Rita Kohn

Passing the Flame: The Martha Graham Legacy

Dance Kaleidoscope


Feb. 16 - 19

DK dancers in 'Passing the Flame: The Martha Graham Legacy'

Dance Kaleidoscope's tribute to Martha Graham is a turnaround tribute to the company and David Hochoy. "Diversion of Angels" is as gorgeous now as at its Aug. 13, 1948 premiere in New London, Conn., if reviews at the time are to be taken at face value. Hochoy's adherence to the intent of Graham's choreography and costume design is impeccable. As action taking place in "the imaginary garden love creates for itself," at IRT on Feb. 16, three couples representing different aspects of being in love and a 5-member chorus presented Graham's sensuous, sculpted Greek nuances to the voluptuous music by Norman Dello Joio. Effecting friezes in constant motion one is left with a sense of memory and hope as how it was, is and will be constantly pass each other by, integrate and stand still. With lighting after Jean Rosenthal, there is starkness mitigated by the amazing costumes of leg-wrapped skirts for the women and flesh-hued tights for the men. Jennifer K. Sutton and Ana Wu join DK for this work.

With "El Salon Mexico," which premiered in 2000, and the 1988 "Farewell" and 1998 "iconoGlass" Hochoy adds a freshness to Graham's original ideas for the Graham-commissioned music by Aaron Copland and Hochoy's choices by Villa-Lobos and Glass, respectively. Costumes by Cheryl Sparks and lighting by Laura E. Glover for these three pieces are glorious additions to the choreography, which takes from and adds to Graham's ideas and technique. Hochoy is a devotee, not a clone.

"El Salon Mexico" presents itself as hieroglyphics coming alive for a young boy who is witnessing them for the first time, and when it is time to move on, the glyphs return to their static place as carvings from across centuries.

"iconoGlass" is marked by high energy, daring, speed and the sense that we either are part of a stained glass window, a kettle of tie-dye fabric or the inner workings of a fabulous clock. Whatever, it's leaps and bounds, flying catches, moving even when you're standing still. It's breathtaking to witness, with the minor irritation of a distracting vocal.

The singing for "Farewell," on the other hand, is most appropriate for this early piece Hochoy created while with the Graham Company. Its serenity is a balm. Flowing lines enter from the hearts of the dancers, as "a woman says goodbye to two men she has known in her life." How the men are connected through her is an extended story that flicks to a close in the blink of light.

It's one DK's sterling programs. Bravo to the entire company.