Dance Maker Performing Arts Academy will hold performances on May 4 and 5

Dance Maker to perform Sleeping Beauty
The Dance Maker Performing Arts Academy will perform Sleeping Beauty on May 4-5. Courtesy: Ashley Mangus

Dance Maker Performing Arts Academy will be performing variations from The Sleeping Beauty on May 4 and 5 at their fourth annual Spring Performance at the Constantine Theater on Main Street in Pawhuska. The tickets for the performances at 7 p.m. are $5 for adults and two dollars for children.

The Pawhuska community has embraced the Academy from its inception. Dance Maker’s premier spring performance in 2015 attracted over 600 guests to a standing room only premier. With the help of the local community, Dance Maker was able to produce their first Nutcracker Ballet in December 2017.

Dance Maker’s Director of Dance, Jenna Smith, is a graduate of Oral Roberts University dance program. She has been teaching dance since 2010 at schools including Tulsa Ballet and Jasinski Academy and is choreographer of Wahzhazhe, a ballet that tells part of the rich Osage history. In 2016, Jenna received the prestigious Dreamstarter grant from Running Strong for American Indian Youth and continues to pursue her dream of taking dance into the public schools. She has been awarded a second grant from Running Strong in 2017 so that she is able to continue this work.

Dance Maker opened with 44 students in 2014. Today, Jenna teaches 78 students and has expanded to three studios with three dance teachers, plus yoga and pilates instructors. Local Pawhuska schools organized field trips so that approximately 900 students were able to watch The Nutcracker Ballet and experience performing arts. A lesson plan was written by local Pawhuskan, Marlene Mosley, and sent to the local schools. It included lessons on ballet etiquette and the Nutcracker story so that the students would know what to expect. There were 65 students in the Nutcracker which attracted families, schools and community members. The children exemplified Miss Smith’s vision of expanding the performing arts on the prairie. The community was captivated by the costumes, backdrops, and music as the children performed the ballet.

Dance Maker students would not have this opportunity without the moral support and scholarship donations from the community. Sixty percent of the students are on scholarship and are flourishing and realizing dreams that some didn’t even know they had.

Some scholarship donors include: Osage Nation Foundation, Pawhuska Community Foundation, Running Strong for American Indian Youth, Jerry and Marlene Mosley, Will and Anne Baker, Jr., Jinx Geurin, Randy and Randy Smith, Robi Black, Carolyn Mock, Dr. Moira Red Corn and Cheryl Potts. Where talent meets opportunity and the diligent are being properly trained, children are learning the importance of giving back to a community.

Dance Maker is a nonprofit organization that perpetuates the essence of community service as the school promotes students through benevolent contributions. Students are currently in need of more donors to assist with scholarships. Donations can be made through the website by choosing the “support” tab and clicking on the “donation” button below or mail to Dance Maker, 400 Palmer Avenue, Pawhuska, OK 74056. Please make checks out to Art Maker and you will receive a tax deduction. Donors can also contact the studio at (918) 704-4668.

— Dena Cosby, for Dance Maker Performing Arts Academy