The audience was primed; the dancers were pumped. It was one of those special events in dance when diverse generations come together in the tradition of passing the legacy.
Carmina Burana, choreographed by Dance Kaleidoscope artistic director David Hochoy to music by Carl Orff, has been a staple of DK's repertoire since its premiere in the 1994-95 season. The 20th anniversary performance brought award-winning designer Barry Doss back to witness how amazingly fresh his costumes look, vividly evoking the early centuries of Christiandom. To our delight Laura E. Glover continues to be on hand to recreate the lighting that pulses with the amazing choreography that this new cast embraced, emboldened and embellished.
At the Oct. 25th show, watching the younger dancers stepping into Orff’s music, alternately throbbing and thrilling with passion and yearning, it became clear the humor in the piece was being ramped up, thus creating sharper contrasts between the lighter and darker episodes. We were thrilled witnessing the evolvement from the opening lamentation about the wiles of “Fortune, Empress of the World” to its haunting repetition at the close.
Here we have the story of ancient clerics who abandoned their vows to travel the countryside in pursuit of ‘wine, women and song’ and who depended on ‘the wheel of fortune,’ in place of monastic rigors, to order their lives.
The company seamlessly sustained the demands of Hochoy’s impassioned choreography. Everyone got star turns with solos, partnering and precise corps work. Fabric provides metaphors and symbols throughout.
As Liberty Harris transformed her way through different setpieces — appearing now as The Madonna, then as the Woman in Cardinal Red — we held her in our hearts as she closed her 14-year DK tenure.
And then at the very end, when the flow of fabric fashioned a rainbow, we could feel the promise to Noah — it’s through our personal and collective vision for a better world that the prism can spark forth goodness. With each succeeding generation of DK dancers keeping the choreography in their bodies and souls, new audiences can connect with this work that David Hochoy believes defines DK as a company.
The evening opened in traditional fashion with a light-hearted ‘appetizer’ transforming the theatre into a space apart from the hubbub of life outside. We had dealt with traffic and parking to get here and we needed something to calm us into a different moment. That’s exactly what the world premiere of Victoria Lyras’ Rondo Capriccioso did.
Eleven Indianapolis School of Ballet dancers made us smile with their youthful joyfulness — in concert with Camille Saint-Saëns sprightly changeups — traversing flowing calmness, quick, short runs, springing steps and high jumps. In the tradition of Balanchine, the piece looks easy yet requires meticulous musicality and technique to emulate Saint-Saëns’ precise rhythmic and harmonic themes.
During the pre-show conversation, Hochoy noted that on Oct. 22, at the David H. Koch Theater, Alexei Ratmansky’s Rondo Capriccioso opened the program marking the 10th anniversary of the American Ballet Theatre Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School. “We’re in league with New York,” he quipped.
Elizabeth Shea’s modern dance Minor Bodies (2013), choreographed on music by Max Richter and Ola Gjeilo, foreshadowed Carmina Burana with two dancers interweaving and interlocking, downward, upward, seeking and searching .
Liberty Harris beautifully reprised Hochoy’s 1997 E’vry Time We Say Goodbye, music by Cole Porter, vocals by Annie Lennox, to close out the opening segment of an emotionally charged program.