I Got Gershwin
Indiana Repertory Theatre
Dance Kaleidoscope’s artistic director David Hochoy’s fascination with Gershwin spans four works from 2000-2006. Experiencing these separate pieces as a unit in one evening provides a richness of production values suited to DK’s return to summertime Indianapolis.
George Gershwin began writing songs in 1916. Over the following 20 years, his melodic genius encapsulated the essence of New York City and the driving rhythms of mass production, which is at the heart of jazz, described by violinist Yehudi Menhuin as “jazz correspond[ing] to a wide-spread perception of the present [20th] century world, that of a uniform mass moving as one to a single generating force.”
Hochoy correspondingly taps into Gershwin’s compositional mixture of primitive and sophisticated technique with choreography that is at the same time classical and modern, lyrical and athletic, serious and slapstick.
Opening with Three Preludes, a Transcription for Violin and Piano by Jascha Heifetz, a quintet of dancers, each with distinctive personalities and wills of their own, seem to be notes moving into place along the staff, reminiscent of birds on wires spelling out a melody.
Fascinatin’ Rhythm, Hochoy’s 2000 work, groups six songs for solos, duets, trios and company cavorting to Catherine Bringerud’s piano accompaniment. Here is the range of Gershwin and of the company in contrasting movement, marking each note while counterbalancing fluidity with shoulder stiffness and arm socket jointing, leg extensions with foreshortening.
With the song cycle, Gershwin in Love, the company is both inside and outside of the lyrics sung live by tenor Steven Stolen, accompanied by Bringerud. Stolen’s lyrical art song technique seems to equally enchant and distance the dancers, who appear to be intent on making the meaning of the lyrics their own in a new century. The partnering is a combination of typical Hochoy whimsy and romance sans sentimentality. Pursuit of love here is “a hard knock life.”
George Gershwin exploded a new genre in 1924 with Rhapsody in Blue, applying jazz idioms to a concert work for piano and orchestra. David Hochoy tapped into this ‘wow’ event with Ferde Grofe’s jazz band version. Re-experiencing Hochoy’s 2006 work is like witnessing a silent film. The pictures and postures are ever-transforming as the music sleepily revs up at dawn, soars into the work day, slows as monotony sets in, picks up at the prospect of “getting’ outta here” and tantalizes with the colors of night on the town.
Kevin Wiltz appeared as a guest artist. He joins Louisville Ballet this fall. Timothy June is a new company member. Both are Butler BFA dance performance graduates with nationwide dancing and training experiences. Both brought distinction to their partnering, solo and corps work with the regular company. As always, lighting and costumes were in sync with the intent of Hochoy’s choreography.
Post a comment as Guest
Watch this discussion.
Welcome to the discussion.
Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.