Dance Maker Performing Arts Academy to Open in Pawhuska

By: Roseanne McKee

Inspired by the success of “Wahzhazhe: An Osage Ballet,” which was well received by local audiences and at the Smithsonian in Washington D.C., Randy Tinker Smith is finalizing plans to make the Dance Maker Performing Arts Academy in Pawhuska a reality starting in April.

Many young people have dreamed of following in the footsteps of famous Osage ballerinas, Maria and Marjorie Tallchief, by becoming ballet dancers themselves. The Dance Maker Performing Arts Academy will help them achieve that dream.

The academy will be located in the building, which previously housed the Senior Center, just south of the Pawhuska Police Department at 200 Palmer Avenue.

The academy will be operated on a non-profit basis, and so the cost of classes will be kept to a minimum, Smith said. The academy will operate under and accept donations through the Arts and Humanities Council of Tulsa, which is a non-profit organization.

Describing her vision, Director Randy Tinker Smith said she is opening the Dance Maker Performing Arts Academy to offer opportunities for arts education not only to Osage students, but to the entire community. Ballet, modern and jazz dance classes will be available to students of all ages and all levels of expertise.

“As we grow, we plan to add classes in drama, musical theater, stage craft and costume making,” she added.

Smith has applied for grants and some donations have already been received. “We have already received a $10,000.00 donation from a private donor and were recently awarded a matching grant for $7,000.00 from the Kerr Foundation,” Randy Tinker Smith said.

However, for the non-profit Dance Maker Performing Arts Academy to begin classes, additional items need to be purchased and installed. Ballet Barres, mirrors and sprung dance floors are among their top needs.

Jenna Smith, who choreographed “Wahzhazhe”, will be the Academy’s Director of Dance. She attended the University of North Carolina School of the Arts her freshman year of college following nationwide auditions. Smith was one of only eight students accepted to their ballet program that year.

Jenna Smith received her Bachelor of Science degree in dance performance from Oral Roberts University in 2011. In 2012, Jenna Smith choreographed “Wahzhazhe: An Osage Ballet.”

Wahzhazhe: an Osage Ballet,” premiered in Tulsa and Bartlesville that same year. As a result of the ballet’s success, they were invited to perform at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C. to sold-out crowds in March 2013.

“The ballet has 50 cast and crew members representing eight tribes. Because of the great success of this ballet, the interest in ballet is very high in Pawhuska.  With this great group of talented artists, we will be able to offer arts education in many different mediums to people of Pawhuska and the surrounding communities at our school of the arts,” Randy Tinker Smith said.

To make a donation, mail a check to Arts and Humanities Council of Tulsa: 101 E. Archer St., Tulsa, OK 74103.

To sign up for a class call Randy Tinker Smith at 918-704-4668, e-mail her at Also, visit their Facebook page Osage Ballet for upcoming announcements and class schedules.


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