Oklahoma Roses a tourist’s companion romance

The book, “Oklahoma Roses, a tourist’s companion romance”, a 350-page, Christian romance novel set in the present day, which takes place in Hominy and the surrounding area, is available for purchase at Cha’ Tullis Gallery on Main St. and The Frederick Drummond Home on Price Ave. in Hominy for $15.24 (tax included).

The book contains scenes in historic downtown Pawhuska at the Constantine Theater and Bad Brad’s Barbecue.

In Hominy scenes take place at The Drummond Home, the Mexican Restaurant in the Train Depot, the Cha’ Tullis Gallery, the Marland Station, Hominy City Council and Vintage Treasures. There are also many other scenes that take place throughout Osage and Washington Counties at spots locals love and tourists will enjoy.

The book is sold in Pawhuska at: Sister’s Attic, Krazy Kow, The Funky Pearl, and Hair Razors. The Osage County Historical Society Museum has signed copies for sale.

The book is sold in Bartlesville at Moxie on 2nd, Price Tower Gift Shop, and in Dewey at The Vintage Loft.

The book is also available for purchase on Kindle at Amazon’s website or by mail to Roseanne McKee, PO Box 1273, Pawhuska, OK 74056 for $18.57 with tax and shipping included.

Here is a sneak peak (chapter one):

Noelle Sanders, a willowy blonde with straight, shoulder-length hair and blue eyes, walked quickly to her car as the Oklahoma wind rustled autumn leaves at her feet. She drew her red scarf closer with one hand and searched in her coat pocket for her keys with the other.

It was a Wednesday and Noelle headed west to the convenience store for a late afternoon cappuccino to warm her up – a midweek treat.

She was just placing the lid on the takeout cup when she heard a voice behind her.

“Noelle, how are you?”

She whirled around and saw his handsome smile. She recognized him from her high school days. It was Taylor Nolan. All six feet of him in a business suit that couldn’t hide the muscles from hours at the gym. Noelle drew a breath of expensive cologne as he moved closer.

“Doing well. What brings you back to town? I heard you’d moved to Houston.”

“I did, but I just took a new position at Drent Oil and they wanted me to be here. It’s closer to family, so I’m good with that.”

“Well, congratulations,” Noelle said with a smile.

“We should get together. What’s your number?” Taylor asked as he readied his cell phone for the number as if it were a foregone conclusion that she’d agree.

Internally, she paused, but he didn’t notice.

She gave him her number.

“I’ll call you soon,” he said and touched her elbow.

Noelle made her way to the checkout as Taylor disappeared into another part of the store.

What had she just done? She was already interested in Grayson, the handsome, dark haired cowboy with green eyes, whom she had met recently. True, they had not yet gone out on their first date, but it was scheduled for Saturday.

She drove home on automatic pilot.

As Noelle turned onto her street, her mind shifted. What did she have in the fridge? She made a mental checklist: romaine, tomatoes, feta, olives. Greek salad with her homemade vinaigrette sounded perfect after a long day of serving customers at the credit union.

She  laid down her purse, keys and cappuccino on the foyer table, slid off her coat and scarf, hung them on one of the rows of wooden pegs along the foyer wall and headed to the living room where she lit the fireplace. She loved the high stone fireplace exterior and rough-cut wood mantel. This fireplace was something she loved about the house she had inherited from her grandmother.

She knew it was early in the season to be using the fireplace, but she hadn’t adjusted to the sudden temperature change that was typical of Oklahoma weather on the open plains.

After warming up, she returned to the foyer for her cappuccino, which she finished as she thought about the events of the day. Her contemplation was interrupted by a text from her Aunt Julie asking if they were still on for lunch on Saturday. She texted back that they were, and that noon would be fine.

She turned her attention to making the Greek salad. The salad was soon ready, and she sat at the wooden kitchen table, said grace and began pouring her delicious, home-made red wine vinaigrette on the salad. Still her favorite, the secret ingredient was a spoonful of spicy horseradish mustard.

After putting the dishes in the dishwasher, Noelle studied the kitchen calendar, which held all of her appointments. Her date with Grayson was handwritten on the calendar for Saturday night at 7 p.m. They were to meet at a local downtown restaurant, Frank & Lola’s.

Should she tell him about Taylor? If Taylor didn’t call, she wouldn’t need to… but what if he did call. Noelle had never dated two men at once. How would that work, she wondered?

Just a friendly date — what’s wrong with dating both of them? She didn’t have an easy answer.

