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Wahzhazhe: An Osage Ballet

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Published on Mar 26, 2013

The Osage ballet, Wahzhazhe, is a contemporary ballet that brings together unique and diverse qualities of Oklahoma history and culture: a reverence for classical ballet that was the legacy of two famous Osage ballerinas, Maria and Marjorie Tallchief, and the richness of Osage traditional music, dance, and textile arts. The creative set designs transform the stage into accurate depictions of Osage lifestyles and the costumes are created to appear as the traditional tribal clothing that was worn during the past 200 years.

The ballet depicts the history of the Osage people: their removal from their homelands, the boarding-school era, the discovery of oil on their reservation, which lead to great wealth and tragedy, and the celebration of Osage life today. Wahzhazhe is produced by Randy Tinker Smith and choreographed by Jenna Smith, both of Osage descent. Roman Jasinski acted as adviser on the project.

This performance was recorded on March 23, 2013 in the Rasmuson Theater of the National Museum of the American Indian.

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