Oakland-esque Spring Repertory Program: Four Choreographers Inspired by Oakland

Image

Oakland Ballet dancer, Stephanie Salts, working with Turffeinz dancer, Noh Justice

On April 7, 2014, ten dancers, from the Bay Area to New York City, converged in the heart of Oakland to begin preparing for Oakland Ballet’s spring repertory production, Oakland-esque. For nearly 9 hours each day, these talented artists have been vigorously rehearsing four world premieres that will debut on the Malonga Casquelourd stage this weekend, May 16-17. While each of the choreographers has their own individual voice and distinct style, they all share one common thread as they began creating for this exciting program. All of the works on this program have ties to, or inspiration from, Oakland’s local art scene. Read on for a teaser about the four Oakland-inspired works premiering May 16-17 in Oakland-esque.

Sonya Delwaide – Rocky Road:

Starting off the program is a work by local choreographer, Sonya Delwaide. While Sonya may be a native of Quebec, she planted her roots in the Bay Area in 1996 and is currently an Associate Professor in the Dance Department at Mills College. Her new work, Rocky Road, starts off the Oakland-esque program on the right foot, or in this case, wheel. Oakland’s very own AXIS Dance Company will be sharing the stage with OBC artists to perform Sonya’s piece – which is set in the era of the Great Depression. Using her quirky sense of fun, Sonya’s piece gives the feel of a silent movie, with a strong plot line that can speak for itself without using words. Incorporating the OBC dancers with AXIS Dance Company’s dancers’ sometimes wheelchair-bound vocabulary, this tasty treat has no boundaries. You will also enjoy the Jazz styling of longtime Oakland resident, Earl “Fatha” Hines, to coast you through this work.

Robert Moses – TIP:

The world premiere of Robert Moses’ TIP will be the second work in this program and his second creation for the company since Graham has taken over Artistic Directorship of Oakland Ballet. Robert’s piece is yet another example of his seamless work that can often be seen on the other side of the bay. While watching this dance, you experience a clear sense of relationship between the dancers. At the same time, you may also feel that this work can change direction at any moment. At one time, it may seem as if the dancers are working together. Then in the blink of an eye, this feeling changes to a sense of tension and explosiveness. TIP is accompanied by some great music created by Oakland-raised Bass Guitarist Larry Graham, Jr.

Molissa Fenley:

Molissa’s new creation, Redwood Park, is inspired by Oakland’s local park of the same name. Molissa, or Mo as the dancers affectionately call her, is another local choreographer and faculty member at Mills College. While Molissa has been recovering from a knee injury, she surely didn’t have any issues hiking around and gaining inspiration from this park that holds the largest remaining natural stand of coast redwood trees. Mo is known for her stamina works that are founded within her strong modern training. This work is no exception, as you will see four of OBC’s company men scaling this hilly, yet visually picturesque work. An extra treat to enjoy as you ascend into the hills will be live music created especially for this piece by local composer Joan Jeanrenaud, performed live by Mills Alumnus Nava Dunkelman and Anna Wray.

Graham Lustig:

While Graham may not be local to the Bay Area, he is no stranger to the community. As Oakland Ballet’s Artistic Director, he has been an integral part in assuring that the vast Oakland arts community continues to have a voice that includes dance. To round out this program, Graham has created a work that takes community to a new level. At the suggestion of Oakland Mayor, Jean Quan, OBC has partnered with several local artists to inspire, and take part in, his new dance creation. Two dancers with the YouTube viral, BART popular dance group, the Turffeinz, Gary “Noh-Justice” Morgan and Rayshawn “Looney” Thompson, have been the inspiration for this work, and will be sharing the spotlight alongside Oakland Ballet Company dancer. The Turffeinz specialty, “turfing,” is a locally cultivated style of dance and an acronym for Taking Up Room on the Floor. It originated as a way to represent the different “turfs” that each dancer is from. Throughout Turfland, you will hear songs that were created by Oakland artists and have a unique Oakland flavor. Costumes painted with vibrant colors by local artist Samuel Renaissance add to the experience. Expect to see some fluid footwork that often ends up on the tips of the artists’ sneakers and all of the dancers of Oakland-esque dancers taking up space on our stage.

The dancers have been working very hard rehearsing these works, collaborating with incredible artists, and performing at outreach events around the community. While some of the dancers are not local, it has been heartwarming to see everyone embrace and become a part of Oakland’s very important arts community. We can’t wait to see you this coming weekend to share what Oakland Ballet, and Oakland, is all about.

Performances are:

Friday, May 16th at 8 PM

Saturday May 17th at 2 PM & 8 PM

 

Archives

MORE POSTS

Love Yourself

Love Yourself

The study of dance is exciting, challenging, and rewarding. It can also be frustrating and disappointing. As a profession, a lot depends upon qualities over which you have no control. Of course, we can work and improve but proportions or our overall shape are out of...

Academy Student Wins Contest

Academy Student Wins Contest

We’re so proud of Academy at Oakland Ballet student Alexandrea Baker for having won first place in a youth arts competition with her solo choreography! This contest was sponsored by Arts for Oakland Kids, a fantastic organization who aims to ensure that students in...

Voter Resources for the Arts Community and Beyond

Voter Resources for the Arts Community and Beyond

Here at Oakland Ballet we’ve gathered a few resources that we felt might help smooth the voting process. We hope they make casting your ballot easier, and if you want to go beyond the ballot and get more involved in arts advocacy, we’ve got you covered too! Feel free...

Luna Mexicana Stay At Home Soiree

Luna Mexicana Stay At Home Soiree

Join us in a celebration of Día de los Muertos.   Share a meal from Agave, Ballet Folklórico México Danza, Jalisco Harpist Salvadore Vazquez, hear about the elements of an ofrenda with Daniel Camacho, learn to construct paper marigolds, and see excerpts of Oakland...

Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month

Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month

Oakland Ballet recognizes the contributions of LatinX Americans and Hispanics in our community. Board members, donors, company dancers, teachers, and choreographers, our organization is strengthened by the addition of their voices, diverse heritage, and perspectives...

Cancellation of Paramount performances

Cancellation of Paramount performances

It is with great regret that we announce the cancellation of the 2020 Paramount Theatre performances of Luna Mexicana and The Nutcracker.  Look for their return in 2021. Our Luna Mexicana Stay At Home Soiree will be October 30, 2020 7PM. Tickets available soon. Mark...

Connecting with the Community

Connecting with the Community

As spring bursts into full bloom, the artists and staff at Oakland Ballet Company are still basking in the success of the company’s newly added, early spring season – this year featuring the premiere of Jangala. This all new program had a modern, urban take on The...

Magic in the Multipurpose Room

Magic in the Multipurpose Room

On a Tuesday morning at ten o’clock, right before holiday vacation, the students of Howard Elementary in east Oakland streamed into the school’s multipurpose room for an assembly. They were excited because it was almost the holiday break. They were excited because it...

Casting for Graham Lustig’s “The Nutcracker”

Casting for Graham Lustig’s “The Nutcracker”

Ramona Kelly and Seyong Kim cast as lead roles in Graham Lustig’s The Nutcracker. Sports legends join the cast for special cameo appearances. Each year, Oakland Ballet Company holds auditions to hire company dancers - all highly trained performers possessing...