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.

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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