Tulsa Ballet’s very own black box theater, “Studio K,” will vibrate to a pop beat this April when the company debuts its “Pop Culture” program. The evening will feature premieres by Young Soon Hue, company dancer Ma Cong and Edwaard Liang—all set to chart-topping tunes.
“When Marcello asked me to be a part of this program, at first I was a little reticent because I’m not familiar with choreographing ballets to anything but classical music, really,” Liang says. But then he remembered how much he liked the songs of pop star Rufus Wainright. “I admire him because he incorporates classical themes and elements into modern-sounding songs,” Liang says. “I wanted to try that out.”
What else inspired Liang’s piece? “It’s about life and love in a big city,” he says. “Rufus sings a lot about New York City and about love, rejection and wanting to find the ideal person. But I wanted to keep it abstract, so it won’t be quite that literal.”
Liang thinks that experimenting with pop music is a smart way to reel in younger balletgoers. “It changes things up a bit, and makes the dancing seem more approachable,” he says. “Hopefully it will bring in new audiences for Tulsa Ballet, and maybe even for dance itself.”