What happens spending a couple of hours on the Great Lawn, at the Giant Clamshell stage, designated the Children’s Stage for the 2015 Oklahoma City Festival of the Arts 2015.
Various and sundry greater OKC groups took the stage on Saturday morning. Prairie Dance Theatre hosted youth from at least 4 schools in the Moore/Norman area and some kids from OKCPS.
These were grade school aged kids, who were very high energy. A technique employed with this group pervasively was that the youth had been asked to record stories on subjects, These brief stories were then used by the dance instructors to develop a number.
So the two below numbers began with the child’s voice illustrating what would come. One girl explained that her favorite dance was from the Quinceanera , and was a cotillion style formal dance. Another told a story of kids in a class who never listened to their teacher teaching until the teacher taught them about the Blues. This dance had a humorous call and response aspect to it, initially with the kids sassing or ignoring the teacher and then with them all cooperatively moving together.
Ballet Folklorico featured dances from various states of Mexico. These were announced as Jalisco, Chihuahua, Michoacan, Vera Cruz, Durango and 2 others. These dances illustrated particular activities from various locations throughout Mexico, and in that provided stories or something known in that district as a resource or connecting theme. The announcer identified that the influences of the Spanish, the German, the Slave Trade and the Mexican Tribal histories contributed to these memorable dances.
This is an all ages group, who is very formally trained, and presents as highly professional. Many dancers arrived with garmet bags, including multiple costume changes.
Each outfit is handmade, and for women includes elaborately designed knee or floor length gowns with heavily ribbon embellished or embroidered full skirts, shawls and multiple petticoats, ruffled or embroidered pantaloons or pantalettes. Since female skirts swirl up or are held up, having this undergarmet style and coverage is necessary. Hair styles to fit regional costumes included beribboned switches or buns applied and changed with costumes, hats and possibly hand held fans or other props. A couple of these went into orbit, but never stopped the performer, nor the performance.
Males wore hats, serapes and heeled boots with taps, typically dancing without incident to their props.
Both groups dance instructors did participate in the dancing. And one soloist sang traditional Mexican songs during the Folklorico set.
Both groups are repeat performers at the Oklahoma City Festival of the Arts, and both had a large entourage to cheer them on.
For other photos here, note the joy amongst those on the Great Lawn of the Myriad Gardens.
Be warned, that the Great Lawn functions a little like the poppies in The Wizard of Oz, kids touch the lawn and proceed to fall down. Fall DOWN. They also, inabashedly run, poke, roll, do cartwheels, summersaults and get up random games of freeze tag and tag, leapfrog and nap. Just saying.