Pointes of interest
Tulsa Ballet marks its 60th season.
Tulsa Ballet founders Moscelyne Larkin and Roman Jasinski
Courtesy Tulsa Ballet
Tulsa Ballet celebrates 60 illustrious years this season, and its spotlight only keeps getting brighter.
Its dance story began when founders Roman Jasinski and his wife Moscelyne Larkin — both Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo stars — moved to Tulsa and created the Tulsa Civic Ballet. In December 1956, they debuted a single performance of the snow scene from “The Nutcracker.” Tulsa Civic Ballet became a professional company in 1978, says Marcello Angelini, George Kaiser Family Foundation artistic director.
Arriving at Tulsa Ballet 21 years ago, Angelini’s dream was to make the company a player in the international scene.
“My vision and task was to take this jewel of a company and make it into a force that would influence the development of dance nationally and internationally while making the company ever-so-relevant for the development of our city, performance-wise and education-wise,” Angelini says.
He expanded the repertory to include popular pieces from top creators of the past and present, and internationally renowned choreographers began creating works in Tulsa that were performed all over the world.
Since 2008, these works have been “exported” to companies in France, Germany, South Korea and Turkey, to name a few. For example, “Contrast” — choreographed by Young Soon Hue — was created in Studio K and then performed by Istanbul Ballet in Turkey and Landestheater in Coburg, Germany.
The company also started traveling abroad, serving as Tulsa’s ambassadors. Tulsa Ballet averages 10-minute curtain calls while on tour, and the Italian newspaper II Mattino called the company “the fifth most important in the U.S.” during its spring Italian tour.
Working alongside Angelini are 12 artistic and production staff and a company of 28 dancers from 13 countries. Together, this group creates and performs ballets comparable to those of larger companies, but with a smaller budget.
Angelini describes the upcoming season as worthy of a 60th anniversary celebration. Tulsa Ballet will debut its first $1 million production, “Dorothy and the Prince of Oz,” in partnership with the BalletMet. It was created by Edwaard Liang, BalletMet artistic director.
As Angelini reflects on the Ballet’s past 60 years, from international tours to new works and company growth, he says he’s most focused on the future.
“Each time we achieve a new height, I see that as the platform on which to spring for our next jump,” Angelini says. “And boy, we are getting pretty high over here.”
Preparing for the future
Another sign of Tulsa Ballet’s growth is the Hardesty Center for Dance Education, which opened July 30 at 1901 W. New Orleans St. in Broken Arrow to serve that community and the surrounding areas. Andre Reyes and Cynthia Drayer-Reyes are the center’s principals.
“We will offer exceptional dance training in an inspiring, fun and nurturing environment,” Drayer-Reyes says. “Offering everyone a chance to continue dancing, begin dancing or expand on their current dance knowledge is our focus.”
Classes are available for age 3 through adults at the new location, which is home to four ballet studios. The facility also has administrative office space, dressing rooms, a lobby and 4,000 square feet of warehouse storage space for sets and costumes.
Tulsa Ballet’s 60th season
Creations in Studio K
Dec. 10-11, 16-18 and 22-23
“Dorothy and The Prince of Oz”
April 21 and 23
TBII: Emerging Choreographers Showcase
Visit www.tulsaballet.org for season and ticket information.