Oklahoma Contemporary
Elemental by Amanda Herd-Popejoy
Three dancers perform in lighted, multicolored leotards beneath a dark red light.

New Light

Dec. 02, 2020

Movement and Light

OKC Ballet presents original dance performance as part of Oklahoma Contemporary's Bright Golden Haze: Reflections series
Dancers perform wearing illuminated leotards in a theater beneath a red light
Performers rehearse Elemental at Oklahoma Contemporary's Te Ata Theater.

Oklahoma Contemporary is always moving. From the ever-changing façade of our state-of-the-art building to the creative bustle of rotating exhibitions, classes and workshops, nothing sits still for long at your new arts center. That includes our spacious and elegant dance studio — a 2,200 sq ft flexible space, thoughtfully designed for bodies in motion — along with the adjacent Te Ata Theater, where performances of all stripes come to life in an immersive black box environment.

For Oklahoma City Ballet Manager of Training Programs Amanda Herd-Popejoy, movement was the first piece of the puzzle in choreographing an illuminating new ballet as part of Oklahoma Contemporary's Bright Golden Haze: Reflections series. "A lot of times I find the music first, and that's my inspiration to choreograph. So it was really unique for me to go about it differently and start with some of the movements," she said. "The choreography is is pretty challenging for the dancers, so it's about a little over 13 minutes with constant, nonstop, fast-paced contemporary movement en point."

A figure with long blonde hair smiles at the camera
Amanda Herd-Popejoy, manager of professional training programs for Oklahoma City Ballet

On top of the breakneck pace of Elemental — which will broadcast at 7 p.m. Dec. 3 as part of our Thursday Night Late series — Herd-Popejoy's dancers will be equipped with LED lights fashioned over their leotards as an homage to Oklahoma Contemporary's inaugural Bright Golden Haze. That kind of physical dedication is par for the course when it comes to these dancers from Oklahoma City Ballet's Yvonne Chouteau School . "They come in at 9:30 for their morning technique class to keep in shape, but also to get ready for rehearsals during the day. So they will have their morning class from 9:30 to 11. Then they go into rehearsals until about 4:30 every day."

Elemental, Herd-Popejoy's stunning new work, filmed in the Te Ata Theater at Oklahoma Contemporary, is the result of those long hours of training for a performance the choreographer hopes will broaden viewers' ideas about dance. "Sometimes you may not be a fan of classical ballet, but you might love contemporary dance and how the movement doesn't really have a story. You can interpret it your own way. I would encourage people to tune in and experience something new."

Whether you're a contemporary dance fanatic or you're just looking to expand your horizons with a new art form, be sure to tune in to the video premiere of Elemental online as part of Oklahoma Contemporary's Thursday Night Late series, here on our website. In the meantime, you can get into the spirit with the video below, from the last dance performance at Oklahoma Contemporary, featuring movement and poetry from RACE Dance Collective inspired by Jen Lewin's Aqueous.

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Oklahoma Contemporary
P.O. Box 3062
Oklahoma City, OK 73101

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