Dance Kaleidoscope has built a following half a continent away during a half dozen summers of performing at the Green Shows at the Ashland, Oregon Shakespeare Festival. For each play in each season, David Hochoy has choreographed a 30-minute work to precede the Shakespearean performance. The company danced everyday — and sometimes twice a day — on an outdoor stage about half the size of the usual performance space for dance. Some people may have watched the entire DK program but most will have stopped briefly, eating and drinking and conversing as they observed.
With intentions “to hook” audience members into the dance, and thus to extend for them the theme and emotional landscape of a given play, Hochoy has developed a unique body of work and a worthy philosophy that warrants publication, perhaps as part of a new compendium of The Bard’s scripts.
Such a commentary would have added a delightful dimension to the DK program, Ashland Dances, at the Nov. 15-17 program on IRT’s Upper Stage. Nevertheless, even without extended notes the three segments worked wonderfully as tie-ins to the plays, with which the audience seemed familiar.
Come Sweet Love, inspired by and performed prior to Romeo and Juliet, is a pastoral with three couples dancing in 16th century period style. However, it seemed that at discrete interludes the public dancing was suspended and the private moments of “working romantic things out” surfaced. This complexity of emotions was nicely mirrored by a constant reconfiguration of stage pictures.
Weill World, inspired by and performed prior to The Taming of the Shrew, contrasted starkly in choreography and production elements including costumes and lighting. Weill’s music and its lyrics clamor for sultry, sensuous, muscular decadence, and the company delivered with a hissing litheness a barrel of snakes would be hard put to match.
Such Stuff As Dreams Are Made On, inspired by and performed prior to The Tempest, is a wordless documentary built on Celtic music and themes. Of the pieces performed in this Indiana premiere, it is the most intellectual, as is befitting the nature of The Tempest. The lifts, turns and architecture of bodies inspired awe.