The School of Oklahoma City Ballet has been renamed the Yvonne Chouteau School of Ballet, in honor of the renowned prima ballerina and one of the Five Moons of Oklahoma, the ballet announced Monday.
They announced a $2 million partnership with Kirkpatrick Philanthropies, a partnership that will support the professional company, the school, a new building and an endowment at the Oklahoma City Community Foundation.
Chouteau was not only a beloved prima ballerina, she was founder of the Oklahoma City Ballet, founder of the University of Oklahoma School of Dance and recognized as a National Cultural Treasure. She was one of the so-called Five Moons, five Native American ballerinas from Oklahoma who achieved international prominence. The other ballerinas include Maria Tallchief, Marjorie Tallchief, Rosella Hightower and Moscelyne Larkin.
Three groups came together to make this gift: the Kirkpatrick Family Fund, Kirkpatrick Foundation and the Christian Keesee Charitable Trust.
"The ballet is an organization my grandfather cared for immensely," says Christian Keesee, president of the Kirkpatrick Family Fund. "To pay tribute to his work by naming the directorship after him — and the school after his dear friend, Yvonne — is a fitting way to bring the ballet forward. Our hope for this gift is to continue the ballet company’s trajectory as a regional powerhouse with a strong school, which will impact future generations of Oklahomans and our city’s overall cultural landscape."