Morgan, dance group perform in Austria

Published 2:27 am Saturday, September 20, 2014

Dozier native and Andalusia Ballet alumnus Cameron Morgan was among a group of 14 Oklahoma University dancers who recently traveled to Austria to perform.

The Oklahoma Festival Ballet and 67 singers of University Chorale performed a European premiere of Haydn’s “The Seasons” as a ballet Sept. 4 at the 26th annual Haydntage Festival.

Cameron Morgan and Devyn Kreeger rehearse at Esterhazy Palace in Eisenstadt, Austria, earlier this month.

Cameron Morgan and Devyn Kreeger rehearse at Esterhazy Palace in Eisenstadt, Austria, earlier this month.

The festival celebrates the Austrian composer Franz Joseph Haydn, who lived in a palace in a small town called Eisenstadt and worked as the court composer for an Austrian family. The festival was held in Esterhazy Palace, constructed in the late 13th century,

The OFB had performed “The Seasons” in April. Dancers returned to campus a week before the fall term started, Morgan said, to begin rehearsals for this trip.

“When we came back, they expected us to have not forgotten anything,” Morgan said. “We came back for our first rehearsal Aug. 12th. It was challenging. I was very, very very sore for the first week.

The first week, dancers rehearsed six or seven hours per day, he said. When classes resumed, rehearsals were shortened to four or five hours per day. And when the group arrived in Austria, there were 12-hour rehearsals.

“We were well prepared,” Morgan said.

The group traveled from Aug. 30 to Sept. 6, flying in to Vienna, then driving to Eisenstadt. Students were housed in several hotels in the city, and the dancers were at Haydyn House, located near the church where Haydyn composed much of his music, and where he is buried.

The group’s dress rehearsal was taped for Austrian television, a process that took five hours, Morgan said.

“Any time the conductor didn’t like the music, we stopped,” he said. “Because it was being filmed, we would have to start over at the beginning of that particular section.”

The President of Austria attended the opening night performance.

“He was there on front row, with his two rows of body guards,” Morgan said.

Thanks in part to the intense rehearsals, and also the excitement of performing in Europe, the performances were outstanding, he said.

“We had done this in April, but the quality and energy were so much better,” he said. “The fact that we traveled to some place so special like that, I think gave us more motivation.

“The trip was so inspirational,” he said. “To be able to do something I love and let it take me to places like Austria – it made me want to do another trip like that. I’d like to be able to tour the world with dance. The experience was something I’lll never forget.”

Back at home at OU, Morgan is busy with rehearsals for a piece called “The Birds of God,” in which he has the lead. The OFB is already rehearsing for its spring performance, and will perform with dancers in the local School for the Performing Arts in The Nutcracker.”

And Morgan is very excited to also be a guest dancer for the Andalusia Ballet’s Nutcracker performance this year, he said.

“I am working with my professors and deans to get permission to take finals early,” he said. “I’m excited because I’ll be dancing with Savannah Claire.”

The brother-sister duo have often performed in Andalusia Ballet performances. In this year’s Nutcracker, she will share the role of the Sugar Plum Fairy with Erica Bernstein.

Morgan has declared a double major in ballet performance and public relations. At present, one of his academic classes requires him to work with a backstage crew for Carrie the Musical.

“I’m making the blood packets and cleaning up after they break them,” he said. “It’s a recipe of corn syrup and chocolate and water.”