Tulsa Modern Movement (TuMM) is a 501(c)3 non-profit. Our projects rely on a collaborative group of dancer/innovators making progressive work that surprises, delights and stimulates, working within a broad network of producing artists.
Our mission is to invigorate modern dance in Oklahoma by creating and performing new choreography, promoting life-long learning in the art of dance and collaborating across disciplines.
The company formed out of collaboration and curiosity. We unveiled with "Suchness" - a public performance of original work by our founding director, Ari Christopher - on the bank of the Arkansas River in June 2011. Since then, we have continued to communicate perspectives beyond words and connect people through experience to the knowledge and intelligence that resides in the body.
Ari Christopher - Executive Artistic Director
Ari makes original dance productions and site-specific work, teaches Modern Dance Techniques & Contact Improv, and provides k-12 teacher development in art infusion. Her choreography has been commissioned by Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Living Arts of Tulsa, The Arts and Humanities Council of Tulsa, among others.
Ari was engaged in all arts disciplines from ballet to jazz violin until she found her place in the Modern Dance studio. She attended the BFA program in Modern Dance and Choreography at Marymount Manhattan College in NYC, where she trained with Merle Holloman (Jose Limon Company), Lone Larsen (Martha Graham Co.), and Gerald Otte (Nikolais Dance Theatre). She continues her commitment to professional development by studying with masters in the field such as Bill T. Jones and Brian Brooks.
Before TuMM, Ms. Christopher served as the Associate Director of Project CREATES, an art infusion organization that provided teacher professional development and paired teaching artists with classroom teachers to deliver co-taught units of study. She continues to support area schools with high-quality dance instruction through Oklahoma A+ Schools, Lincoln Center’s Any Given Child Tulsa, the Arts & Humanities Council of Tulsa and purpose-built programs of her own design supported by charitable gifts to Tulsa Modern Movement.
Processes and Priorities from the Director
My choreography draws upon classical modern dance, release technique, and weight sharing. I like to play with the pushes, pulls, weight and initiation points throughout and between connected vessels. I often prefer to work in collaboration – usually with an artist or thinker from a different domain, art discipline or life experience – because I find fruitful ground in the overlaps and enjoy the discovery process.
When I make work for public spaces, I am interested in shifting the environment and tuning into a state of being that amplifies the audiences’ ability to be here now.
My recent work for the stage explores the possibilities of storytelling with immersive dance-based theater. I'm interested in how movement in time and space can affect text and vice versa to tell an embodied story. The main purpose of this work is to offer my audience permission to reflect upon difficult issues across disparate and historically unequal groups - not just speak, but also to ask questions. I operate with the understanding that every person balances the need for safety with the need for truth. I take risks in my work to give the audience a safer place to sit in truth, and take a risk toward their own truth and vulnerability.
I am deeply grateful to each person - dancer, collaborator, donor, friend and family - who have given of themselves - in time, talent, encouragement and funds - to help make this company and my work possible.
Mona Fontaine - Rehearsal Manager
Mona began her training as part of Tulsa Ballet’s Center for Dance Education studying under Jacque Beltrame and Carol Roderick. During her time there, she joined Tulsa Ballet II in several performances and also received the opportunity to perform with Tulsa Ballet in pieces such as Giselle, Three Musketeers, and Sleeping Beauty under the guidance of Marcello Angelini and Daniela Buson. She later danced for the Harwelden Arts Institute and Soluna Performing Arts Group. Mona received her bachelors degree in International Business from Oklahoma State University. Mona has been a company member since TuMM’s unveiling in 2011 and serves as the company’s Rehearsal Manager.