The house was warmer, so Noelle turned off the fireplace and headed to the bedroom where she changed into workout clothes, got out her exercise mat and started the VCR. After her strength and stretching work-out, she always felt revived.

Time for some herbal tea and a few chapters of the novel she was reading. Old fashioned, she preferred reading from an actual book rather than an electronic device.

After a couple of hours, she took a shower, got into her cornflower cotton pajamas and drifted easily to sleep in her antique cherry sleigh bed under the patchwork quilt made by her late grandmother Ruth.

The next morning on her way to work, Noelle found herself thinking of Grayson Whelan, the handsome cowboy who she had met recently at the annual Cow thieves and Outlaws Reunion dinner at the estate of the deceased oil tycoon, Frank Phillips, who was largely responsible for putting Bartlesville on the map. The estate, just outside of the city, named Woolaroc, had become a museum and wildlife preserve. Each fall since 1927, Woolaroc had hosted a party on the shores of Clyde Lake for cowboys, socialites, thieves, bankers, and lawmen.

Noelle was a loan officer at the local credit union and so she was lucky enough to be offered one of the coveted tickets to the event. Grayson introduced himself during the cocktail hour and they soon struck up a conversation.

What she learned was that he was the owner of Whelan Ranch near the city of Hominy in Osage County. Grayson had been educated at Delaware Valley University in Pennsylvania and had earned a B.A. in History.

“You didn’t study ranch management or agriculture?” Noelle asked.

“No, my dad taught me that and I’d always wanted to study world history,” Grayson explained. “I figured I’d settle here, but I wanted a bigger world view, you know? I try to save up and go somewhere I haven’t been about every other year.”

“Where have you been?”

“Well, my family is part Irish, so I started with Ireland, Northern Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales. We’re also Native American and that’s why I decided to go to Pennsylvania to college. That’s where my mom’s tribe, which is Lenape or Delaware, is from. The Delaware lived in the region that is now the Delaware Valley in Pennsylvania and in the state of Delaware before they were forced out and settled in Oklahoma.”

“That is really interesting. It’s meaningful to know your ancestry, isn’t it?”

“Definitely. Have you traveled?”

“No, my family used their extra money to send me to college, and didn’t travel until they moved to Vail, Colorado, because of my mom’s allergies.”

“Where would you go if you could?” he asked.

Noelle thought for a moment and said, “I think the Scandinavian countries would be interesting to visit, Norway, Sweden.” She paused, “I’m of Norwegian descent, so it would be fun to see where my ancestors came from. Like you did.”

“That makes sense. Travelling to those places definitely added a new dimension to my life,” Grayson replied looking across the evening landscape as if he were picturing Ireland.

A band started and Grayson asked, “Would you like to dance?”

“As long as you understand that I’m not that good at two-stepping, sure,” Noelle said, feeling bold.

Grayson took her hand and led her to the outdoor dance floor. Soon they were laughing and two-stepping to the fiddle of a local country band.

“You’re better than you think,” Grayson whispered to her.

Noelle smiled to herself remembering the moment.

It had been a good first meeting and she had said, yes, without hesitation when he had asked if they could go out sometime.

With Grayson in the picture, it really didn’t make sense to go out with Taylor. But, in her many discussions with Aunt Julie, she had always been advised to play the field before making a decision. So, she reasoned that it only made sense to get to know both men better before limiting herself to just one of them.

Dance Maker Announces OKC Ballet Dancers to Instruct at their Summer Intensive Ballet Camp

Re-published with permission of the Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise

By: Roseanne McKee

Dance Maker Performing Arts Academy has announced that principal dancer, Miki Kawamura, and soloist, Walker Martin, from the Oklahoma City Ballet are among the instructors at their summer intensive ballet camp sponsored by the Osage Nation Foundation to be held July 23 – Aug. 3 from 12 – 6:15 p.m.

Both dancers were lead performers in past a production of Wahzhazhe: an Osage Ballet, in Santa Fe, N.M. and they have generously agreed to give their time to elevate ballet in the rural town of Pawhuska.

I recall the first time I met Randy Tinker Smith in 2011 at the Osage Nation Museum. She told me that she had a vision for telling the story of the Osage through a ballet. I was impressed when just a year later, her dream became a reality!

I’d like to share a bit about the two organizations that foster dance in the Osage, both of which she directs.

Dance Maker Performing Arts Academy, located in Pawhuska, was established in 2014 by Jenna Smith, the studio’s Director of Dance, and Randy Tinker Smith, the Administrative Director.

Jenna Smith’s decision to establish Dance Maker stemmed from her desire to continue the legacy of ballet among the Osage begun by America’s first prima ballerina, Maria Tallchief, who hailed from Fairfax, Okla.

