Monday, January 13, 2014

Dance Kaleidoscope: American Rhapsody

Posted By on Mon, Jan 13, 2014 at 2:30 PM


Brandon Comer and Caitlin Negron in An American in Paris.
  • Brandon Comer and Caitlin Negron in An American in Paris.
Last weekend's premiere of An American in Paris set another jewel in choreographer David Hochoy's Gershwin pendant, his 2006 Choo-San Goh Award-winning Rhapsody in Blue being the initial sparkler. Dance Kaleidoscope's all-Hochoy American Rhapsody program consisted of that premiere, as well as a revival of his Rhapsody and a 1988 piece by Hochoy, Farewell, which he originally choreographed for the Martha Graham Dance Company.

An American in Paris found a rapturous Brandon Comer discovering Paris while Paris, in turn, discovered him, particularly through a jazzy, sexy, sizzly duet with Caitlin Negron. The openness of Comer's personality perfectly suited Hochoy's interpretation of Gershwin's alternatively lush and whimsical symphonic tone poem about an Everyman's love affair at first sight with the "city of light" and its inhabitants. Laura E. Glover's richly nuanced lighting was part of the never-ending action just as the character-specific costumes by Cheryl Sparks, Barry Doss and Lydia Tanji were part of the milieu evoking people, sights and events.

Timothy June and Jillian Godwin in Rhapsody in Blue.
  • Timothy June and Jillian Godwin in Rhapsody in Blue.
From Liberty Harris' seductive shimmy twinned to the clarinet's opening glissando to the breath-taking one-arm sustained lift, hold and turn by Timothy June and Harris, to the full company's jettisoning outburst at the close, Hochoy's storytelling in Rhapsody highlighted the nuances of every phrase. Yet the work balanced on the fulcrum of Jillian Godwin's understanding of the space between notes. Watching her illuminate the brilliance of the piano interlude with her body in mid-flight, her mind in mixed signals, as a bird in cross-winds, was to be in the company of genius.
Dance Kaleidoscope performs Hochoys Farewell.
  • Dance Kaleidoscope performs Hochoy's Farewell.

To music by Heitor Villa-Lobos, Mariel Greenlee danced Farewell with the strokes of a portraitist, layering colors of emotions atop each other in swaths and dots of transparency and opaqueness. Timothy June and Zach Young framed Greenlee's sublime artistry with their attention to Hochoy's balance between containment and freedom. Hochoy's choreography was alternately counter-intuitive to and at-one with Villa-Lobos' piercing interplay between Western classical music and Brazilian folk song. Greenlee's drop to the floor, roll, swirl and jump-rise was an amazing evocation of loss, longing and resolute survival.

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Dance Kaleidoscope: American Rhapsody

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