The University of Oklahoma School of Dance is considered one of the leading programs in the nation for training in ballet and modern dance techniques. Classes include beginning to advanced levels in ballet and modern dance technique, pointe, men’s class, composition, Pilates body conditioning, pantomime, ballet and modern dance repertoire, pas de deux, teaching methods, improvisation, choreography, and a complete series of courses in dance history. Live accompaniment is provided for all technique classes.
Our students come from across the United States, as well as around the world, and enjoy a wide spectrum of performance experiences including fall and spring productions in our home theatres. Additional performance opportunities come in the form of regional and international tours, operas, musicals, and interdisciplinary collaborations.
The School of Dance had its official beginning in 1961 when Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo principals Miguel Terekhov and Yvonne Chouteau were invited to “teach a few classes” at the University of Oklahoma. Response to these classes was overwhelming and Terekhov was subsequently invited to develop the Department of Dance. In 1976 Kozaburo Yukihiro was invited to join the department and worked with Terekhov to develop the curricula for a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Modern Dance.
The program quickly rose to national prominence and cemented a reputation for the strong performance capabilities and professionalism of its graduates. In recognition of its growth in national stature and rankings, the Department of Dance was elevated to the School of Dance in 1998 under the direction of Mary Margaret Holt.
From its inception, the school has been performance-oriented and currently features no less than three main-stage productions each year. School of Dance alumni have established professional careers in dance with the Louisville Ballet, Cincinnati Ballet, Houston Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, Tulsa Ballet, Texas Ballet Theatre, Nashville Ballet, Ballet Austin, Alvin Ailey Ensemble, The Martha Graham Dance Ensemble, Pearl Lang Dance Theatre, Dance Kaleidoscope, Ballet Hispanico, the Rioult Dance Company, Oberlin Dance Collective and Ballet West, as well as in Broadway musicals and national touring companies. In addition to performance opportunities, the program has prepared graduates for careers in professional schools and colleges, choreography, management, and arts administration.
The New York Times, POINTE magazine, Dance Teacher and Dance Magazine have given enthusiastic reviews to our performances and programs, and our companies have been honored by the American College Dance Festival. Over five decades after its establishment, the University of Oklahoma School of Dance continues to grow and thrive while offering its students the very best in educational and performance opportunities.
Director, OU School of Dance
Michael Bearden is the third director in the school’s 54-year history. Prior to coming to OU Bearden was the Artistic Director of Ballet Arkansas and an Assistant Professor of Ballet at the University of Utah. Before beginning his work in teaching and administration, Bearden had a long performing career as a principal dancer with Ballet West in Salt Lake City, Utah, and performed leading roles in works by some of the world’s greatest choreographers including George Balanchine, Frederick Ashton, Antony Tudor, William Forsythe, Ben Stevenson, Stanton Welch, Ulysses Dove, Glen Tetley, Twyla Tharp, Jiri Kylian and Christopher Bruce.
Bearden’s work as a choreographer includes creating or staging his ballets for Ballet West, the University of Utah, Brigham Young University, the University of Cincinnati, Belhaven University, Texas Christian University and Bucknell University.
Assistant Professor (Modern Dance)
Artistic Director, Contemporary Dance Oklahoma
A native of Annapolis, MD, Roxanne began her professional dance training in Washington D.C. under the mentorship of Alfred Dove and Adrian Bolton. She continued her studies at the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival and as a fellowship student at the Ailey School. Lyst has been a a member of AILEY II, The Philadelphia Dance Company (PHILADANCO), and The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (AAADT).
She has toured nationally and internationally performing works choreographed by Alvin Ailey, Judith Jamison, Robert Battle, Twyla Tharp, Ulysses Dove, Lar Lubavitch, Paul Taylor, Ron Brown, Mauro Bigonzetti, Alonzo King, and many more. She has performed independently with Hope Boykin Dance, DANCE IQUAL, and Waheed Works. At PHILADANCO and AAADT Lyst taught company class, master classes around the world, and their perspective schools. Master of Fine Arts from Hollins University in 2013.
Glenn Edgerton has had an international career as a dancer, teacher and director. At the Joffrey Ballet, he performed leading roles, classical and contemporary for 11 years under the mentorship of Robert Joffrey and Gerald Arpino. He danced the classics of John Cranko and Fredric Ashton along with innovative choreographers like Twyla Tharp, Jiří Kylián, William Forsythe, Paul Taylor and Laura Dean. In 1989, Edgerton joined the acclaimed Nederlands Dans Theater (NDT), where he was immersed in the diverse repertory of master choreographers and emerging choreographers for five years.
After retiring from performing he became the executive artistic director of NDT 1 leading the company for a decade and presenting the works of Jiří Kylián, Hans van Manen, William Forsythe, Ohad Naharin, Mats Ek, Nacho Duato, Jorma Elo, Johan Inger, Paul Lightfoot and Sol León, among many others. From 2006 to 2008, he directed the Colburn Dance Institute at the Colburn School of Performing Arts in Los Angeles, CA while teaching at UCLA, Loyola Marymount and CalArts. Edgerton joined Hubbard Street as associate artistic director in 2008. From 2009-2020 served as Hubbard Street’s artistic director bringing the company to perform world wide while fostering the next generation of dancers and choreographers.
In 2017, he was awarded an honorary doctorate of the arts degree from California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, CA. As of the fall of 2020 he joined the faculty at the University of Oklahoma in Norman, OK teaching ballet with an emphasis on the prolific repertory of Jiří Kylián and setting works by Gerald Arpino.