“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,” Jenna Smith explained.

Like the Tallchief sisters, Jenna is Osage. Jenna is descended from Clarence Leonard Tinker, the first American Indian in U.S. Army history to attain the rank of major general, for whom Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma City is named.

Jenna Smith earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Oral Roberts University, and after graduation, joined the Osage Ballet, founded by her mother, Randy Tinker Smith, in 2012 to share the story of the Osage people through the artistic medium of ballet.

Randy Tinker Smith already had the storyline and the musical score for the ballet, but she had not chosen a choreographer because of budget constraints.

“The truth is I didn’t have money to pay the person who was supposed to choreograph it,” she confided.

Randy Smith met with dozens of Osage elders to ask permission to tell our story and then find out what I was allowed to use.

“Over the course of that year, I would relate to Jenna everything that I was learning from these particular elders and began weaving the final storyline together. Jenna’s plans were to stay involved in classical ballet at the time and she did not have time to help me with the Osage Ballet. But she couldn’t help but begin to picture the stories I was telling her and seeing them in a ballet. We are happy that even if it was by accident, we ended up having an Osage choreographer,” Randy Smith explained.

Audiences have embraced their efforts, and Wahzhazhe: an Osage Ballet, has been performed most notably at: the Tulsa Performing Arts Center, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C., the Lensic Theatre in Santa Fe, N.M., the International Festival of Families in Philadelphia, Pa., and the Leach Theatre in Rolla, Mo.

Wahzhazhe is the actual name of the Osage people, which was mispronounced by Europeans when they saw the French spelling of a “W” which is “Ou”.

Wahzhazhe: an Osage Ballet, traces the history of the Osage people, beginning at a time before they encountered Spanish, French and other European explorers.

“The ballet depicts the Osage people as what some early diaries described as the happiest people in the world. Everything they did had order and everyone contributed in their daily living by way of a clan system,” Randy Smith said.

“When Europeans began to arrive, the Osage began trading with the French. But the Osage were in the way of economic drive of the Europeans to accumulate land, metal and fur. Treaties were made and broken as the Osages were moved westward numerous times until they finally bought their own reservation which is now Osage County.”

The ballet also features a “roaring 20’s scene” when after striking it rich as Osage Minerals Estate shareholders, the Osage people became the richest people on earth per capita.

“The local population swelled to the tens of thousands as people moved in to grab a part of the wealth. Greed ran rampant among the invasion as the Osages were once again pushed aside and murders were committed in an attempt to collect insurance money or to gain control of the valuable oil properties,” Randy Smith said.

“Osages honor our soldiers. An entire scene in the ballet is dedicated to these courageous warriors,” she added.

The ballet concludes with an Osage dressed in a business suit wearing moccasins. As he walks across the stage he hears an Osage drum and begins dancing in the traditional Osage style, to convey that today the Osage “walk in two worlds.”

Maria Tallchief became the first prima ballerina of the New York City Ballet (NYCB) in 1947, a title which she held for the next 13 years. In 1947 Tallchief also became the first American to dance with the Paris Opera Ballet.
Maria’s sister, Marjorie Tallchief, also left her mark in ballet history, becoming the first American to assume the role of principal dancer of the Paris Opera.

In 1946 Tallchief married the famed choreographer George Balanchine. Although they separated in 1951, Balanchine created a ballet entitled Firebird to showcase Tallchief’s talent at the New York City Ballet.

One Osage elder has said, “Elizabeth Maria Tallchief, who was born in Fairfax, Oklahoma, in 1925, will always have a special place in Osage history and in the hearts of the Osage people. Her great talent as a prima ballerina transformed and elevated in stature the ballets in which she performed and touched audiences throughout the United States and Europe. Her life will always stand as a shining beacon for Osage young people of how dedication to one’s God-given talents can be translated into great artistic achievement.”

Maria Tallchief’s performance of the Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker is credited by many as having established the ballet as a Christmas classic.

In December 2017, Dance Maker held its first performance of The Nutcracker to a sold-out audience at the Constantine Theater in Pawhuska, a ballet which they endeavor to produce annually Jenna Smith said.

Dance Maker’s ballet camp at 400 Palmer Ave. in Pawhuska, will include instruction by two Oklahoma City Ballet dancers. Principal dancer Miki Kawamura and Soloist Walker Martin, will teach: ballet, pointe and partnering on July 30 – Aug. 3.

