Share |

Dancers needed for Wahzhazhe Ballet

Auditions for the Osage-themed ballet are scheduled for Feb. 4 in Tulsa
The Osage ballet production, "Wahzhazhe," chronicles the Osage Nation's history through dance. The painting is by Osage artist Joe Don Brave for the production. Courtesy Photo

The Wahzhazhe Ballet needs dancers.

Producers for the ballet are looking for 12 female and 12 male ballet dancers for the production. In the female dancers they are looking for dancers who are strong on pointe and have strong classical technique, said Randy Tinker Smith, director of the production. In the male ballet dancers they are looking for dancers who have strong technique and partnering skills, he said.

Auditions will be held at the Jasinski Academy in Tulsa at 1 p.m. on Feb. 4. Rehearsals will begin in mid-June, with room and board provided, Smith said.

Performances are scheduled for Aug. 3-5 in Tulsa and Aug. 10-12 in Bartlesville. Times and locations are to be announced.

The Wahzhazhe Ballet, created and produced by Osage citizens, is a historical depiction of the Osage Nation from past to present.

Osages involved in creating, “Wahzhazhe,” are Smith; Roman Jasinski, artistic director; Lou Brock, composer; Ardina Moore, costume designer and Wendy Ponca, set designer.

The ballet begins with Osage ancestors in pre-Columbian Missouri when ceremony and prayer were performed before or during any daily activity, according to osageballet.com.

Osage life after European contact, the purchase of the Osage Reservation, the Osage’s move from Kansas, allotment and the discovery of oil on the reservation, are all depicted in the ballet. The production also touches on Osage cultural history such as the Osage clan system, buffalo hunts and the In-Lon-Schka.

The final scene, “We Walk in Two Worlds,” will showcase Osage life today.

“This scene will be danced with some of the pre-contact scene characters who will be shadowing characters dressed as contemporary Osage people of today,” according to the website. “An Osage man with a long braid, dressed in a suit and tie, carrying a briefcase will walk across the stage. Suddenly he hears the drum and begins Indian dancing across the stage. The sun sets. The Osage way will continue.”   

The producers and creators of the ballet are inviting Osage citizens to volunteer in all aspects of the production.

Those interested can volunteer for fundraising activities, administrative projects, costumes, sets, backstage crew-Tulsa and Bartlesville, transporting dancers to rehearsals in Tulsa and Bartlesville and cooking for the dancers in Tulsa, according to osageballet.com.

A minimum of 50 artists will work on a variety of tasks and youth will be provided training in costume and set construction, stage crew and dance.

Costumes will be made by local artists at the Wah Zha Zhi Cultural Center in Pawhuska, according to the website. Volunteers will learn about craftsmanship and social meanings that go into the color combinations and textile art forms that are unique to the Osage people. Professional mentors, being paired with college students, will provide rich opportunities to learn and gain experience in many aspects of art production, according to the website.

Donations

The ballet production is being sponsored in part by the Osage Tribal Museum; Spyglass Energy Group; Michael L. Graves, Nadel and Gussman; Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP.  

“We are looking for additional tax-deductible donations from oil producers, which these sponsors have agreed to match up to $50, 000,” Smith said. 

According to the release, an anonymous donor has offered to match dollar for dollar any Osage trust money donated to the ballet by Osage Shareholders.

Allied Arts and Humanities Council of Bartlesville, a non-profit agency, is our fiscal agent and community partner for this project and has been instrumental in producing arts and cultural programming in Northeastern Oklahoma since 1970.

For more information on the ballet, how to volunteer, how to donate, sending a resume, about auditions, contact Randy Tinker Smith at (918) 704-4668 or visit their website at www.osageballet.com.

Jasinski Academy
3315 East 33rd Street
Tulsa, OK 74135