By: Roseanne McKee
“Wahzhazhe” an Osage Ballet will be travelling to the New Mexico stage. The Osage Ballet will hold two performances on Aug. 6, at the Lensic Performing Arts Center in Santa Fe.
The director, Randy Tinker Smith, who grew up in Las Vegas, New Mexico, made the decision to hold these summer performances following the ballet’s warm reception by audiences in Tulsa at the Performing Arts Center, Bartlesville at the Community Center, the Smithsonian in Washington D.C. at the National Museum of the American Indian, and most recently in Sept. 2015, at the International Festival of Families in Philadelphia for the visit of His Holiness Pope Francis.
Wahzhazhe is the proper pronunciation of the name for the Osage people.
“Wahzhazhe” an Osage Ballet, tells the story of the Osage people from their first encounters with European visitors to the present day. The Osage, known as the “Masters of the Battlefield” and sometimes referred to as the happiest people in the world, monopolized trade because of their organizational gifts, Smith explained. Highlights of
“Wahzhazhe” include: the Osage’s journey to Oklahoma territory, the discovery of oil and their resulting wealth through the minerals estate, and the manner in which the Osage now walk in two cultures, Smith said.
The choreographer is classically trained ballerina, Jenna Smith. Jenna Smith and the ballet’s director, Randy Tinker Smith, are members of the Osage Nation and live in Osage County, Okla.
Jenna Smith owns and operates a performing arts academy in Osage County to train future generations of Osages in ballet.
“Teaching ballet as an art form in Osage County is my way of continuing the legacy begun by the late ballerina, Maria Tallchief, who was Osage,” Choreographer Jenna Smith said.
“We appreciate the donations from the Osage Nation, the Osage Nation Foundation, and many private donors,” Smith said. “These donations help us continue to bring the story of
the Osage people to the stage.”
The ballet features, Miki Kawamura, Principal Dancer for the Oklahoma City Ballet, performing by permission.
Tickets for the Aug. 6 performances at the Lensic Performing Arts Center in Santa Fe, at 2 and 7:30 p.m., are available at the door at a cost of $10 for children and students and $25 for adults.
Visit the Lensic PAC website at: http://www.lensic.org to purchase advance tickets.
The Osage Ballet operates under Art Maker. Donations may be sent to P. O. Box 1141, Skiatook, OK 74070.
For photos and updates, follow them on Facebook and via their website at: http://www.osageballet.com.