According to Randy Tinker Smith, tuition is $290 and many scholarships are available through the Osage Nation Foundation. All students wishing to learn are encouraged to attend. Dance Maker serves the whole community – not just Osage students!

For students seeking other dance instruction, the Dance Maker Summer Camp will also provide instruction in: jazz, hip hop and tap.

Contact Dance Maker to learn more at: 918-704-4668, at their website: http://wwwdancemaker.net or via e-mail at dancemakeracademy@gmail.com.

Photo Courtesy of Geneva HorseChief-Hamilton

Nutcracker Comes to the Osage

By: Roseanne McKee

Dance Maker Performing Arts Academy will bring “The Nutcracker” ballet to the historic Constantine Theatre at 110 W. Main St. in Pawhuska on Dec. 9 at 7 p.m. Tickets are available in advance at Dance Maker’s Boutique at the Ole’ #1 Firehouse on Main St., located next door to the Constantine. The Boutique is open 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Mon. – Sat.

Advance tickets for adults are $15 each and $8 for students. A family ticket is available for $45, which includes two adults and three children.

“Bringing the Nutcracker to the Osage is especially meaningful because of its connection to the late prima ballerina, Maria Tallchief, who was Osage and hailed from Fairfax in Osage County,” said Dance Maker’s Artistic Director Jenna Smith.

In 1954, Tallchief, a member of the New York City Ballet, was cast in the lead role of the Sugar Plum Fairy.

One ballet critic, Walter Terry, writing at the time said, “Maria Tallchief, as the Sugar Plum Fairy, is herself a creature of magic, dancing the seemingly impossible with effortless beauty of movement, electrifying us with her brilliance, enchanting us with her radiance of being.”

“Tallchief’s interpretation of the role paved the way for the ‘Nutcracker’ ballet to become an American ballet tradition during the Christmas season,” Smith said. “We are pleased that Osages are among those who will be performing in the Nutcracker, including lead dancer, Amity Bevard, from Hominy.”

Nutcracker Ballet coming to Pawhuska this Christmas Season

By: Roseanne McKee

The Dance Maker Performing Arts Academy will host an elegant evening of hor d’oeuvres and dessert at 7 p.m. on Oct. 21, at the Elks Lodge in Pawhuska to preview plans to produce the Nutcracker Ballet at Pawhuska’s Constantine Theatre on Dec. 9 at 7 p.m. For reservations to the catered event, at no charge, call 918-607-3044. After-five attire is requested.

“The evening will be an opportunity for the community to learn more about the Academy and its partnership with the Osage Ballet to train the next generation of dancers in the tradition of the late Maria Tallchief, America’s first prima ballerina, an Osage member, who was born in nearby Farifax, Okla.,” said Osage Ballet Director Randy Tinker Smith.

The evening will include a short presentation by award-winning journalist, author and former manager of the Tulsa Ballet Theater, Connie Cronley. Catering will be provided by highly-esteemed chef, Brian Lookout of Ah Tha Tse Catering.

Although the evening is at no cost, attendees are encouraged to make their best donations to help support the Nutcracker Ballet production by Dance Maker Performing Arts Academy at the evening’s conclusion.

Another opportunity to support the Academy will be attendance at the Nutcracker Tea Party to be held Dec. 3 at the Short Community Center in Pawhuska from 2 – 4 p.m. This is a ticketed event costing $10 each. For reservations to this elegant afternoon of high tea and an opportunity for photos with the Nutcracker characters, call 918-607-3044. Tea sandwiches, a selection of teas and sweet treats will be served. “This is a wonderful event for the children your family,” said Dance Maker Academy Director, Jenna Smith.

The community may also support the upcoming Nutcracker performance by shopping at the Nutcracker Boutique at the Old Firehouse #1 Art Center on Main St. in Pawhuska. The gift boutique will be open from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Mon. – Sat. Nov. 1 – Dec. 23.

Tickets for the Nutcracker Ballet at the Constantine Dec. 9, will be $8 for students and $15 for adults.

“We thank our sponsors, Osage Casinos, Pawhuska Community Foundation, Osage Foundation, Blue Sky Bank, Jerry and Marlene Mosley, for helping us to continue the legacy of ballet in the Osage, and look forward to others joining our efforts,” Smith said.

Osage Ballet Performs and Osage Family Sculpture Unveiled

By: Roseanne McKee

The Osage Ballet will hold a special, one-evening performance of Wahzhazhe, an Osage Ballet, on Sept. 8 at the Leach Theatre in Rolla, Mo., at 7:30 p.m.

