Choreography by David Hochoy
Carmina Burana, a Dance Kaleidoscope signature piece, once again is writ bold, brazen, beautiful. Carl Orff's inspired music drives David Hochoy's "journey to a strange and mythical land where beauty and passion, angst and starkness together create a world that is at once familiar, unfamiliar and wondrous." Hochoy's choreography, Laura Glover's lighting and costumes by Barry Doss and Cheryl Sparks are close to J.E. Cirlot's text on day and night in A Dictionary of Symbols. Light is equated with the spirit, the creative force, cosmic energy; it is the manifestation of morality, the intellect. White is the synthesis of All; light of any color is symbolic of that color. Becoming aware of a source of light, of emanation from the 'Center,' of spiritual strength, is symbolically becoming illuminated.
Darkness is equated to primigenial chaos, mystic nothingness, a path leading back to the profound mystery of the Origin. Darkness traditionally represents the state of undeveloped potentialities, it appears regressive in comparison with light; it's associated with evil and base, subliminal forces. Yet from this gloom comes the Biblical Fiat Lux - "Let there be Light" - and it is this admonition that gives such heart to Hochoy's cosmic animation of centuries-old words of monks, contemporary music by Orff.
DK's dancers embrace the work, hugging it to the fullness of their adoration and letting it loose with the zest of parents both proud and assured of their off-spring's prowess. They are not merely dancing themselves - they are moving beyond into other embodiments. Watching this performance is coming pretty close to witnessing the creative act in its purest forms. Vitality is the driving force, even in repose.
Hochoy's vocabulary may be Martha Graham's, yet it is inspired by his own accent. He borrows from a variety of influences, always bringing us into the universality of experience. Not a story, and yet a story, it becomes love's potential to explode into and out of ourselves. What do you envision as dawn's early light? And what of night? Who devours whom in this transitory state?
Reprising Cynthia Pratt's 2003 Outside, Now Again, set to music by Steve Reich, eleven dancers in silk pajamas designed by Pat Lee cavort in and out of Fritz Bennett's pools and splashes of light. It's explorations of forms through and with spatial attitudes, like the workings of the unseen within us in an outing. This piece continues to compel attention.
Good dancing empowers us to embrace symbols with personal meanings. It opens us to another way of communicating.
Choreography by Gregory Hancock
The Performer's Edge
Through Feb. 20
Starts with spoofing, ends with horsing around; fills hearty themes in between. This versatile company of seven dancers also features the Student Dance Ensemble and a pair of dauntless young cupids. The setting is robustly Italian. The performance studio becomes a streetside cafe with wait staff delivering beverages and Italian sweets. "Let it out and just have fun" fits the irreverent world premiere "That's Amoré." Replete with Marx Brothers shtick, a skating nun, street sweeping, juggling, Mafia wives and costumes and makeup to die for. Watch the facial expressions, not only the bodies in perfect control of storytelling with the flip of a hip or toe turn.
Christine Colquitt conquered the space in a solo performance of "Con Te Partiró." Fusing ballet with modern, her swoon to the floor, immediately followed by a fluid leap, is the epitome of grace. Alyona Yakovleva performs on alternate dates. "This is why we are born with a cleft in our upper lip" is a strong depiction of despair growing into dreams of courage. It's an excerpt from the upcoming gospel-centered "Wade in the Water." "Benediction" stole its own show. Created for the community fund-raising program in the wake of 9/11, this moving, beautiful piece was here restaged in the wake of current events. Words and symbolic movements grow from and enter into multiple languages and cultures. The falling of the towers becomes ensnaring waves. Caught with no chance of escape, those who perish leave gaping holes in private lives and change the landscape of communities. The combined closing silence, fluttering as in the dying swan, and blowing out candles, wrenches.
Gregory Hancock created "A Night at the Opera" for Dance Kaleidoscope in 2000. It's intriguing watching GHDT move into a work with shades of Martha Graham. Martin Casanova enhances this work as a character dancer. When you go, keep an eye on what's happening in the seats on stage. An equal standout was Winter from "The Four Seasons" (1993) by the 10-member Student Dance Ensemble. Their focus, control and delivery of musical subtext are a delight.
Amoré. Choreography and costumes by Gregory Hancock. The Performer's Edge, 12955 Old Meridian St. Continues Feb. 11-13, 18-20. Call 846-2441. Gregoryhancockdancetheatre.org