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.

Arts graduate study brings hope, but fails to address tough issue

In case you missed it, I wrote an article about a study released by Indiana University regarding arts graduates. The study of 13,600 arts graduates found that 92 percent found some type of employment in their field within one year of graduation. Those surveyed range from theater to architecture graduates.

While the study revealed mostly positive statistics, as it was conducted by the Strategic National Arts Alumni Project, it ceased to take an important area into consideration —  artists’ pay level and revenue satisfaction. About 30 percent of formal professional artists surveyed indicated that debt, including student loans was a reason for pursuing a different career path.

I interviewed Jamie Buxton, a graduate of University of Central Oklahoma, and David Herendeen, an OCU professor for the article, which examined pursuing an acting/music theater degree in Oklahoma.

To view the full article published in The Oklahoman and Look at OKC, visit NewsOK.com.