The Leach Theatre, where the Osage Ballet will perform on the evening of Sept. 8, is located at 400 W. 10th Street, 103 Castleman Hall in Rolla, Mo. For tickets, contact the box office at 573-341-4219 or leach@mst.edu.

This ballet derives its name from the actual name of the Osage people in their language – Wahzhazhe. French explorers befriended the Osage and when writing about them in their language “w” is written as “ou.” However, when the English read French texts, they mispronounced Wahzhazhe as Osage, Director Randy Tinker Smith said.

Wahzhazhe, an Osage Ballet shares of the story of the Osage people through the artistic medium of ballet in the tradition of the late Osage prima ballerina Maria Tallchief, and her sister, ballerina Marjorie Tallchief.

The following day, Sept. 9, at 10:30 a.m., Osage Nation Principal Chief Geoffrey StandingBear, members of the Osage Ballet company, and the greater community, will gather for the unveiling of a bronze sculpture of an Osage family, at the intersection of State Hwy. 19 and Interstate I-44, in Cuba, Mo.

The sculpture, a project of the City of Cuba, Mo., celebrates the history and legacy of the Osage Nation. The project was overseen by Cuba artist, Glen Tutterrow, and features an Osage warrior in period-specific dress followed on the trail by his family.

According to Osage Ballet Director, Randy Tinker Smith, this sculpture is the first monument to the Osage people in the state of Missouri. The sculpture depicts an Osage family traveling westward along the Osage Trail.

After numerous removals, the Osage people purchased land in Northeast Oklahoma, where many Osage still reside, known as the Osage Reservation, sharing the same geographical boundaries as Osage County, Smith said.

The bronze sculpture will stand 35 feet tall, 20 feet wide, and 80 feet in length. The sculpture is designed to work with the contours of the site. There are plans to include working water features, native plant landscaping and lighting for evening viewing opportunities. The 35-foot height will allow interstate drivers to see the sculpture from the city limit boundaries, from both east and west.

Since 2012, the Osage Ballet, organized as a non-profit 501(c)3 organization, has performed Wahzhazhe, an Osage Ballet, at prestigious venues such as the Tulsa Performing Arts Center, The Smithsonian Institute’s National Museum of the American Indian, the International Festival of Families in Philadelphia during the Pope’s visit to the U.S., the Coleman Theater in Miami, Okla., and most recently at the Lensic Theater in Santa Fe.

To learn more about the Osage Ballet, or to make a donation, visit their website: http://www.osageballet.com and watch for posts on the Osage Ballet Facebook page.

On the eve of their Departure for Santa Fe, Osage Ballet Principal Dancers Gather at The Mabelle B&B in Pawhuska

(L-R) Richard Walters (seated), OKC Ballet, Zoe Marnello-Kohn, San Fransisco Ballet (seated), Milena Garcia, OKC Ballet, Walter Gutierrez, Miki Kawamura, OKC Ballet (seated), Kayla Banks, Cathy Ross, Osage Ballet Choreographer Jenna Smith, Katherine Boatwright, Ballet Nebraska, Toleu Mukanov (seated), Walter Martin and Randy Crespo.

(L-R) Richard Walters (seated), OKC Ballet, Zoe Marnello-Kohn, San Fransisco Ballet (seated), Milena Garcia, OKC Ballet, Walter Gutierrez, Miki Kawamura, OKC Ballet (seated), Kayla Banks, Cathy Ross, Osage Ballet Choreographer Jenna Smith, Katherine Boatwright, Ballet Nebraska, Toleu Mukanov (seated), Walter Martin and Randy Crespo.

Photos and Article by: Roseanne McKee

On Aug. 2, the evening before departing for Santa Fe for their Aug. 6 performances at the Lensic Performing Arts Center via tour bus, Osage Ballet Director, Randy Tinker Smith, and her lead ballet dancers gathered at Cathy Ross’s home for dinner and a chance to meet some members of the community.

Debbie Reed, Pawhuska City Councilman Steve Holcombe, his wife Susie Holcombe, Osage Tribal Museum Curator Hallie Winter and Emily Haran were among those who attended.

(L-R) Susie Holcombe, Osage Ballet dancer Walter Gutierrez, Cathy Ross, owner of The Mabelle B&B, Osage Ballet Director Randy Tinker Smith, Debbie Reed, Emily Holcombe, tap instructor at Dance Maker Performing Arts Academy.

(L-R) Susie Holcombe, Osage Ballet dancer Walter Gutierrez, hostess Cathy Ross, Osage Ballet Director Randy Tinker Smith, Debbie Reed, Emily Haran, tap instructor at Dance Maker Performing Arts Academy.

