Gallery America


Perpetual Motion

It began as a rebellion, a new form of dance that defied the stringent rigors of ballet, but over the past one hundred years it has developed some stringent rigors of it's own.

AIRED: June 29, 2020 | 0:12:29

Speaker 1: Perpetual motion is a

nonprofit, modern dance company.

We also do aerial dance, which

is, um, you know, it's a form of

contemporary or modern dance.

The reason people all have a

different idea of what modern

dance as a kid is because

there's a million different

versions of modern dance. You

know, it started as, you know, a

sort of rebellion on ballet and,

you know, we really want to be a

part of just the arts community

at large and not separate a

dance community.

my name's Michelle Dexter. I

found a perpetual motion, modern

dance, Oklahoma. Uh, we started

in 2002. It was just a group of

girls, good friends who had

graduated. We all went to school

together, uh, university of

central Oklahoma and finished

school. And we all were happy

here with our family and

friends, but there's really no,

um, place to go for modern

dancers after they graduate,

modern dance only exists in the

universities. And so if you want

modern dance, pretty much, if

people were leaving and going

other places, other States,

other cities, you know, bigger

cities. So, you know, we just

felt like we can't, why not us

there's do it? You know, we just

kind of, we've had that

attitude. The only time I think

it is, is at that point. Cause

if I get pushed forward, reach

out, I'll keep that motion up

rather than afforded back.

I think it will help. So, you

know, we started out, we didn't

have anywhere to rehearse. We

didn't know where to go. We cut

up, you know, Asteron a couple

places, but we couldn't really

afford to pay for rehearsal

space. So we started rehearsing

at, um, in a board meeting room

and then we, um, finally got

into a studio space. We traded,

uh, figured out to trade slave

labor for rehearsal space, new

clean, um, when we finished the

first thing we would, um, you

know, sweep them off and do the

windows and pick out the trash

and everything instead of paying

for rehearsal space. So that was


Right now. We were hers. Um,

dance dimensions, Amy Navias,

who's one of our company

members. It's her studio. I

dance because I love it. It

just, the feeling that it gives

me just the feeling of

accomplishment. When you, when

you finally mastered that step,

that you've been working on so


Speaker 2: Yeah.

Speaker 1: You're going to enter

it from over here or even

upstage and did a circle and

then came through this way. And

then we circle around then went

through. That would be perfect.

Right? I, up here from Houston,

I moved to Austin and I met my

husband in Houston. We got

engaged and he moved back up

here to go to school. So I came

along and I thought I would

never dance again in my life

Was over three quarter turns

one, two, three turn. I'm from

Florida, originally st.

Petersburg. And I transferred to

Arizona to take a job. I'm a

pharmacy consultant. And then I

got married and my husband who

was with me and Tucson needed to

come back to Oklahoma where he's

from for family reasons. So we

moved back here and when I got

here, I really thought I'm done.

I'm done performance. And then

my mother-in-law heard about a

professional motion show that

was going on. I think they were

performing at some arts festival

or something small. And she gave

me the number and a friend of

ours, um, saw that perpetual

motion was performing in a

weekly publication. And she got

their phone number and their

email address. And she says, Oh,

you should contact them. They

say, they're modern dance. So I

did. And I lucked out and I

contacted Michelle and

apparently Kim had done the same

thing and we came to the

audition. And from there, the

rest is history. They call me

within a week of each other. It

was really interesting because

there's been a significant

change and growth with the two

of them.

Kim join the company. And I

think it was 2005 and she had

come. She rubbed them Florida,

but she had been dancing in

Arizona with an aerial dance

company. And I hadn't seen

aerial dance and I, you know,

part of it, a thirst, it didn't

exist in a coma. So she started

just teaching us, having trapeze

classes here and there. Well,

aerial dance is a movement that

began probably I want to say in

the sixties, for me, it is the

exploration of movement without

being, by being confined to the

floor. So it's not about moving

in the air or moving on the

floor. It's about moving in all

the space. So it's different

from circus style aerial work,

where it's very much trick

oriented, this trick, then

district and district and

district, and it's jerky. The

transitions. Aren't beautiful.

