TU Professor works on Osage Ballet "Wahzhazhe"

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The music was co-written, arranged and orchestrated by Dr. Joseph Rivers.

Osage tribal artists present the premiere of “Wahzhazhe”, an Osage ballet, bringing the rich history and culture of the Osage Indians to stage through dance, music, costumes and set design. To ensure a complete and accurate history of the tribe, Smith met with tribal elders who helped develop the ballet’s storyline, while Roman Jasinski, of the Peoria-Shawnee tribes, serves as artistic advisor and Jenna Smith of the Osage Nation choreographed the dances. The music is composed by Lou Brock of the Osage/Omaha tribes and Dr. Joseph Rivers. It is arranged and orchestrated by Dr. Joseph Rivers

“This ballet will be an artistic expression of the lives of our ancestors that will help us to better understand what it is to be Osage,” “Wahzhazhe” ballet director Randy Tinker Smith said, in a news release. “We have the opportunity to bring excellent art to these communities in the form of a compelling American story, told through dance at a time when inspiration might be just the remedy at such a challenging time in the state’s history.”

According to the “Wahzhazhe” ballet web site, the production is an opportunity for young people to be involved in creating an artistic performance honoring their history and culture traditions. A minimum of 50 artists worked on a variety of tasks and youth are provided training in costume and set construction, stage crew and dance.

Costumes were made by local artists under the direction of Wendy Ponca and Terry Wann. Volunteers learned about craftsmanship and social meanings that go into the color combinations and textile art forms that are unique to the Osage people. Professional mentors, being paired with college students, will provide rich opportunities to learn and gain experience in many aspects of art production.

Show dates for “Wahzhazhe” are Aug. 3-4 in Tulsa at Holland Hall School, 5666 E. 81st St., 8:00 p.m. and Aug. 10-11 in Bartlesville at the Bartlesville Community Center, 300 S.E. Adams. Blvd., 8:00 p.m. Tickets for the Holland Hall performance are now available and can be purchased online at myticketoffice.com or by calling 918-596-7111. Tickets for the Bartlesville performance can be bought online at bartlesvillecommunitycenter.com or by calling 918-336-2787.

View the Bartlesville performance on Flicker


Joseph Rivers