Saturday, April 7th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6
Tulsa Ballet closed its season this weekend with a program billed as "An All American Evening." The company performed three works, including a repeat production of the popular "Rodeo." Several hundred Tulsa area students saw a preview Friday afternoon. KOTV's Glenda Silvey was there. Tulsa Ballet's season closer features a mixed program with a common theme, celebration of American life. Audiences will see the Oklahoma premiere of choreographer Paul Taylor's "Company B," set to the music of the Andrews Sisters. Balanchine's "Who Cares" captures the spirit of New York in the 1920's with a score by George Gershwin. And Agnes DeMille's "Rodeo," with music by Aaron Copland, concludes a program that drew New York Times Dance critic Jack Anderson for a look. NY Times dance critic, Jack Anderson says, "curious to see how Tulsa would do them, Tulsa always developing a diverse repertoire." Anderson will deliver a pre-curtain program on American ballet, which he says received its biggest boost when the Ballet Russe first performed Rodeo in 1942. Till then, he says, skeptics believed American life was unsuitable as subject matter for ballet, which had its origins in the courts of Europe. "Of course we now know that's nonsense, that ballet is now an art of any specific nation. It's an international art and it can leap all kinds of cultural and nationalistic boundaries." All it takes, besides trained dancers, Anderson says, is a choreographer with imagination, and three of the most notable are on this program. More than two thousand area school children attended a preview as part of Tulsa Ballet's education outreach. Abigail Prescott with the Tulsa Ballet, "We really enjoy working with the students and exposing them to the arts, because we're grooming them to be eventually arts patrons themselves, so it's very important to us as audience development." Anderson says that outreach is crucial to ballet's survival nationwide. "If we're going to develop an audience for ballet, a love for ballet, it will have to be, I think, by regional companies coming to the fore and doing programs of all kinds of works." Tulsa Ballet is eager to lead in that role, performing diverse works in the season it now brings to a close, as well as those ahead.