Preview: Indianapolis’ Dance Kaleidoscope’s Scheherazade 25

an-american-in-paris-by-chris-crawl

Ahead of Dance Kaleidoscope’s Scheherazade 25 production of Scheherazade and An American in Paris, UNITE attended a dress rehearsal to get a glimpse into the contrasting works of Artistic Director David Hochoy. Celebrating his 25th anniversary as Artistic Director of DK, Hochoy paired these two pieces to combine two different eras with the company. He first choreographed Scheherazade in 1991, his first season with DK, while his rendition of An American in Paris debuted in 2014.

“What I love about the concert is that you are going to see two pieces that are divided by 23 years of Dance Kaleidoscope,” Hochoy says. “In An American in Paris the demands of the dancing are very, very different from Scheherazade, but together I think they make a very beautiful visual program.”

An American in Paris begins the show as a cheery and whimsical piece highlighted by the performances of Brandon Comer, in the role of the American, and Caitlin Negron, who together captured the whimsical yet seductive qualities of their characters. The company’s core joins Comer and Negron in bringing to life this high-energy piece full of leaps and lust, with fast-paced movement matching an intricate and tricky composition.

An American in Paris was quite puzzling because when you listen to it it’s a very complex piece of music, and when you look at the Gene Kelly movie he chopped it up a lot,” Hochoy says. “So, it was very hard for me to figure out what I was going to do with this.”

Going back to his roots helped Hochoy, who says his early training as a dancer included some of the jazz reminiscent of this music. The end result was a masterpiece in athleticism on part of the dancers, interwoven within the piece’s romantic fabric.

Hochoy’s Scheherazade highlights the sharp, fierce movement central to Graham technique, while smoothly combining the story’s ferocity and beauty. Mariel Greenlee stars as Scheherazade, and Rehearsal Director Liberty Harris, who last performed the role for DK, raved about her unique qualities as a dancer that make up her own brand of elegance.

“She’s added so many moments that I just love that are all her own,” Harris says of Greenlee. “It makes me really happy to see not just her grow as a dancer, but the role grow, which means the whole show grows with her unique Mariel-isms that nobody will ever touch.”

While Scheherazade is wise and clearly idolized by the surrounding harem ladies, the princess, performed powerfully by Jillian Godwin, emotes a desperate need for help from Scheherazade. The beauty of the princess and Scheherazade are greatly contrasted by the nightmarish interaction with skateboarding monsters and the terrifying king monster, danced by Zach Young.

Adding to the pleasing choreography is Barry Doss’s extravagant costuming, everything from the lavish colors of the harem ladies’ dresses to the ghoulish green and red of the monsters’ costumes. And then there are the harem ladies’ headpieces, gold, large and loud, so over the top that Greenlee’s subdued headpiece stands out. That purposeful contrast only accentuates her performance.

“She is so subtly mysterious, which makes her so alluring and sexy,” Harris says. “That’s what draws me into her interpretation of Scheherazade.”

Dance Kaleidoscope’s Scheherazade 25 will be performed June 2-5 on the OneAmerica Stage at IRT. For ticketing information, visit http://www.dancekal.org/ or call 317-635-5252.

Pictured: Dance Kaleidoscope performing An American in Paris in studio dress rehearsal.

Photo by Chris Crawl