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Tulsa Ballet’s 2016/17 Season begins August 19 & 21  

with Tulsa Ballet II’s performance of On Your Radar

TULSA, Okla. – On Friday, August 19th at 7:00 p.m. and Sunday, August 21st at 3:00 p.m. Tulsa Ballet will celebrate the eleventh year of its second company, Tulsa Ballet II, with On Your Radar. The program features eleven talented young dancers from around the world on their way to stardom and will be composed of three pieces by renowned choreographers Natrea Blake, Norbert de la Cruz III, and Tulsa Ballet’s Resident Choreographer Ma Cong.

Tulsa Ballet Artistic Director Marcello Angelini says, “I always say that dance, like everything else on the planet, exists between tradition and innovation. If you innovate without understanding tradition, chances are your innovation will be superficial at best, and redundant at worst. If you focus on tradition and don’t innovate, dance, and life, becomes stale. With On Your Radar, Tulsa Ballet focuses on the next level of innovation.”

Tulsa Ballet recognizes the need to provide both a vehicle for young dance makers to take the next step in their career, as well as works to equip young dancers with the creative experiences they need to quickly bridge the gap between their academic studies and their professional careers. The interactive nature of creating new works is exactly the tool needed by both choreographer and dancer, as it allows them to mature as artists quickly and thoroughly.

This arrangement of commissioning works from young choreographers also places Tulsa Ballet on the exciting forefront of discovering the next star of choreography. Last season, Dallas-based choreographer Joshua L. Peugh worked so successfully with the dancers of Tulsa Ballet II restaging his popular work Slump, he was invited to return to Tulsa to create a new work for the main company!

On Your Radar inspires the next level of innovation in dance by pairing young, talented choreographers with eager, aspiring dancers. As they they mature, becoming the next generation of accomplished artists and dance makers, they ensure that the ephemeral art form of dance continues to exist for new audiences.  Says Angelini, “This is what this program is really all about, discovering and fostering talent in the various realms of our art form.”

Ma Cong – Tulsa Ballet Resident Choreographer

Ma Cong’s Calling, originally created for Houston Ballet II, is a modern piece for six dancers and will be making its Oklahoma premiere during On Your Radar. The work is set to the music of Goran Bregovic, a Yugoslav musician of Serbian and Croatian decent whose music and life inspired the piece. Further inspiration came from the music of Kroke, a Polish musical group. The passionate voice in the Mediterranean music lends itself to the playful and energetic movement of the piece, which is filled with delicate partnering.

Ma Cong was named one of “25 to watch” by Dance Magazine and continues to be in demand worldwide for his choreographic creations. He is currently creating a new ballet for both Tulsa Ballet and Cincinnati Ballet. He recently developed a full-length ballet for the National Ballet of China. He has created more than 10 separate works with Tulsa Ballet over the years. Through this special relationship, Ma Cong says he is able to imagine which particular dancer is suitable for various parts of the pieces. “Every one of the performers are very hard workers, very positive and know my style.” Which he says makes continuing to work with the Tulsa Ballet a truly “stunning process.”

Natrea Blake – Choreographer

Natrea Blake’s creation Vivir al Dia originally premiered with Tulsa Ballet II in 2013. The work features large ensemble work silhouetted by a bold purple and green background. She says, “This has been a refreshing creative process for me. I did not do this all alone. It is the inspiration between the dancers and myself that made this work possible. There is a marriage between the choreographer and the dancers. The coming together of the two is what makes the thoughts and ideas a reality.”

Natrea was born and raised in New York City. She received her B.F.A in dance from The Juilliard School and graduated from the world famous High School for the Performing Arts (The Fame School). She also trained at Bernice Johnson, The Ailey School, Ballet Hispanico, and Peridance. Natrea has taught Contemporary, Modern, and Jazz at many artistic institutions such as: Broadway Dance Center (NYC), The Ailey School, Earl Mosley Institute for the Arts, Harbor Conservatory for the performing Arts, Dance Cavise, Tulsa Ballet, and The Broadway Experience (NYC). Natrea is also an accomplished commercial and Hip Hop dancer who recently assisted Darrell Grand Moultrie on Beyonce’s Mrs. Carter Tour (2013). She most recently opened her own school, The L.N.D Studio for the Arts in Westbury NY, which runs throughout the school year.

Norbert de la Cruz III – Choreographer

Norbert de la Cruz III’s brand new creation Flora Fauna, explores the initial undomesticated movements and cognitive habits of specific wild animals and the uncultivated growth and unpredictable development of seeded information. Norbert says, “I hope that our Tulsa arts community brings with them a sense of youthful energy and that they are reminded that it is never too late to dream big and to hope for more in a world that has seemingly become wild and untamed.”

