Kenoth Shane Patton is leaving Dance Kaleidoscope after a storied 14-year tenure. His final performance with the company was on was April 11 at the Pike Performing Arts Center, where a packed student audience saw him dance roles from Dance Kaleidoscope's two most recent premieres (first performed in the show All the World's a Stage - as The Poet (i.e. Shakespeare) in Remembrance of Things Past and Juliet's father in Romeo and Juliet.
"Shane Patton has had a huge impact on the artistic life of Dance Kaleidoscope for the past 14 seasons," Dance Kaleidoscope Artistic Director David Hochoy told NUVO. "His strength of conviction, attack and dynamic physicality have put him at the forefront of the company, and made him a role model and leading dancer."
Patton says he did not "find dance, or rather dance did not find him," until he enrolled at Oklahoma University, initially as a drama major. As his senior thesis project for a BFA in dance performance, Patton choreographed a piece in honor of his Cherokee heritage titled "Great Spirit," which he performed at the groundbreaking ceremony of the Oklahoma University Natural History Museum. He has since performed the work as part of DK's 2002 production Land of the Free, as well during the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.
In addition to his work with Dance Kaleidoscope, performed the lead role in Temptations of the Moon with the Martha Graham Ensemble in the summer of 1998. He has performed and taught in Singapore with Dance Ensemble of Singapore, and studied with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre and the Martha Graham Company.
NUVO talked with Patton on April 11, following his closing performance.
NUVO: Why did you choose to come to Dance Kaleidoscope?
Kenoth Shane Patton: After I graduated [from Oklahoma University in 1998] I went to New York hoping to get into a dance company. I learned a lot, but to my surprise, because of economic difficulties and the political atmosphere I realized this specific thing is not going to happen. Somehow I caught wind of a flyer announcing auditions for a man and a woman dancer for a company based on the Martha Graham technique and I thought, "This sounds like the next best thing. At least I could learn from it." I went to the audition and did my best. By then I realized New York City was not a place for me to live. DK offered me a one-year contract. After that one year, things were good and I did another year and before I knew it I was in. I've been comfortable being here in Indianapolis.
NUVO: How have you assumed leadership and passed on the DK tradition over the past 14 years?
Patton: In a way it's always been natural to me to lead. I am a big brother; I have a little brother nine years younger. I was teaching him about discipline more than my parents did. I was doing that when I was young and it just carried over into my life. By the time I got here I had a solid vision about my craft and I have since learned from David even though sometimes we clashed, which is part of working together. Over the years, as I started seeing people who needed something said to them it was natural for me to step up and teach them something about what I learned. It used to upset me when I observed they were giving less than they could and it would come out as aggressive on my part, but as I matured, I let it go. I switched from bitching to helping, and I noticed people respond a lot better to helping.