Holland Hall News
World Wide Premiere of Wahzhazhe Opens at Holland Hall
Beginning August 3, area residents have the unique opportunity to witness the world premiere of a brand new ballet: Wahzhazhe, which opens at Holland Hall’s Walter Arts Center.
Produced by Randy Tinker Smith, Wahzhazhe tells the story of the Osage people through the medium of contemporary ballet. Why use a Western medium like ballet to tell a Native story? Osage Tribal Museum Director Kathryn Red Corn believes dance is the most fitting way to share Osage history: “The Osage danced before a raid, they danced before a hunt, they danced to the beat of the drum, they danced to the prayer songs, and sometimes they just danced. What better way to tell the Osage story than through a ballet that expresses the rich culture of a warrior people that controlled a large part of what is now called the United States of America?” The selection of ballet as a medium to tell the Osage story also honors two famous Osage ballerinas, Maria and Marjorie Tallchief.
To ensure that the ballet chronicles a complete and accurate history of the tribe, tribal elders helped develop the ballet’s storyline. Roman Jasinski of the Peoria-Shawnee tribes served as Artistic Advisor, and Jenna Smith of the Osage Nation choreographed the dances. The musical themes were composed by Lou Brock, long-time musician and chief researcher at the Osage Tribal Museum, and arranged by Dr. Joseph Rivers, professor of music and film studies at the University of Tulsa.
Wahzhazhe also showcases the richness of Osage traditional textile arts. Kathryn Red Corn provided access to the museum’s traditional costumes, inspiring well-known Osage artists Wendy Ponca and Terry Wann to design authentic costumes that appear as the traditional tribal clothing that was worn during the past 200 years. Similarly, creative set designs by Alexandra Ponca Stock transform the stage into accurate depictions of Osage lifestyles.
Principal Chief John D. Red Eagle is especially excited about the ballet, observing that Wahzhazhe “will have long reaching educational value, not only to our people, but to all Americans as we watch this great part of history.”
Wahzhazhe opens August 3-4 at Holland Hall’s Walter Arts Center in Tulsa. To buy tickets, call 918-596-7109. You can also visit the Tulsa Performing Arts Center Box Office in person at 110 E. 2nd Street or online at myticketoffice.com. To buy tickets for the Bartlesville performances on August 10-11, call 918-336-2787 or 800-618-2787. You can also visit the Bartlesville Community Center box office in person at 300 SE Adams Boulevard or online at bartlesvillecommunitycenter.com. Tickets are $5 for students and seniors (over 60), $10 for adults, and $20 for families (two adults and children).
Wahzhazhe is sponsored by an Art Works grant from the National Endowment for the Arts; the Osage Foundation; the Osage Tribal Museum; Spyglass Energy Group;, Michael L. Graves, Nadel and Gussman; Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld, LLP; and Osage LLC.
Bartlesville’s Allied Arts and Humanities Council has served as fiscal agent and community partner for Wahzhazhe. The Council believes that active participation in the arts and humanities creates a stronger community through the power of shared cultural experiences, and the creation of an entirely new ballet is an especially powerful way of forging that shared cultural experience. The Council also sponsors arts education programs, promotes and supports artists and cultural organizations, and recognizes individuals for their achievements in the arts through the annual BART awards and senior scholarships.
To learn more about Allied Arts and Humanities Council, visit alliedartsbartlesvile.org or find them on facebook. Contact Executive Director Hilary Welch at firstname.lastname@example.org or 918-337-2005 for more information.
For exclusive behind-the-scenes insights into the creation of a brand new ballet, visit www.osageballet.com.