. The production is set to original music written and recorded by Nathan Brant, with local vocalist and violinist Sharla Pember performing live. Erin Turner, Geoffrey Hicks and Mark Fredric will present multi-media art installations.
Miller began choreographing new works a couple of years ago with a company in Eureka Springs, Ark., called Mosaic Trio.
“I worked with some friends in Arkansas who have a dance venue, and I learned to improv and choreograph, and I was allowed to experiment more,” Miller said. “You’re not often allowed to experiment within a company.
“I’m so easily inspired, and it’s so easy to be inspired by all these people (in Soluna).”
The work is about inner reflection, Miller said.
“Song of the Swimming Sun started as a reflection of myself, looking at my life and my struggles,” she said. “The more I refl ected on myself, the more I saw other people going through the same things I was going through.
“It’s about taking time to look at your life and what your purpose is. For me, I’ve gone through quite a few struggles, and I would ask myself, ‘Why is that? Why am I able to keep rising above and continue?’ Some people aren’t able to.”
Miller said Song asks the question, “If you could follow a path without anyone stepping in your way, what would you do?”
“A lot of times, we stand in our own way,” she said. “I think we invite so many things in. We can complain about things but really we invite it in so many times.”
As part of its mission, Soluna “desires to build environments that create unique and individual works, while providing an opportunity to present those works to audiences otherwise out of reach.”
Miller said the multi-media aspect of the workmakes it more interesting and brings the story together.
“I really feel that different people need to see all these different artists,” she said. “These are people I’m so inspired by, and I feel the need to expose them more. All of the people involved in this personally inspire me.”
Song of the Swimming Sun begins at 7:30pm Saturday, and tickets are $15. They and other information are available at tulsapac.com.
Fiddlin’ Dixie Also on Saturday, the National Fiddler Hall of Fame presents Robbie Fulks with Robbie Gjersoe and The Trishas in the Tulsa PAC’s John H. Williams Theatre.
Fulks is an alternative country artist whose shows are known for their improvised reworking of his previous work, as well as musical humor and off-the-cuff covers of songs by artists such as Michael Jackson and Cher.
Gjersoe is a guitar player and long-time collaborator with Fulks, and The Trishas blend gospel, country and blues in their music.
The show begins at 7pm, and tickets, which are $22, are available at the PAC’s website.
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