The American Spirit Dance Company, founded and directed by Professor Jo Rowan,
presents an annual holiday season extravaganza, Home
for the Holidays, each December. In March, the American Spirit Dance
Company presents the Spring Show, a
Broadway-style revue featuring tap, jazz, and musical theatre-style dances.
In April, specially selected dancers form an American
Spirit Touring Company to perform in domestic and international venues.
Jo Rowan, director of The American Spirit Dance Company and chairman of
the Oklahoma City University Dance Department, began the American Spirit
Dance Company for the purposes of celebrating America's unique contributions
to dance through jazz, tap, and musical theater and providing students with
professional performance opportunities.
Since 1981, The American Spirit Dance Company has inspired audiences with
pride in American dance with all its joy and optimism for life. The American
Spirit is critically acclaimed in the United States and overseas and has
become one of the premiere performing ensembles in central Oklahoma.
Over the years, the OCU dance
program with its outstanding faculty has achieved international stature as
a leader in preparing dancers and managers for professional careers in the
Former OCU dance and
arts management students may be found working from Oklahoma to Broadway and
from Tokyo to the capitals of Europe. Former members of The American Spirit
have appeared on Broadway in the following musicals: Crazy for You; Jerome
Robbins' Broadway; Gentlemen Prefer Blondes; A Funny Thing Happened On The
Way To The Forum; 42nd Street; Fosse; Smokey Joe's Cafe; Tommy; Chicago;
Show Boat; Dreams; Fascinating Rhythm; Night Fever; You're A Good Man, Charlie
Brown; Steel Pier; On The Town; Guys and Dolls; Hello Dolly!; and Peter
The American Spirit Dance Company had the distinct honor of ringing in
2007 with an internationally televised performance in the opening ceremonies of the Tournament
of Roses Parade. The American Spirit Dancers performed with OCU's own
alum, Kristin Chenoweth, in the opening number of the parade. The 35
students performed supported by 4 dance management and entertainment
business majors serving as assistant stage managers. The performance
marked the beginning of the official celebration of the 100th anniversary
of Oklahoma statehood.
Each year, the Flo-Bert Awards honor excellence in the world of tap dance.
The American Spirit Dance Company was invited to perform in 1999, 2006, and
2008. On May 28, 2006, the tap awards ceremony in New York City honored Chairman
Jo Rowan & Dean John Bedford..