Dancers help make family’s ‘dream come true’

Four OCU students will be seen on ABC television network this weekend.

Jenna Jackson and Ali Rosenstein, dance pedagogy seniors; Chip Byars, dance performance junior, and Gracie Verkamp, dance performance sophomore, will appear on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition at 8/7 p.m. Central time Sunday.

Gracie Verkamp, Chip Byars, Jenna Jackson, and Ali Rosenstein in June on the set of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. The show will be at 8/7 p.m. Central time on ABC.

The dancers filmed the show in June in Long Island, N.Y. after they were chosen to audition by Broadway Dance Center officials. The performers were summer interns at the dance center, 322 W. 45th Street, New York, N.Y.

About 30-40 performers auditioned for the show, but 12 were chosen, Jackson said.

“The family that the show was about were big fans of music theater,” she said. “We basically did a continuous music theater number while they were tearing down the house.”

Jackson said she enjoyed the experience.

“It was really neat to do two things I love to do at the same time,” she said. “I love dancing and helping people. It was cool to make the family’s dream come true.”

To watch a preview of the show visit the Extreme Makeover: Home Edition website.

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Performers share summer plans

Chaz Wolcott

Sidney Kounkel

Roger Ellis

Michelle Luneau

A challenge college artists often face is finding a summer performance job.

While some performers are lucky to score a gig, it’s essential for artists to continue their training during the summer months, said Elizabeth Bork, a Radio City Rockette.

Here’s how some student artists from Oklahoma City University plan to spend their summer:

Kounkel, dance performance sophomore, will intern at Broadway Dance Center in New York City from June through August. Kounkel said she will work at a trucking company completing clerical tasks until the internship begins.

Roger Ellis, theater performance senior, will perform in “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” and “42nd Street” at Lyric Theatre, 1727 Northwest 16th St. Ellis said he will pursue a master’s degree in music theater at San Diego State University in the fall.

Michelle Luneau, graduate dance, will compete as Miss OCU in the Miss Oklahoma Pageant June 8-12 at  Mabee Center in Tulsa, Okla.

Chaz Wolcott, dance performance senior, also will perform in “42nd Street” at Lyric Theatre during the summer.

Graduates of Oklahoma City University often continue their performance careers. Here are a few venues where alumni are dancing:

  • Dorney Park………………………………………….Allentown, Pa.
  • Mary Kay Cosmetics, Inc. Seminar……………… Dallas, Texas
  • Six Flags………………………………………………….Atlanta, Ga.
  • Music Theatre of Wichita…………………………..Wichita, Kan.
  • Frontier City………………………………….Oklahoma City, Okla.
  • Lyric Theatre Productions…………………Oklahoma City, Okla.
  • Williamstown Theatre Festival…………..Williamstown, Mass.
  • Timberlake Playhouse………………………………Mt. Carroll, Ill.
  • Mac-Hayden Theater………………………………..Chatham, N.Y.
  • Busch Gardens…………………………………….Williamsburg, Va.
  • Paramount Kings Island……………………………..Mason, Ohio
  • Tulsa Ballet……………………………………………….Tulsa, Okla.
  • Oklahoma City Yard Dawgz……………….Oklahoma City, Okla.
  • River North Chicago Dance Company……………….Chicago, Ill.
  • Houston Metropolitan Dance Company………..Houston, Texas
  • Music Theatre West……………………………..Long Beach, Calif.
  • Harris Golman Productions……………………..San Diego, Calif.
  • Follies Bergere……………………………………….Las Vegas, Nev.
  • Walt Disney World…………………………………….Orlando, Fla.
  • Disneyland Resort…………………………………..Anaheim, Calif.
  • Tokyo Disney Resort…………………………………..Tokyo, Japan