When Director Randy Tinker Smith approached Cathy Ross with the idea of hosting a dinner for the Osage Ballet professional dancers, Ross answered with a resounding, “yes!”

Ross, who owns a bed and breakfast in Pawhuska called The Mabelle, said, “I’m a promoter of the arts and tourism and I entertain a lot here.” Ross is also a member of Preserving Arts in the Osage.

The evening provided an opportunity to hear from the dancers their emotional reactions to being a part of Wahzhazhe, an Osage Ballet, which tells the story of the Osage people through ballet. “Wahzhazhe” is the pronunciation of the word for the Osage people in their language.

Stage Manager Kayla Banks shared that during a run-through earlier that day, “I was crying today during the scene ‘Walking in Two Worlds,’ where the kids and the professionals dance together. That’s my favorite scene, because it reminds me of my younger self. I think people can relate to it regardless of if you’re Osage. I think people can relate to it looking back at their own heritage.”

Banks, who lives in Denver Colo., is a performing artist trained in ballet, modern dance and stage work. She is dating ballet choreographer Jenna Smith’s cousin and on their first date he mentioned the Osage Ballet. Later, he sent her a YouTube clip of the ballet dancing.

Banks described her reaction: “This is so cool! I’m Native American. I’m Comanche; my family lives down in Lawton, Okla., — that’s where our reservation and National Museum are. I had just learned about Maria Tallchief. You don’t hear about Native American ballerinas because ballet started in Europe. I’m also African American, so what Misty Copeland, an African American ballet dancer, is doing at ABT (American Ballet Theatre) is inspiring and what Maria Tallchief did. You realize that ballet’s not just for one skin color. It’s really universal – it’s everybody’s.

“Once I saw the ballet, the first thing I did was to send the clip to the Native American Cultural Center at Colorado State University and suggested that they place it in their archives and spread the word about the Osage Ballet.”

“Then we went to the family reunion in New Mexico and that’s where I met Randy,” Banks said. After learning of her stage management background, Smith, who needed a stage manager, asked Banks to fill that important position. She accepted and even recruited a friend of hers, Andrew McIntyre, to be on the lighting crew. “He’s already in Santa Fe, waiting for us,” she said.

Regarding her own dance career, Banks said, she is still in training, but she hopes to dance in the Osage Ballet one day herself.

Referring to Osage Ballet Choreographer Jenna Smith’s Dance Maker Performing Arts Academy in Pawhuska, Banks said, the school’s goal is to raise dancers to perform the ballet.

“I hope this will be a staple piece like the Nutcracker with other artistic pieces to follow,” Banks added.

“There have been so many ballets created but Wahzhazhe, an Osage Ballet, can be a staple because you bring it to communities that really appreciate it. Knowledge of it will continue to spread throughout the United States and the world. It will have a name for sure.”

Lead dancer Miki Kawamura, originally from Sapporo in the northern region of Japan shared how she became involved in the Osage Ballet. She danced for the Osage Ballet in Santa Fe with permission from the Oklahoma City Ballet.

“My best friend was going to do the ballet, and so I decided to join her for the opportunity to stay in shape over the summer and travel to Santa Fe; but then when it got closer to the time of rehearsal, my best friend decided she couldn’t do it. At that point, I’d already signed the contract….If I say I will do it, I will do it.”

Soon a DVD of the ballet arrived and Kawamura began learning the choreography, but at that point, she still did not fully grasp the emotional impact of her participation in the ballet.

“Then I came here and I met them, and saw how proud they are about the tribe and the ballet. Before I came here I had no idea. The tribe and the city have a lot of feelings toward this ballet. I’m really honored to be here.

“How many Japanese get to do this? I’m sure I’m the only one getting to do Native American ballet, so I’m glad I said yes.

“I’m glad I prepared and learned the ballet before I came. It’s not just a job or a gig. I want to give more….I want to express what it means to them.”

Describing the significance of her participation in the Osage Ballet, she said, “God moves people for His purposes. It shows me He is with me. He shows me why things happen.”

According to Director, Randy Smith, the Santa Fe performances on Aug. 6 at the Lensic PAC went well and were well attended.

Smith said: “We hope this will be the first of many trips to New Mexico and other regions to share Wahzhazhe, an Osage Ballet with a wider audience.”

To learn of upcoming performances of the Osage Ballet, visit their website at http://www.osageballet,com and visit their Facebook page.

The Osage Ballet operates under Art Maker. Donations may be sent to P. O. Box 1141, Skiatook, OK 74070.

