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Dance on the Green is a concert featuring live music and dancing from a wide array of artists at OSU. (Photo by Jason Estala)

OSU goes Dancing on the Green

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Media Contact: Jacob Longan | Coordinator of Communications and Marketing, College of Arts and Sciences | 405-744-7497 | jacob.longan@okstate.edu

Dance on the Green ­— the Spring Dance Concert of the 2021 season ­— mixes art and community to produce a concert that celebrates a diverse group of performers.

Choreographed by Emma Draves, the new director of dance at OSU, the concert last month featured live music and dancing from a wide array of artists at OSU. Unlike typical performances, it was an outdoor festival presented around the OSU campus. From the beginning, Draves always knew she wanted to have the performance outside to connect with the community. 

“It really involves the community. Maybe you don’t plan on seeing it, but you happen upon it,” Draves said. “It’s easier for people to engage in.”

Most of Draves’ professional career has been in Chicago, where she performed with companies and danced with her own company group. Along with her extensive career as a dance artist, Draves also has an impressive background in education, having served on faculty at Columbia University, College of DuPage, Carthage College and more. Having a diverse dance background herself, Draves wanted to include as many diverse dancers as possible in this performance.

“This is a big campus; there are all these people,” Draves said. “We have got to find other artists who do other forms that we can’t necessarily run a class for, but still are practiced.”

Working with the Office of Multicultural Affairs, Draves was able to find these artist groups who practice unique dance forms. Dance on the Green showcases ballroom dancers tangoing; a soloist performing a traditional Chinese dance; OSU hip hop group dancing; and a bharatanatyam performance. 

“Our community performers brought many types of dances from India, China, Spain and more,” senior Jahven Tanner said. “Not very often does our community of Stillwater get to enjoy such a variety of dance.”

Tanner, a theatre major who is minoring in studio arts, was heavily involved in both the planning and scheduling of the event as well as performing as well. Tanner’s favorite part of the events was “being in community with other artists. COVID has separated us physically but being able to share space with other artists reinvigorated my soul.” 

Tanner “hopes that everyone watching the dance can develop a deeper understanding of dance, and dance in other cultures. Our community performers brought many types of dances from India, China, Spain and more. Not very often does our community of Stillwater get to enjoy such a variety of dance.”

You can watch Dance on the Green on the O’Colly app or by clicking this link.

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