The Tulsa Ballet illustrated its wealth of talent with a show performed entirely by students.
Tulsa Ballet opened their 2018 – 2019 season with “On Your Radar.” This performance exclusively featured Tulsa Ballet II, their pre-professional company. It included two pieces by different choreographers to showcase their dancers.
“Omens,” the opening number, was a modern piece. The message of this piece was about how to find your own way and listen to your heart in spite of all of the noise of the outside world trying to drown it out. Choreographed by Jennifer Archibald, this piece featured cacophonous music full of percussion instruments and fast beats. Dressed in earthy colors of red and brown, the dancers danced across the stage in groups of two or three. With a harsh background of red light illuminating their silhouettes, the dancers fought and clashed trying to find inner peace.
It was a beautiful piece featuring lots of movements that focused on lengthening the limbs and reaching. Their movements perfectly expressed the message of the piece.
The second number was “Peter and the Wolf,” which was choreographed by resident Tulsa Ballet choreographer Ma Cong. He reimagines this popular story, which was created by composer Sergei Prokofiev. This charming piece is humorously narrated by the boy who cried wolf, who is now a grandfather. The narrator, portrayed by Timothy Hunter, in his old age is now telling his side of the story about his experiences with the wolf.
The narrator takes the audience through his journey of when he was a mischievous young boy calling wolf for fun to when he is a grandfather protecting his grandson from the big bad wolf. It is humorous and a fun way to experience ballet.
The dancers portraying the animals in this tale perfectly captured the essence of their movements, making each of the animals come to life for the audiences. In addition, the elaborate costumes, including a large wolf headdress, were all crafted with the view in mind of making the dancers appear like their fairytale animals. The costuming and set pieces were all excellently crafted to create a fairytale world. The set included a lighted screen for the dancers’ silhouettes to appear larger, mesmerizing the audience.
This is a performance that is delightful for all ages. A little boy I was sitting close to was particularly enthralled by the wolf. He gasped loudly every time the wolf came on and sighed in relief when he was denied his prey. His obvious delight added to the already enchanting experience.
I attended the performance at Zarrow Performance Studio, Tulsa Ballet’s Broken Arrow location. It was the first time I had been to this location and I was pleasantly surprised. The atmosphere of the Zarrow Theatre makes the audience feel like they are involved in the action on the stage. The audience is above the stage which makes the dancers feel closer. It is an intimate setting in which I enjoyed seeing the ballet.
Tulsa Ballet only had one weekend of performances for “On Your Radar,” but their dancers return to the stage September 14 – 23 for “Creations in Studio K.” In addition, “Peter and the Wolf” will return to the stage October 5 and 12. Make sure to put it on your calendar, as it is a performance that should not be missed.