Osage Ballet to hold Art Auction Feb. 27 in downtown Tulsa


Osage Ballet Press Release

With Interview by Journalist, Kathy Swan

With the resounding success of the Festival of Families performance for the Papal visit, the Osage Ballet has announced a fundraiser art auction to be held Feb 27 at Trinity Episcopal Church in Tulsa at 7 p.m., with proceeds going toward upcoming summer performances in Santa Fe and Bartlesville.

“As excited as we are about these performances,” said Ballet Director Randy Tinker Smith, “we realize it will be an expensive undertaking to travel with such a large cast, accompanying wardrobes, sets and music to these venues.”

A benefit art auction with donations from an array of talented artists, including many renowned American Indian artists, will take place at the historic Trinity Episcopal Church, located at 501 S. Cincinnati Ave. in downtown Tulsa. The art auction will feature original works of art, jewelry and clothing, including handmade, authentic Osage boots by artist Dell Bessie, Smith said.

According to Smith, some of the featured artists who have already committed to this event are Kilan Jacobs, Ken Foster, silversmith Bruce Carter, Burneta Venosdel and wildlife/nature artists Joni Johnson and Carolyn Mock.

Sponsorship, art and financial donations are still being accepted. Current sponsors, to date, for this event include the Osage Foundation, Charles Wickstrom, Michael and Bette Graves, and the Arts & Humanities Council of Tulsa.

For more information, visit http://www.osageballet.com, email: osageballet.gmail.com or call Randy Smith at 918-704-4668.

Osage Ballet Performs at Festival of Families

The Osage Ballet performed at the Festival of Families on Saturday evening around 7 p.m. at Logan Square. Pope Francis arrived at Logan Square at approximately the same time as the Osage Ballet’s performance.
According to Randy Tinker Smith, the Osage Ballet Director, the Pope appeared at Logan Circle Square approximately five minutes before the Osage Ballet began.

“Osages were setting their chairs around the drum as he rounded the corner. They were all on stage as the popemobile passed by the stage,” Smith said.

Smith said: “Osage staff recorded the Pope as he passed. As he traveled on Benjamin Franklin Parkway, around Logan Square, the audience members ran across the grassy hill to wave and catch a second glimpse. About one minute later, the Osage Ballet began their performance. As the audience members heard the drum start, they migrated quickly back to the stage with excitement. Some members even exclaimed ‘I hear a drum beating!’”

Smith said, “I felt that the timing of the Pope’s arrival just prior to the performance of the Osage Ballet, graced the Osages, blessing them as they went into performance of their opening scene praying to Wakonda (Creator).”

She described the scene: “We were on a lit stage above the crowd and we waved to the Pope,” Smith said.

“Pope Francis gave us a return wave and it was a very exciting moment. We then began the ‘Prayer’ scene from our ballet. With the first beat of our drum, a huge crowd of people left the road where they had lined up to see His Holiness, and began running to our stage. It was an amazing moment to experience on a global stage. Our performers were magnificent!”

Soon, the Pope took his place on the main stage.

“We were close enough to record his arrival. We were honored to be allowed this close access to the Pope and to be among the Festival of Families performers during the Pope’s visit to Philadelphia,” Smith added.

Smith hopes to share photos, and possibly video, when she returns to Oklahoma this week.

The dancers performed the prayer scene from Wahzhazhe, an Osage Ballet, accompanied by the drum and nine Osage singers. The group, traveling by charter bus, will begin their return trip Sun., Sept. 27, with plans to arrive in Pawhuska, Okla., Mon. evening, Sept. 28.

Visit the Osage Ballet Facebook page for photos from the performance and visit to Philadelphia.

Osage Ballet to Perform during Papal visit to Philadelphia

Osage Ballet Performs a scene from Wahzhazhe, an Osage Ballet

Osage Ballet Performs a scene from Wahzhazhe, an Osage Ballet

By: McKee PR Advertising & Design for the Osage Ballet

The prayer scene from Wahzhazhe an Osage Ballet, which tells the history of the Osage people through ballet, will be performed at the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia at the Festival of Families on Sept. 26 at Logan Square in Philadelphia, PA, to be attended by Pope Francis.

The Osage people have a long history with the Catholic Church first documented in 1673 when the Osages met Father Jacques Marquette, who visited them on the Osage River and visited several Osage villages, said Osage Ballet Director, Randy Tinker Smith. This interaction was followed by the arrival in America of Jesuit Priests, called “black robes” by the Osages, who evangelized to and converted some Osages to Catholicism.

