Tulsa Ballet dancers coming to Pinckney

Sophia Menteguiaga

I won’t be the only Oklahoma dancer spending my winter holidays in the mitten.

Sofia Menteguiaga, Tulsa Ballet soloist, and Alfonso Martin, Tulsa Ballet principal, will appear as guest artists Dec. 3 and 4 the Fountain Dance Ministry‘s production of the Nutcracker. The ballet will be performed at Jane Tasch Performing Arts Theatre, 2100 E. M-36, in Pinckney.

As a young dancer, I remember going to the company’s annual production when Fountain Dance Ministry was known as Brighton City Ballet. While sickled feet and bent knees were masked with smiles – as expected from youngsters – the professional dancers hired to perform the Caviler and Sugar Plum Fairy roles filled a void.

And, there’s something about any rendition of the two-act ballet that makes a young girl’s inner sugar plum fairy come to life.

Brighton City Ballet’s Nutcracker has been performed for 25 years, said Deborah Shiposh, co-director of the company. The company joined with Debbie Tweedie in 2007 to form Fountain Dance Ministry, and guest artists have performed with in the production for more than 20 years.

“I feel like they just bring a sense of excitement to the kids and usually they have wonderful guest artists with the company,” she said. “It’s a wonderful experience.”

The company hires dancers each year through an agent, Shiposh said. Past guests have included dancers from Boston Ballet and Milwaukee Ballet.

It’s been a while since I’ve seen the company’s production, but I plan to attend this year. I hope to not only be enchanted by the sounds of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s score, but the professional “umph” Menteguiaga and Martin are bound to bring.

Tickets are $20 for adults and $17 for children teens and senior citizens. They go on sale at the end of October.

Amanda Whitesell has more than 20 years of training in the performing arts and entertainment industries. She is the Web Editor and a Staff Reporter for the Livingston Daily Press & Argus. Email her at awhitesell@gannett.com.

Spring Show creates nostalgia

By Amanda Alfanos

It was a bittersweet assignment. Taking photos at American Spirit Dance Company’s Spring Show dress rehearsal brought about a slew of nostalgia. There I was, snapping away on my camera from house right, watching from behind a lens, as my former dance performance classmates presented their final farewell on the Kirkpatrick Auditorium stage. Some of the dances made me laugh, while others puzzled me. Surely there had to be a method to choreographer Kari Shaw’s dance in which the performers traveled around the stage in over-the-top canine costumes. Nonetheless, I couldn’t prevent the tears from welding up behind my eyes during some of the dances. There’s something irreplaceable about the coined “dancer’s high” that artists only can get from performing. Sure, I get a giddy “reporter’s high” when a source says something unforgettable during an interview, but it’s not quite the same adrenaline rush. Being a dance performance major at Oklahoma City University isn’t easy — I would know. I planned to pursue a dance degree for two years, but when I learned my pursuit of a mass communications minor would not be possible, this constituted a change in Fall 2009. My decision to change my concentration wasn’t easy, because I had equal passions for dance and journalism. But looking back, I don’t regret my choice. While stress often is unavoidable in any environment, regular weigh ins created panic among even the thinnest of my classmates and pressure to make graduation levels became an obsession. When friends ask me whether or not I miss being a dance major, I usually reply with a revamped version of a line from Necessary Targets: “Maybe I didn’t want to be a great dancer. Maybe I just wanted to dance.” To read more about what dance performance seniors have to endure, read this previous post. Watching from the audience, part of me wished I could take part in the storytelling of Spring Show. I particularly enjoyed Jo Rowan’s “Lean on Me,” a lyrical-ballet piece, and the Fosse number, “Sing Sing Sing.” But at the same time, I knew that rising to applaud my classmates’ final bow performance was all I needed to contribute to their moment in the spotlight. Below are some photos I snapped of the production. The photos are copyrighted, but they can purchased by visiting Student Publications’ Shutterfly website.