Oklahoma Contemporary

Oklahoma City Ballet

Two ballet dancers are gently embracing one another. They are both dressed in white, their arms extended elegantly. They pose in front of a metal-finned structure.

New Light

June 15, 2023

Contemporary Dance Illuminates the End of June

A world premiere, three times over

A metal-finned building stands against a stormy sky filled with blue, yellow and pink hues.

Oklahoma Contemporary

Over the first five months of 2023, more than 25,000 people have visited Oklahoma Contemporary for two intriguing exhibition openings (with a third coming in hot), three captivating OKC Repertory Theater productions, one breathtaking duet at the bottom of the ocean floor, two artist talks, five art-making Second Saturdays, 71 Studio School classes, and workshops and 15 camps. Up next? A weekend of contemporary dance in partnership with Oklahoma City Ballet.

“Our partnership with OKC Ballet allows us to support the works of three innovative choreographers at the top of their field,” says Curator of Public Programs and Performance Marie Casimir. “It also continues our interest in engaging our audiences in visceral and layered performances.”

Two ballet dancers pose outside against a metal-finned building. They are both dressed in white and light colors. They are holding one another through elongated grips, one dancer's leg poised high in the air.

OKC Ballet

Coming to our Te Ata Theater from June 23-25, Unboxed presents three contemporary dance works by three spectacular choreographers: Rena Butler, Larry Keigwin and Oklahoma City Ballet Artistic Director Ryan Jolicoeur-Nye. Each choreographer will debut a short, never-seen-before work, accompanied by set design and costume pieces from ArtNow 2023 artist Yakita Starr Fields in collaboration with Butler.

“We will create world-premiere intellectual property made right here in Oklahoma with some of the brightest and most talented creative minds of our time,” Jolicoeur-Nye says. “Not only aiming to enrich our diverse public audiences with this accessible program, we are bolstering the scope of work that our very own Oklahoma City Ballet artists present to our public.”

Over Unboxed’s three-day run, attendees can not only see the new productions, but also a free, abridged family matinee paired with a movement class led by The Groovemeant Community’s Alfonso Pulé, a leader of the street dance moment in OKC.

Whichever production viewers choose, Unboxed offers just a glimpse into the incredible talent in and new contemporary works being created by OKC Ballet.

The Groovemeant Community OK Contemporary 7 Jun2023 Jana Carson Photo 095

The Groovemeant Community

“The work is accessible in beautiful ways,” Casimir says. “Contemporary dance as a form is loose, and the choreographer gets to decide what styles of dance they will fuse to make something new and specific to who they are. I can guarantee all three choreographers are creating with their signature styles, and that's exciting for the dancers who learning the works and quickly adapting.”

Butler is one of the most sought-after choreographers in the United States, and she has danced and choreographed for dozen of prestigious companies across the globe. Keigwin is the founder of KEIGWIN + COMPANY, a contemporary dance company based in New York. He, too, has worked across the world, creating award-winning works, choreography for Broadway and more.

Jolicoeur-Nye is creating improvisational works that call for audience participation.

A ballet dancer in a grey top extends an arm overhead. We can see other dancers surrounded in the background.

Unboxed rehearsal

“I am relying on the audience to help me direct dancers, almost like improvisational theater,” he says. “Each time it is performed, it will be different, making the experience incredibly unique to audiences. They will witness a creation that may never be seen again.”

The weekend will be full of contemporary dance and creative exploration! Pay-what-you-can tickets are sold out for all three performances.


Courtney Connor Jones, principal, and Randolph Fernandez, Corps de Ballet. Photo: Jana Carson.

Oklahoma Contemporary: Photo: Ann Sherman.

Courtney Connor Jones, principal, and Randolph Fernandez, Corps de Ballet. Photo: Jana Carson.

Alfonso Pulé and The Groovement Community. Photo: Jana Carson.

Unboxed rehearsal. Photo courtesy the ballet.

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dance contemporary art performance performance art partnership ballet

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Wednesday 11 a.m. - 6 p.m.

Thursday 11 a.m. - 9 p.m.

Friday - Sunday 11 a.m. - 6 p.m.

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Visit us at 11 NW 11th St.
Oklahoma City, OK 73103
Phone: 405 951 0000
Fax: 405 951 0003

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

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