In fact, Pawhuska, Okla., where the Osage Nation is headquartered, has the only Catholic Church in the world with stained glass windows depicting these Jesuit Priests meeting the Osage people and evangelizing to them. Osage families commissioned the stained glass windows to be made, which were created in Germany, hidden during World War I, and then shipped to the Immaculate Conception Church in Pawhuska, where they remain today, according to Parish Priest Father Sean Donovan. These stained glass windows, depicting Osages, required permission of the Pope.

Describing her decision to create and privately raise funds to produce the Osage Ballet, Smith said, “I sought to continue the legacy of two Osage women: the late Prima Ballerina Maria Tallchief, and her sister, Marjorie Tallchief. Following the path paved by them, by telling the story of the Osage people through ballet seemed natural.”

We are honored that Roman Jasinski, the son of Moscelyne Larkin, an accomplished Native American ballerina, of the Peoria and Shawnee tribes, will be one of the dancers to perform,” Smith said.

Wahzhazhe, an Osage Ballet, was first performed in Tulsa and Bartlesville, Okla. in Aug. 2012, to enthusiastic audiences. Because of the outstanding response to the Ballet, they were invited and performed at the Smithsonian Institute’s National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C. in March 2013.

According to their website http://www.usccb.org, the World Meeting of Families event will be held in Philadelphia from September 22 to 27 and Pope Francis will attend Sept. 26 and 27 with the following scheduled stops on Sept. 26: 10:30 a.m. — Mass at Cathedral Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul, located in Logan Square, in Philadelphia, 4:45 p.m. – a visit to Independence Mall, 7:30 p.m. — a visit to the Festival of Families at Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

The World Meeting of Families website http://www.worldmeeting2015.org, states that the event was begun by Saint Pope John Paul II in 1992 for the purpose of “strengthening the sacred bonds of the family unit across the globe.”

The event, which takes place every three years, creates an opportunity for families from all over the world to gather, and share their thoughts, dialogue and prayers. The purpose is to foster “working together to grow as individuals and family units,” the website says. Furthermore, “families can participate in discussion groups on the Christian family’s role in the church and society, led by many distinguished speakers.”

The event is free and open to the public. For more information about the Festival of Families, visit their website at: http://www.worldmeeting2015.org.

For information about the Osage Ballet’s performance at the festival, visit their website http://www.osageballet.com or follow the Osage Ballet on Facebook.

Osage Ballet to hold July performances in Skiatook and Miami


(L-R) Sean Steigerwald, Arthur Rocha, Sasha Kotelenets and Chad Jones. Photo by: Bill Riley

By: Roseanne McKee

“Wahzhazhe” an Osage Ballet will again grace the Oklahoma stage. The Osage Ballet will hold six July performances of “Wahzhazhe, an Osage Ballet,” at two Oklahoma venues — Miami and Skiatook.

Three performances will be held at the Skiatook High School: July 18, 19, at 7:30 p.m. and July, 20, at 2:30 p.m. at 1000 W. 4th St., Skiatook, Okla.

In addition, there will be three performances at the historic Coleman Theater in Miami, July 25, 26, at 7:30 p.m. and July 27, at 2:30 p.m. at 103 N. Main St., Miami, Okla.

The director, Randy Tinker Smith, made the decision to hold these summer performances following the warm reception by audiences in 2013 at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center, Bartlesville Community Center and the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C.

Smith said that the ballet “Wahzhazhe” tells the story of the Osage people from their first encounters with European visitors to the present day. Called the “Masters of the Battlefield” and sometimes referred to as the happiest people in the world, the Osage people monopolized trade because of their organization and order. Highlights of “Wahzhazhe” include: the Osage’s journey to Oklahoma territory, their wealth through the discovery of oil in the minerals estate, and the manner in which they now walk in two worlds.

The Osage Ballet operates under the Arts and Humanities Council of Tulsa, 101 E. Archer St., Tulsa, OK 74013, as a non-profit organization.

“We appreciate donations from the Osage Nation Foundation, Iron Hawk Energy Group and other area oil businesses,” Smith said. “These donations help us continue to bring the story of the Osage people to the Oklahoma stage.”

Tickets are available at to door for $10 for children and seniors and $12 for adults.

For more information, or to make a donation, contact the Osage Ballet at 918-704-4668 or via e-mail at osageballet@gmail.com.

Donations to the Osage Ballet may be mailed to: the Arts and Humanities Council of Tulsa at 101 E. Archer St., Tulsa, OK 74103.

Visit the Osage Ballet Facebook and the website at: http://www.osageballet.com for photos and updates.