Fairfax News claimed the Julliard graduate, “Norbert De La Cruz III is a choreographic voice that is not going to fade away… Classical bones and a contemporary sensibility.” Mr. Angelini adds, “Norbert is a true choreographic talent, one that has already accomplished so much in spite of his young age.  He has the vision and creativity to make beautiful dances, yet he is gifted with the discipline and maturity needed to transform talent into achievement. It’s a win-win for all involved, from the dancers to the audience to the organization as a whole.”

About TBII

The 2016/17 Season will mark the third year Tulsa Ballet II performs a stand-alone mini-season, separate from the main company. Tulsa Ballet II was founded in 2005 as a paid program designed to provide a bridge between the student phase of an aspiring classical ballet dancer and the professional career.  TBII dancers receive a monthly stipend to help offset living expenses.  Through an international audition search, the most talented and committed young men and women are invited to Tulsa to refine their artistic and technical skills by working on their own and alongside the professional company.  This is accomplished through performances of repertoire ranging from pure classical ballets to the cutting edge of contemporary works.  Tulsa Ballet II provides new dancers for the main company each year, and has promoted more than a dozen dancers since 2010. Of the TBII program Artistic Director Marcello Angelini says, “As it usually happens here at Tulsa Ballet, a small experiment has become a large, exciting and largely promising project. What was then a small experiment, our Pre-Professional Ensemble or TBII, is now one of the most stimulating undertakings of our organization”

Tulsa Ballet II offers its members multiple additional performance opportunities throughout the year, including their own mini-season with two triple-bill shows, education outreach performances (Backstage at the Ballet) which includes a partnership with Any Given Child-Tulsa, as well as providing support to Tulsa Ballet’s Main Company performances at the discretion of the Artistic Director Marcello Angelini. He says, “Our goal from the very beginning was to create a program that would afford young, talented dancers the tools to bridge the gap between the academic studies of ballet and the expectations of a professional career. The tools we gave them were the opportunity to supplement the ranks of the main company for the large scale works of our seasons, dancing side by side with the seasoned pros; the chance to dance their own performances, working with their own choreographers; and the opportunity to perform just as much as the main company, through their own season and educational programs. Ten years later, dozens of graduates from this program are dancing professionally in our company and in other professional groups across the country and the world. Mission accomplished!”


Simone Acri, Japan. Previously with The Royal Ballet School.

TyLeigh Baughman, Sand Springs, OK. Previously with Tulsa Ballet Center for Dance Education

Grace Choi, Seoul, South Korea. Previously with San Francisco Ballet.

Maria Coelho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Previously with American Ballet Theater.

Caroline Dougherty, Washington D.C. Previously with San Francisco Ballet School

Mario Gaglione, Portico De Caserta, Italy. Previously with English National Ballet

Taiyu He, Hengyang City, China. Previously with Joffrey Ballet.

Tomoka Kawazoe, Tokyo, Japan. Previously with Vaganova Ballet Academy

Vinicius Silva, Brazil, John Cranko Schule. Previously with Stuttgart, Germany.

Lenin Valladeras, Guatemala City, Guatemala. Previously with San Francisco Ballet School.

Sylvia Zhu, Tulsa, OK. Previously with Tulsa Ballet Center for Dance Education.


Tickets for On Your Radar start at just $25. For tickets call (918) 749-6006 or visit www.tulsaballet.org. Single tickets go on sale August 1, 2016. Save $20 by purchasing a TBII mini-series subscription to both On Your Radar (August 19 & 21, 2016) and Emerging Choreographers Showcase (April 21 & 23, 2017)!

On Your Radar, a triple bill ballet featuring:

Vivir al Dia

Choreography by Natrea Blake 

Calling (Oklahoma Premiere)

Choreography by Ma Cong, Tulsa Ballet Resident Choreographer

Flora Fauna (World Premiere)

Choreography by Norbert de la Cruz III

WHEN:  7:00 p.m. Friday, August 19, 2016
3:00 p.m. Sunday, August 21, 2016

WHERE: The performance will take place at Studio K at the Tulsa Ballet Headquarters, 1212 E. 45th Place in Brookside Tulsa.

Additional Performances at Tulsa Ballet’s Hardesty Center for Dance Education:

WHERE:   Ann and Henry Zarrow Foundation Performance Studio

at the Hardesty Center for Dance Education.

1901 W New Orleans St, Broken Arrow, OK 74011

WHEN:      7:00 p.m. Friday, September 9, 2016  and  3:00 p.m. Sunday, September 11, 2016


TICKETS: Start at $25, call the Tulsa Ballet Box Office at 918.749.6006 or visit www.tulsaballet.org.


FOR MORE INFORMATION: Visit Tulsa Ballet at www.tulsaballet.org.

Hi-Res images and interview opportunities available:

Ryan Allen, Community & Public Relations Manager

918.392.5949, ryan.allen@tulsaballet.org