SummerWind Youth Ballet is a two-week intensive program in dance, hosted and staffed by OU’s School of Dance (SOD) and culminating in a performance on Saturday, June 30, at 1:00 p.m. in historic Holmberg Hall in the Donald W. Reynolds Performing Arts Center. Neither tickets nor reservations are necessary and the general public is welcome to attend for free. The program will include demonstrations of dance technique and variations from repertory learned during the visit to campus.
Ranging in age from eleven to eighteen, the fifty current attendees have come from across Oklahoma and from such states as Arkansas, Florida, Kansas, Missouri, Tennessee, Texas and Washington. Activities are stimulating in classes from 8:30 a.m. to 5:45 p.m., with an hour for lunch, and lectures most evenings. In addition to instruction in ballet, pointe and variations, students are offered sessions in jazz and modern, modern improvisation, Flamenco and character dance, along with information on Yoga and Pilates body conditioning. Lectures encompass such topics as injury prevention, stage makeup, Belly dance, Native American exhibition, body science and dancer nutrition.
Rebecca Herrin, SOD faculty member who coordinates SummerWind Youth Ballet, observed: “It is such fun to watch these young dancers from throughout the region develop their understanding of ballet technique and artistry during their time with us on the OU campus.”
In addition to a faculty of eleven, the SummerWind staff includes Mary Margaret Holt, Director of the School of Dance, Charlotte Hart, assistant coordinator, chaperones Kelsey Schwenker, Renée Beneteau and Laurel Dix, as well as four musical accompanists.
Herrin continued, “SummerWind is a comprehensive ballet program aimed at educating the complete young dancer. The final performance is open to the public and students are always very excited to share what they have learned.”
The University of Oklahoma’s program in dance was founded in 1963 by Yvonne Chouteau and Miguel Terekhov, former principal dancers with Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. What had been a department became the School of Dance in 1998, with Mary Margaret Holt as Director. Undergraduate and graduate dance majors, along with general education students, total approximately 1000 enrollees in dance classes per semester. The School of Dance’s state-of-the-art facility in the Donald W. Reynolds Performing Arts Center was completed in 2005.