This is more of a released form

of movement. That's expressed

maybe with the floor, maybe

without the floor. So I want to

create when I make pieces, um,

movement, that

It goes everywhere and you're

going the other way. She started

working with us on the fabric

and tracking these and Rebecca

came right at the same time. She

has a really strong gymnastics

and just athletic background. So

she just jumped right on. And

I'm sure she wouldn't tell you

that it was easy for her, but it

looked from our point of view.

It looked like she just, you

know, adapted right to it. And

they started performing it

together. And then as other

dancers got stronger at it, they

started adding them to it. And

now we're able to have group

girl works, and then we can,

then she can take the chappies

away, straight side.

It's not your traditional shape

of an answer. I have some

limitations, but I've believed

that the hard work and the

passion that I have, and my

heart will get me to the level

that, that I need to be at. I

think anybody can be a dancer.

Oh my, yeah. It's a stereotype

that is truthful in a lot of

forms and we just, okay.

Why is that? If you're a great

dancer, you're a great dancer.

If you want to be a great

dancer, you can be a great

answer. Since I've got the

passion, I can get to the level

that I can blow other, I can

blow my competition away, or I

can give you a little something


I mean, it adds up a lot of

hours and, and none of us are in

it for the pay, obviously. So,

um, yeah, I couldn't imagine

doing anything else really.

Like, this is not what I do for

a living. So this is what I do

for my, my passion. It does not

pay the bills. Now at this

point, at this point, we hope it

will. We hope someday we pay

when we get paid. So right now,

you know, we're still working

our way up. Um, you know,

working with consistent, um,

almost a salary, but consistent

paper. The dancers, you know,

Oklahoma is growing and

changing. It's still not be

cultural epicenter of the world.

And it's hard for some of them,

some of the dancers who have

come from, you know, more arts

supported areas to come to

Oklahoma, they were

disappointed. But then, but

it's, cause they didn't know,

they didn't know what the

possibilities were or you know,

that we could just make it

happen. So on now I feel

responsible for their happiness

and wellbeing. Not really, but

you know, he could see actually,

you know, it's good pressure

that, um, you know, I want to do

this for them as much as for me

and for everything else. So

The show that we're performing

is the Oklahoma contemporary

dance festival. This is the

second year that we've done

this. And it, um, brings, you

know, the perpetual motion and

dancers and choreography

together with, um, guest

performers who auditioned from

all over the Metro. We have as

young as 12 and up to college

and above that have auditioned.

My name is Melissa Mindy and 15

years old. And I'm a sophomore

at Dell city. High school

Dancing really is what I love to

do and what I feel like I'm

meant to do. And so this

audition and this process has

really helped me.

The dance that I'm in is called

following mass catch women can.

And, um, the choreographer

actually did it right after nine

11. And for her, it's a big

piece about trusting each other

and being able to come back and

care for each other in a way

that our country had to do after

nine 11

Within one piece, you'll find

that different dancers convey

different emotion to you, but

sometimes it is intended. For

example, with, um, with the

trapeze quartet, it's it's light

and find you kind of get the

feeling from the costumes, for

the music, from the movements

that we're doing, and it is fun.

And you want the audience to

feel that from you. And I think

they do

As a group of women, it's really

hard for us to make work. That's

not about groups of women, you

know, that's what that's, who we

are, that's what we're around.

And so, you know, everything

that we've done, I always see

that element of the, of the

female relationship.

Bounds. Interesting piece

because it's so just a specific,

we talked about it as being, you

know, whether it be advice or,

you know, some sort of hindrance

in your life or dependence,

maybe that's not a negative

thing, but something that, um,

is constricting to you, but that

you still always have a

relationship with throughout

your life. The most wonderful

thing about vaginal motion is

that it seems to just blossomed

throughout the years and

bringing in all these different

dance styles, all these

different choreographers dance

styles, like aerial work using

the trapeze and the hoot and the

fabric is something that's new

to this area. And it's something

that you don't get to see a

whole lot at the time, unless

you go to Vegas or you see

searches LA and where I've heard

that were called the low five

version of 30 so late. But you

know, it's something that you

haven't seen before.

I kinda get tired of the, uh,

we're in Oklahoma's. We can't do

anything attitude, um, from

artists and, or, you know, just

from people who live here that

think that there's nothing to

do. And, um, and if I fit, if

you think there's nothing to do,

then you need to figure out

something to do. And that's the

way we've just taken that vision

of just do it. We're going to go


Speaker 2: There are, we're

going to make work and know

If you build it, they will come



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